Monday, October 19, 2009

Cora and Hayden Elope

Evidently Cora A TALIAFERRO and Edgar Hayden LOONEY eloped. A lawsuit was later brought by the State of Arkansas against the Baptist minister, J W SIKES, who performed the marriage without proper consent of the parents, C D and Jane TALIAFERRO. Cora lied about her age--she was 17 and not the legal 18. The court record has many errors, including at least three different dates for the marriage.

Supreme Court of Arkansas, Vol. 30, May to Nov. Terms, 1875, Cases decided by by John M Moore, Adams and Blocher, Little Rock, 1877, p. 500-5, Abstracted by Teresa McVeigh 18 Oct 2009

Sikes vs. The State

Appeal from Benton Circuit Court, Hon. J M Pittman, Circuit Judge

Two Counts in indictment:

1. Defendant, J W Sikes, minister of the Gospel, in Benton county on 10th Mar. 1875, did solemnize a marriage contract between Hayden Looney and Cora A. Taliaferro, she being a minor between age 17 and 18, without first obtaining parents' consent.

2. The said J W Sikes minister of the Gospel in said county on 10 Mar 1875, did unlawfully perform a marriage ceremony between Hayden Looney (age 17-21) and Cora A. Taliaferro (female age 17-18), without the consent in person or writing of parents.

Defendant was tried upon the pleas of not guilty, convicted, and fined $100. He filed a motion for a new trial and appealed.

C D Taliaferro proved that he was the father of Cora A, she was over age 17 and under age 18 years at the time of her marriage to Hayden Looney, that he had never given his consent in person or in writing to the marriage and that he resided in Benton County.

Jane Taliaferro testified that the was the mother of Cora A, and that she was on the 24th day of Mar 1875, the time of the marriage, over 17 and under 18 years of age, and that the witness did not give her consent in person or writing.

The State proved that Mr. and Mrs. Looney were married 14 Mar 1875 and that Mr. Looney told the appellant that they were on a "runaway expedition or match."

"The State introduced the marriage certificate given by appellant, in which he certified that he was an ordained minister of the gospel, of the Baptist denomination ; that his credentials were recorded in the clerk's office of Benton county on 1st May, 1866, and that he solemnized the rites of matrimony on the 24th March, 1875, between Hayden Looney, age twenty-one years the 1st May, 1875, and Cora A. Taliaferro, age eighteen years the 9th November, 1874, both of Benton county. Dated 20th March, 1875."

"Mrs. Looney, on behalf of appellant, testified that in the evening of the 24th of March, 1875, and before the marriage, she told appellant she was eighteen years old on the 9th of March, 1874, and offered to give him a certificate to that effect. Other witnesses testified that she made such statement to appellant."

"Hayden Looney also testified that before appellant saw Cora A., she told him twice that she was eighteen years old."

A new trial was awarded, allowing for a new trial on the first count and "sustain the demurrer on the second count."

The entire trial transcript is located at

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