The Marriage and family of Whiteford Fleming Smith and Rosa Baine Thornton

On Wednesday, September 6, 1899 Whiteford Fleming and Rosa Baine Thornton were married. Since Grandmother Rosa grew up in the Deep River Community (Quaker community) in Guilford County, NC, we assume that she and Grandfather Smith met when she visited her brother Oscar Fontaine Thornton, who had moved to Mullins, SC. They were married by The Rev. J. R. Scroggs at the Methodist Episcopal Church South - now the First Methodist Church - in High Point, NC.

It wasn't until 1939 that the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Methodist Episcopal
Church (referred to as "Methodist Episcopal Church North" by many Southerners) were finally reunited, joining with the Methodist Protestant Church to become the "Methodist Church". For a brief history of that period, check out the following website under "World War and More Change - 1914-1939" -

Rosa Baine Thornton was a member of the Deep River Friends Church in Guilford County, NC and Whiteford Fleming Smith was a member of Millers Methodist Episcopal Church South near Mullins in Marion County, SC. Since he was not a member of the Quaker community, they would not have been able to be married at her church. They arranged for the local Methodist Episcopal minister in High Point, NC to marry them. They were moving to Marion County, SC where she would become a member of Millers Methodist Episcopal Church South.

A copy of their marriage certificate, which I received from the Register of Deeds in Guilford County, consistently lists his name as "Witeford F. Smith". However the family spelling of the name has consistently been "Whiteford". Therefore I am assuming that the "register of deeds" in 1899 misspelled it in filling out the paperwork, and the minister, who probably didn't know either of them, just spelled it the way it was written at the top of the page. They also put his father's initials as "WS Smith" rather than "SW Smith", but the Smith's of Marion County were unknown in Guilford County. The marriage certificate lists her age as 23, the same as his. Actually, she was 25 years old, according to family records. Also the name of the "Register of Deeds" and the three witnesses are illegible, so they are omitted. Here is the transcription of their marriage license in three sections (spelling not corrected).

State of North Carolina Office of Register of Deeds,
GUILFORD COUNTY Sept. 5th, 1899

To any Minister of any Religious Denomination or any Justice of the Peace of said County:

Witeford F. Smith having applied to me for a license for the marriage of himself of
Marion Co., SC , aged 23 years
color: white , the son of W. S. Smith and Ella Smith
the father now living , the mother is living , resident of Marion Co., SC
And Rosa B. Thornton of Guilford Co., NC , aged 23 years
color: white , daughter of E.S. Thornton and M.J. Thornton
the father is dead , the mother is living resident of Guilford Co., NC

* and the written consent of _________________________ the ______________ of the said, _________________________________ to the proposed marriage having been filed with me.

And there being no legal impediment to such marriage known to me, you are hereby authorized, at any time within one year from the date hereof, to celebrate the proposed marriage at any place within the said County.

YOU ARE REQUIRED WITHIN TWO MONTHS after you shall have celebrated such marriage to return this license to me at my office, with your signature subscribed to the certificate under this License, and with the blanks therein filled according to the facts, under penalty of forfeiting two hundred dollars to the use of any person who shall sue for the same.

Register of Deeds

1. Name of person applying for license. 2. Name of man to be married, in full. 3. Residence. 4. Age. 5. White or colored. 6. Father of man to be married. 7. Mother of man to be married. 8. Living or dead. 9. Living or dead. 10. Residence, if known, if not, state unknown. 11. Name of woman to be married, in full. 12. Residence. 13. Age. 14. White or colored. 15. Father of woman to be married. 16. Mother of woman to be married. 17. Living or dead. 18. Living or dead. 19. Residence, if known, if not, state unknown. * If both parties are over 18, strike out.


___________________________ applicant for above Marriage Licence, being duly sworn, says: That the parties above licensed are of lawful age, and that so far as he is informed and believes there to be no lawful cause or impediment forbidding said marriage.
____________________________________________________________________ Applicant
Sworn and subscribed to before me this _____ day of _______ 189__.
____________________________ Register or Deeds or J.P.


I, J. R. Scroggs , minister of the M. E. Church S. united in matrimony
Witeford F. Smith and Rosa B. Thornton the parties licensed above on the 6th day of September 1889 at M. E. Church South, High Point in
High Point Township, in said County, according to law.

* Witnesses present at marriage: J. R. Scroggs
Minister or J.P.
___________________________ of of High Point
___________________________ of " "
___________________________ of " "

Name of person officiating. If minister, of what denomination, if Justice of the Peace so state. Name of man married. Name of woman married. Place of marriage. Township. * At least three persons present at the marriage must sign as witnesses.


After the wedding, Whiteford and Rosa Smith moved to Mullins and she became a member of Millers Methodist Church, where he had his membership. Whiteford Fleming and Rosa Baine Thornton Smith had eight (8) children: