My exploration of the beautiful 100 year old art deco postcard album continues, this time with the typewritten Honeymoon Diary. Researching the historical context of the diary reveals quite an exciting elopement.  (Read also the first installment: A Story in Captions: The 1913 Gettysburg Reunion.)

Elopement in 1916

The Honeymoon Diary

DIARY kept by Sid of our Wedding Trip – August 27, 1916 to September 20th, 1916

Despite the assertion that Sid was the one keeping the diary, the diary usually refers to the Groom as “Sid” and the bride as “me.”  I suspect that she edited and annotated the diary as she transcribed it.

August 27th – Sid came to Shiloh this P.M. (Sunday). We left for Cincinnati, Ohio on the midnight train. Arrived in Cincinnati about 6 A.M. Married in Kentucky at 10 A.M. Left for Mansfield, Ohio at 1 P.M. Had our first dinner together in Galion, Ohio at 8 P.M. Took the street-car from Galion to Mansfield (Big four from Cincinnati to Galion).

Aug. 28th – Left Mansfield on Penna. R.R.  at 12 Midnight. It was a beautiful day, but quite cool in the evening.  Sid bought a sack of apples and some sandwiches to eat on the train.

Our Wedding Day.   Sunshine all day.

What?!  Arrived in Cincinnati at 6 a.m to be married four hours later over the state line in Kentucky? There’s got to be a back story to that.

Fortunately, there’s enough other information in the album for me to figure out who our bride and groom were. Many post cards in the album were addressed to Sid Earhart as well as to Myrtle Lookabaugh of Shiloh, Ohio.

According to Kentucky, County Marriages, 1783-1965, the marriage, which I’m assuming to be a civil service, took place on August 28th.[1]

Kentucky Marriage Certificate Sid Earhart and Myrtle Lookaboug

Why cross into Kentucky to get married?  My guess is that 1916 Kentucky marriage laws were more expedient for the couple, such as no waiting period required.

A glance at a 1916 marriage license application reveals the following text above the signature line: “Said parties are not nearer of kin than second cousins, and there is no legal impediment to their marriage. That neither of said party is an habitual drunkard, epileptic, imbecile, or insane, and is not under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug.” [2]

I can’t speak to their intoxication, but Sid and Myrtle were 23 and 27 years old, respectively, and a little research establishes that they weren’t first cousins.

Perhaps Ohio had a waiting period or a license cost more. Unfortunately the revised statutes for Ohio and Kentucky aren’t online, for me to compare the marriage law between the states.  Further research would require a trip to a brick and mortar library. (Which would be worth it if they were my ancestors!)

The Elopement Trip

Shiloh, Ohio boasted 555 residents in 1910.[3] You couldn’t make that trip today via train, according to Google maps. A trip via car, however, would take about three hours.

Had a lot more options for train travel than we do today, as the map below from 1916 reveals. [4]  Train map from Maps, Etc.,” Florida Center for Instructional TechnologyThe city of Galion, Ohio, explains what the Big Four Depot was.

The Big Four Depot opened in 1900 and served as division headquarters for the Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railroad. Peak passenger usage occurred during and after World War I, when approximately 32 trains per day stopped there.[5]

That’s a big hub for a city of 7,200.[6]

August 29th – A lovely day and the scenery so beautiful. Many, many mountains. Arrived in Washington D.C. at 7:30 P.M.

August 30th – We are visiting at Jim Dodsons’ and sure made a day of it today. Took in Washington Monument and Capital. Congress in session on account of the Rail-road strike.

Looking through the album, I found a couple of photographs that match the diary entry.

A photo of the Dobsons

Jim Dobson and wife, I presume.

 

Railroad Strike

Sid and Myrtle certainly had some gumption, planning and taking their honeymoon via railroad as railroad workers threatened a National Strike. On August 7, 2016 the International Herald Tribune reported a 7,000 worker strike in New York, which seriously hindered “All traffic between Manhattan, the Bronx and many parts of Long Island… “[7]

Things continued to escalate. On August 17, 2017, the International Herald Tribune reported:

President Wilson, deeming the situation in connection with the threatened railroad strike to be so acute that it must needs demand prompt and decisive action to avert a national disaster, has issued a call for all railroad presidents throughout the county to meet him in conference at the White House.”[8]

I can’t imagine planning wedding and honeymoon via train where a strike of “national disaster” magnitude was brewing.

No spoilers, but the Honeymoon Journal ends on September 18.  Luckily, Woodrow Wilson signed the Adamson Act, which averted the strike by instituting an eight-hour work day, on Sept 3, 1916.

What happens next?

Stay tuned for the rest of the Honeymoon Diary and read eyewitness views of our nation’s capital from 100 years ago.

[17] Ancestry.com. Kentucky, County Marriages, 1783-1965 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Kentucky Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

[2] Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016 (Original data: Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses), accessed via Ancestry.com, December 16, 2017

[3] “Shiloh, Richland County, Ohio,” Wikipedia.org, accessed December 16, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiloh,_Richland_County,_Ohio.

[4] “Maps, Etc.,” Florida Center for Instructional Technology, accessed December 11, 2017, http://etc.usf.edu/maps/pages/4400/4401/4401z.htm.

[5] “Galion Big Four Depot,” City of Galion (Ohio), accessed December 11, 2017, http://www.galion.city/347/Galion-Big-Four-Depot.

[6] Population according to 1910 and 1920 Census counts. “Galion, Ohio,” Wikipedia.org, accessed December 16, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galion,_Ohio.

[7] “1916: 7,000 Workers Strike in New York,” NYTimes.com, accessed December 11, 2017, https://iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/1916-7000-worker-strike-in-new-york/.

[8] “1916: Threat of Rail Road Strike,” NYTimes.com, accessed December 11, 2017, https://iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/1916-threat-of-railroad-strike/.

 

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