Perversion of Legal Maxims
From History of the Town of Newfane, Vermont with Genealogies: Newfane's First Century, by D. Leonard (Brattleboro VT: Steam Job Printer, 1877), pp. 30-31
By a strange perversion of legal principles, which prevailed among the early settlers of Windham county, it was supposed that whoever married a widow who was administratrix upon the estate of her deceased husband represented insolvent, and should thereby possess himself of any property or thing which had been purchased by the deceased husband, would become an executor de son tort, and would thereby make himself liable to answer for the goods and estate of his predecessor. To avoid this difficulty, Major Moses Joy, of Putney, who became enamored of Mrs. Hannah Ward, of Newfane, the widow of William Ward, who died about 1788 leaving an insolvent estate, of which Mrs. Ward was administratrix, and married her within three months after taking out letters of administration. The marriage too place in the old Field Mansion on Newfane Hill, February 22d, A.D., 1789, and was solemnized by Rev. Hezekiah Taylor. Mrs. Ward placed herself in a closet, with a tire-woman, who stripped her of all her clothing, and while in a perfectly nude state, she thrust her fair, round arm through a diamond hole in the door of the closet, and the gallant major clasped the hand of the nude and buxom widow, and was married in due form by the jolliest parson in Vermont. At the close of the ceremony, the tire-woman dressed the bride in a complete wardrobe which the major had provided and caused to be deposited in the closet at the commencement of the ceremony. She came out elegantly dressed in silk, satin and lace, and there was kissing all round. Similar marriages took place in Westminster [and Putney].