Here’s Something I’ve Not Seen Before

Here’s something I’ve not seen before: a Marriage Bond. As I was doing some research this afternoon I came across a document titled marriage bond and it was essentially a contract signed by my great great grandfather Constantine Kollros and his future brother-in-law, Erhardt Eichhorn. The purpose of the document was to confirm Constantine’s intent to marry, Erhardt’s sister, Maria Eichhorn. Constantine was required to put up a bond of $100 that would be paid, presumably to Erhardt in the event that the marriage did not go through. The document was dated October 5, 1863, the day before Constantine and Maria were married. The couple had several children, one of whom was my great grandfather, Erhardt Joseph Kollros.

A $100 bond in today’s money would be over $2000. Constantine and Erhardt were partners in the music business and both were conductors of orchestras and bands that were based in Louisville, Kentucky. I know of no reason why there would be trust issues between the two.

The marriage bond appears on two pages. Page 1 provides details regarding the bride and groom.

Shown below is page 2 of the marriage bond, which lists Maria’s mother as Katherine Eichhorn, and does not list her father, Georg Eichhorn, as he died before 1860.

According to a newspaper article titled “Genealogy: Think of a marriage bond as an intention to marry.” By Tamie Dehler Aug 11, 2007 Updated Aug 6, 2014

Think of a marriage bond as an intention to marry – a reflection of an official “engagement.” A man who had proposed to a woman went to the courthouse with a bondsman (often the father or brother of the prospective bride), and posted a bond indicating his intention to marry the woman. The bond was an amount of money that the prospective groom would have to pay as a penalty if an impediment to the marriage was found. No money literally changed hands at the time of posting the bond. But if the groom was discovered, for instance, already to have a wife whom he had abandoned, the marriage could not go through and the man would have to pay (I’ve often seen bonds in the sum of 50 dollars or pounds, but the amount could be as high as $1,000).

Shown below is another find that I made this afternoon, the obituary of Constantine Kollros that appeared in the Kentucky Irish American (Louisville, Kentucky) 2 December 1916 Saturday on page 1. The title professor was commonly given to orchestra and band leaders in those days. Think of “professor” Harold Hill in The Music Man.

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