Marriages that had taken place before emancipation could be registered by any couple who appeared before a Justice of the Peace or Clerk of the Court and made a statement indicating when they began cohabitating as husband and wife.
An 1868 court reform act did away with marriage bonds and transferred the authority to issue marriage licenses to the Registers of Deeds.
The parallel authority of the Church of England and the magistrate to solemnize marriages continued even after North Carolina became a Crown Colony in 1729.
In 1741 the state increased its control over marriages by enacting provisions for issuing marriage licenses or publishing banns.
The story of how childhood sweethearts Mildred and Richard Loving brought about one of the most important US legal rulings of the 20th century is a long one — and one that did not begin with them and their case.