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So, what do people mean when they say girls married young back then? Do they mean 14? Or 18?

I think they haven't looked at facts. Yes, there are some groups, as I mentioned, where marriage in the early teens (or in some cases even earlier) is, if not the norm, than at least not shocking. But I think a lot of people are simply parroting something they read or heard, and have not sat down and looked at the data. I haven't actually done an average age, but I think, using a rough estimate, that the average age for women getting married in the New England area during what we call Colonial times is closer to 21 than 18.

Nancy
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