Huguenot Refugees In Colonial New York

Wooing and Wedding,
page 10 of 12

But certain gay young sparks of the neighborhood, to anger the groom and cast ridicule on his marriage, came with unseemly noise of blowing of horns, and hung the lovely May-tree during the night with ragged stockings. We never shall know precisely what special taunt or insult was offered or signified by this overripe crop of worn-out hosiery; but it evidently answered its tantalizing purpose, for on the morrow, at break of day, the bridegroom properly resented the “mockery and insult,” cut down the hateful tree, and committed other acts of great wrath; which, being returned in kind (for thrice was the stocking-full tree set up), developed a small riot, and thus the whole affair was recorded. Among the State Papers at Albany are several letters relating to another insulting “stocking-tree” set up in Albany at about the same date, and also fiercely resented.

Collections for the church poor were sometimes taken at weddings, as was the universal custom for centuries in Holland. When Stephanus Van Cortlandt and Gertrude Schuyler were married in Albany, in 1671, thirteen guilders six stuyvers were contributed at the wedding, and fifteen guilders at the reception the following day. At the wedding of Martin Kreiger, the same year, eleven guilders were collected; at another wedding the same amount. When the daughter of Domine Bogardus was married, it was deemed a very favorable time and opportunity to take up a subscription for building the first stone church in New Amsterdam. When the wedding-guests were all mellow with wedding-cheer, “after the fourth or fifth round of drinking,” says the chronicle, and, hence generous, each vied with the other in good-humored and pious liberality, they subscribed “richly.” A few days later, so the chronicle records, some wished to reconsider the expensive and expansive transaction at the wedding-feast, and “well repented it.” But Director Kieft stiffly held them to their contracts, and “nothing availed to excuse.”

It is said that the English drink of posset was served at weddings. From the “New York Gazette” of February 13, 1744, I copy this receipt for its manufacture: —


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