Thoughts of love and weddings seem to come naturally around Valentine’s Day. And who doesn’t love a good wedding announcement? One of my favorites is this one for John Evans and Carrie Beum, my husband’s great-grandparents. It appeared on the front page of the Westerville, Ohio Public Opinion on New Year’s Eve, 1896. I can almost see the hall lit up for their reception on one of the most festive nights of the year, the guests dressed in their holiday finest, the tables aglow in candlelight.
Will Wed This Eve.
John Evans, one of the most popular conductors on the Columbus Central, and Miss Carrie Beum, the accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Beum, are to be married at the home of the bride’s parents on Plum street this evening at 8 o’clock. Rev. N. D. Creamer will be the clergyman in charge, and James Lawson and Miss Barbara Williams are to be best man and bridesmaid. The bride and groom will spend a few days with the latter’s parents in Columbus, where a brilliant reception is to be given them to-morrow evening. They will reside here and, for our part, we wish them abundance of all that is good. (1)
John was an immigrant from Montgomeryshire, Wales, having arrived in Columbus in 1881. Carrie was the only daughter of a long-established Ohio family. I’m not sure how or where their paths crossed—perhaps it was literally on one of the High St. streetcars he conducted. How long did they court? What did they like to do? I have a picture of John, young and handsome, but none of Carrie. I wish I knew what she looked like, how pretty she was in her wedding dress.
I like to think of the new Mr. and Mrs. John Evans on their wedding night, happy and surrounded by family and friends on the cusp of a new year, because their happiness would be cut short all too soon. In less than two generations’ time, even Carrie’s name would be lost, just a shadowy figure in the family lore. But that, my friends, is a story for another time. For now, let’s let love carry the day, and raise a toast to wedding nights gone by.
Written in conjunction with the 2013 Family History Writing Challenge
1. “Will Wed This Eve.,” Public Opinion (Westerville, Ohio), 31 December 1896, p. 1, col. 2.
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