Could it be true that someone in 1808 would marry their own underage child so that they could inherit the estate?

+1 vote
108 views
Asher-1225.

I have been trying to find parents of Mary Polly (Bryan) Hayden, mother of my fourth great grandmother, Elizabeth (Hayden) Banta. In searching and studying Bryan genealogy, I came across the assertion that Letty Bryan on her deathbed married her own underage son so that he would be an adult and able to inherit. Can this be true?

And on another note, the Polly Bryan I am looking for was supposedly related to a sister of Daniel Boone through her maternal grandmother. By sheer accident, today I discovered Morgan Bryan -102 is my eighth great grandfather through my father's mother! Here I have been trying to find my relationship through my father's father. Haha, the joys of genealogy!
WikiTree profile: Letty Bryan
in Genealogy Help by Laurie Banta G2G5 (5.5k points)
It would depend upon the Law at the date of the alleged event. You might want to find out the Law reference who could marry whom in 1819 in the State of Virginia
I doubt that any legislative of clerical entity in the United States would permit the marriage of a mother to a son. Most often family folklore is very unreliable as a source. If it is true, it would not stand legal challenges.

2 Answers

+3 votes
The FaG has John’s mother as Rebecca, so maybe Letty was stepmother and therefore more likely to be allowed to marry him?
by Marion Poole G2G6 Pilot (631k points)
Letty and Rebecca are most likely the same person, unless William married another woman named Asher.
Not unknown to marry the first wife’s sister
+3 votes
No, a woman could not marry her son and the children would have inherited their father’s property at his death, not their mother’s. Women were only entitled to one-third of their husband’s estate.  There are multiple deeds regarding the transfer of  various pieces of property owned by William Bryan and sold by his children, including Aquilla, the youngest son.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (148k points)

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