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JUST LIKE OLD TIMES - June the traditional time for wedding bells

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:47 PM

June was the traditional month for weddings for many decades, but the facet of life has changed just as so many other facets have. I suppose we could consider weddings to be "a work in progress" just as so many other things are.

In pioneer times here in northern Ohio, courtships and weddings were often short and sweet and to the point. If all conditions were favorable the couple would be married by a justice of the peace, and if they were really lucky there was a settled clergyman in the neighborhood. Afterward there might be a meal prepared and served to the assembled guests, after which the furniture would be moved out of the house and there might be dancing until the early hours of the morning. At the end, the house was put back in order and everyone returned home to resume their chores and duties of the new day.

By the time of the Civil War, weddings had become more formal and often took place in a church, contrary to pioneer times when there were very few church buildings. Most weddings took place at the bride's home, though, or the couple would go to the courthouse for their marriage license and then arrange to be married simply in the parlor of a local hotel.

A wedding at home created the problem of sufficient room for everyone, plus the wear and tear on the house itself. About 1890, at a wedding near Bogarts' Corner south of Sandusky the people were crowded into the parlor of the house for the wedding when the floor gave way. Everyone and everything (including the marble fireplace mantle) plunged into the basement. No one was hurt, the wreckage was cleared away and the couple was duly married.

Henry and Sarah Brown built and lived in the large house at 72 Woodlawn Ave. in Norwalk. One of their daughters was married there in the summer of 1869 with a "large party" of people present. The reception took place in the yard with tables for the guests arranged in the corners of the shrubbery. Another daughter was married late in 1871 at the Congregational Church on a bitter cold evening. Again, "a large number" went from the church to the Brown residence for a short reception before the couple left on the train for their honeymoon.

The story of a wedding and reception similar to modern times took place in Norwalk on May 3, 1870, when Mary Parker of Norwalk was married to James Rogers of Washington Territory. Mary was a daughter of Welcome Parker of Norwalk and the wedding took place in the Parker home on the site of St. Paul Catholic Church on East Main Street.

Rogers was from the Hanging Rock-Ironton region in southern Ohio and the couple with her parents and the attendants traveled there for an "infair" on May 6th. Some 200 guests attended and a riverboat was chartered to take the wedding party back to Cincinnati late that night, and it was reported that the celebration continued on the boat trip down river.

At the time of his marriage, James Rogers was a special U.S. Treasury agent in Washington Territory. After living there a short time James and Mary moved to Toledo to make their home, where he operated a wholesale shoe business. His father had started a large iron furnace at Ironton along with a rolling mill. Both of these endeavors provided much employment and improved the economy of the area before the Civil War.

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