In This Place: June 4, 2014
by Trish Adams
In celebration of the wedding season, this column will offer up some June weddings from many years ago. You will note that church weddings were not the rage back then; brides usually married at their homes or at their minister’s parsonage. Usually just one attendant each “stood up” for the groom and bride and perhaps there would be a flower girl or page if a younger family member wanted to participate.
This June 20, my parents will have been married for 60 years! Today, that is considered an accomplishment because so many marriages don’t work out; in the early part of the 20th century, a golden anniversary was considered very rare because most people just didn’t live that long.
If you are feeling nostalgic for the all-time “Bride” movie, I can’t suggest anything happier than MGM’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” a magnificent, corny and now politically incorrect musical with lyrics by the immortal Johnny Mercer. Here’s what he has to say in the tune “June Bride”:
“Oh, they say when you marry in June, / You're a bride all your life.
And the bridegroom who marries in June / Gets a sweetheart for a wife.”
Sweetheart or not, here come the brides. These terse descriptions were often all that was offered up on the occasion of a wedding: remember, this is farm country and June was a very busy time to be getting hitched.
June 10, 1904–Wedding Bells
J. L Keator and Miss Mabel Scott were united in the holy bonds of matrimony at the bride’s home in Griffin Corners Tuesday last by Rev. W. H. Vaughn.
Charles Streeter and Miss Bertha P. Morse were married at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Morse, Halcottville, on Wednesday evening of this week by Elder Hubbell.
A very pretty wedding took place at the home of David L Dawson in Union Grove on Wednesday June 1 1901 [sic], when Harriet R., his beautiful and accomplished daughter, was united in holy wedlock to Charles A. Nesbitt of South Kortright. The ceremony was performed at high noon in the presence of a great many guests, by Rev. Robert Davidson of Arena. After many congratulations and joy-wishing the company sat down to partake of the good things prepared for the occasion. At 2 p.m. the happy young couple, amid showers of rice, left for their wedding tour, an extended trip to New York and other places of interest.
Mr. Sewotek, apparently, has no time to go a’courting, and like many an industrious young man, must find himself a wife (well, those of us in the business claim “ads work!”) Wonder if this subtle approach got any results?
June 8, 1906 – Wife Wanted
Would like to correspond with good looking woman 35-40, and who has some property. Object, matrimony.
lt Matthew Sewotek,
What was the greatest obligation of the wedding guest back then? A toast to the groom? A gift from Williams-Sonoma? No, as Rev. Long so eloquently explains here, your first obligation as a guest is to do justice to The Dinner. And he should know, he preceded over many a local wedding.
June 10, 1910 – Lincoln Long: The Dinner
The words have been said that have united two lives for the future. The guests have written their names in the book to be treasured by the bride and all the congratulations have been given to the happy pair. And now comes the wedding dinner. It is out in the country where they do things for the sake of giving happiness and not for the sake of style. Let us go into the dining room and take our places at the table with the company.
Ah, how fortunate we were to get seated by the newly wedded pair. Here on our right is a genial couple who have been some years on the road which the young people are just starting to travel. Over there sits the Grandfather happy and smiling and perhaps, thinking of an event like this many years ago in the past. There near the midway part of the table is the mother watching to see that all goes well and that all are served with all they can desire. And the younger ones and the other older one sit waiting with us for the word of grace that shall begin the dinner in this reverent home.
And now the dishes begin to pass. This is a real genuine dinner put on the table in the good old way so that we can see that there is enough for every one, Such creamy potatoes and such good gravy were never surpassed. And that carved chicken, tender and sweet, and the dressing and all the rest isn’t it all just excellent? And do you see those great large oranges with the juicy inner part peeping out through the openings that have been made by some deft hand? And do you see the bananas keeping them company? Take account of it all and do not load your plate too heavily of the first things that come to you.
There, we have managed to take a little of everything so far and now we are ready for the oranges and the bananas. We shall get through all right, But no, there has been a mistake. Right here comes someone with a great, heaping dish of the best icecream one ever ate. And here come four kids for cake. What shall we do? Shall we risk the consequences of nature’s wrath or shall we slight this wedding-day hospitality? You know which we shall do and you with me will suffer for the occasion but we will not let the ice cream and the cake go by untouched. And when we have tasted we are sure we have done the right thing, although we may think differently at a later hour. Certainly, we shall not need another meal to-day.
Oh these country farmer women can cook. And these visitors to the farms on wedding days can eat. But while there does not seem to be any limits set to the first, there surely is to the last. There comes a passing of good things that must be declined for all are filled. But we shall all remember that dinner whenever we hear of a country wedding.
June 17, 1910 — Fifty Years of Married Life
Fifty years ago, or on June 6, 1860, Charles Carman and Helen Johnson were united in marriage and on Monday, June 6, 1910, celebrated the event which comes into the lives of so few people – their Golden Wedding.
Postals and letters came from different parts of the United States, 153 in number. Then in the evening a small party of friends came in and really proved to them that it was an anniversary time. Rev. E. A. Bookhout made appropriate remarks to the bride and groom and presented them with a token of gold, with the best wishes of those present. — Recorder.
June 14, 1912 — The Archibald-Ruff Wedding.
A pretty home wedding took place near New Kingston Wednesday evening when Burton Archibald and Miss Theresa Ruff took the solemn pledges of love and fidelity. In the parlor at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Ruff, Rev, L. R. Long of Margaretville performed the solemn ceremony.
At the signal from the ushers the bridal party entered the parlor and took their palces [sic] beneath an everygreen [sic] arch. Miss Mabel Sanford played the Mendelsohn wedding march. The bride’s brother Howard Ruff was best man and Miss Welme Adee, bridesmaid while the bride’s sister, Miss Helen acted as attendant. The ushers were Lauren Archibald and Harry Robson. The bride’s wedding gown was of pale blue messaline which contrasted effectively with the white folds of the long wedding veil. The bride’s maid wore white silk. The bride and her maid carried bouquets of white roses and carnations.
After the ceremony a bountiful wedding supper was served at which the 125 guests did justice. Guests were present from Margaretville, Cornwall, Livingston Manor, Stamford, Roxbury and Bovina. The bride received numerous presents of cut glass, silverware, china, linen and money. The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald wish them a long and happy life together.
Here we have two weddings on the same front page, one the height of society and good breeding and the other? The height of adventure!
June 21, 1912
Miss Fanny M. Jackson, daughter of Editor and Mrs. J. K. P. Jackson and Dr. Charles M. Allaben, son of Dr. Charles S. Allaben, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony at the home of the bride’s parents at High Noon on Saturday by the Rev. L. R. Long in the presence of about 60 relatives and guests.
The home was trimmed in pink and white for the occasion, and pink laurel furnished much of the former color. The bridesmaid was Miss Mary Kelly of Griffin Comers and Clifton B. Hitt of this village acted as groomsman. Master Alfred Stewart was page and Miss Lucia Stewart, flower girl.
Promptly at Noon the party assembled in the parlor and the solemn vows were repeated. Following congratulations and wedding repast Dr. and Mrs. Allaben departed in a car for Perch Lake where they will spend a week and from there will go to Buffalo for a week’s sojourn.
The bride wore a gown of white silk with point lace and a veil. Miss Kelly pink over white and Lucia Stewart, pink over white. The wedding presents were beautiful and were composed of a large amount of gold, solid silver, cut glass and several family heirlooms.
It can well be said that Dr. Allaben and his bride are the most respected and best liked young people of Margaretville. They have both been brought up here and the community takes much pride in their success and welfare. He has a very successful practice at Roscoe where he recently established himself.
This account, undoubtedly by their “host,” Clarke Sanford, begs a scientific question: what car could go 60 miles an hour in 1912? Methinks Mr. Sanford is swept up in the romance of — the automobile!
Real Elopers Here.
Mr. and Mrs. H. MacClellan, who eloped from the bride’s home in Newburgh, Wednesday of last week in their Flanders roadster, have been spending a week with Clarke A. Sanford. The young people had known each but a few hours when they were married and the story of their elopement reads like a romance.
Mr. MacClellan has an enviable place with Studebakers in the sale of their cars. Mrs. MacClellan is the daughter of a garage man in Newburgh. The young people met in her father’s garage about three weeks ago, and had a short talk. A week later they met again and enjoyed an automobile ride. A week later than the second visit they met again, decided to wed, drove to the Pennsylvania line at 60 miles an hour and were married, called her parents on the phone, were forgiven, and then came to the most beautiful place in the Catskills to enjoy a quiet honeymoon.
When I was researching couples to include in my “Catskills Clans, Unite!” logic puzzle, I stumbled on this 20th century bit of social marketing research, which was what I was trying to do all along! The signature “Roxbury Cor.” certainly nails this as a piece by the ever curious Roxbury historian, Irma Mae Griffin.
July 8, 1938 — June Weddings Show Trend to More Ceremony
Only Eight Percent Take Place in Home of Ministers
A study of fifty June weddings, picked from the latest issues of local papers, shows a continuing trend for more elaborate or impressive weddings. Twenty-four of the weddings took place in the home of the bride’s parents. The church was a close second with 22 weddings, while only four took place in the parsonage, compared with a few years ago when a leading number took place simply in the officiating pastor’s home. Eleven of the fifty brides had more than one bridesmaid.
Paradoxically, the trend of weddings is toward sweetness and simplicity, compared with the sophistication of recent years. Thirty of the 50 brides wore white. Eighteen wore some shade of blue, and only two wore pink. No other color was worn by brides, compared with former years, when all colors of the rainbow were worn.
Twenty-nine of the 30 accounts of white brides mentioned wedding veils. White satin, the leading material two years ago was worn by only five. Taffeta was absent. The two pink brides wore sharkskin and net. Two of the blue brides had veils, showing the increasing popularity of the wedding veil.
June brides this year voted overwhelmingly for roses. Seventeen carried white roses; eleven carried pink or mixed roses. Carnations came second. Orchids and calla lillies, popular in other years, were conspicuous by their absence.
We reach this conclusion: the typical bride of June 1938 wore a white lace gown, with a veil. She carried white roses, mixed with sweet peas. She was married at home or at church. If she had more than one bridesmaid ... she almost certainly had a flower girl. As for the groom, as usual, nobody noticed him.
What else is new? Now in New York State, same sex couples can get married, as I did last August. As is the tradition, my bride was far more fetching than I. Viva the brides!