Here is the full scan:
Right away there are some oddities–his wife Hester Holland, a Virginia native, is also listed as colored. Perhaps she was known to be colored, and they could not legally marry unless they were both considered colored?
Seems very unlikely–here’s the loving couple on or about their wedding day. Hard to place them as anything other than “white.”
And it’s hard to believe that any white person living in southern Virginia in 1884, would knowingly or willingly reclassify themselves as “colored:” the disadvantages would be significant, to put it mildly, although not as significant as they would be after about 1895, when formal legal segregation began to appear.
Nansemond County was merged into Suffolk County in 1972: that explains the non-existent Virginia County. The document is a copy issued in 1998. But what about that notation on the bottom line of text, reading “Date Record FiIed: July 1940?” That’s odd. Surely the original license was filed in 1884: otherwise they could not have married and the document could not have been retrieved.
Something funky happened in 1940.