|Love Stories In Shades
By Candice Lynn Buchanan
This Valentine’s Day while celebrating the relationships of the present, celebrate those of the past as well. Use the occasion to learn how each generation of your family came into being. How they met, their first date, their wedding day….
Getting these details first hand from your living relatives is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Whatever the circumstances, however unique or typical the tale, it is worth understanding how your family came together.
The romance and particulars of generations long gone may seem lost, but it is possible to learn their stories, as well, with a little bit of research. The following are a few local tales of love in Greene County history, and the sources that revealed them:
Love at First Sight
Frances Cook was born in Greene County in 1887, but moved as a young woman with her family to Columbiana, Ohio. Ties to Greene County remained strong though, and Frances returned for visits to friends and relatives. On one such visit Frances sang with her hostess in the church choir. When John Livingood caught sight of the visitor he turned to a friend and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.”
(Interview with Sara (Livingood) Buchanan, daughter, 2003.)
When They First Met
Joseph Warren Jacobs is best known for his Purple Martin birdhouses and the incredible ornithology research that took him to World Fairs and made him a household name among birdwatchers. The talent that first introduced him to his wife-to-be, however, was his handwriting. J. Warren was hired to compose beautiful entries in the family Bibles of local residents. One such employer was Jasper Dulaney, whose daughter Mary Emma first met J. Warren during this task for her family. A young girl at the time, it was some years later while Emma was helping her father at his grocery store in Waynesburg, that J. Warren really made an impression on her. When J. Warren walked into the store, Emma was taken aback by his good looks and in stumbling backwards she fell into a bushel basket. Fortunately, J. Warren was the one to help her out. This memorable meeting, now as two adults, resulted in a wedding on 24 March 1897.
(Interview with Anna (Fonner) Blystone, granddaughter, 2005.)
Edward Martin and Charity Scott met while students at Waynesburg College in the late 1890s. Their wedding day in 1908 was the “event that Edward Martin always described as the most important in his life.” But before there was a wedding, and even before their 1901 college graduation, Edward was sent to fight in the Spanish-American War. “As he and Charity walked along the railroad tracks before he boarded the train on which he began his journey…they talked about the future. While they were not actually engaged, they did have an 'understanding.' She promised to write, and gave him a little Bible which he always carried with him, wherever he went, for the rest of his life.”
("Charity Martin - Edward Martin" by Harriet Branton, undated article from unidentified newspaper, in Martin family vertical file at the Cornerstone Genealogical Society.)
Weddings Gone Wrong
Nineteen year-old, Lizzie Bryan, of Richhill Township, “a rather good looking, sprightly young woman” completed her courses at Waynesburg College in September 1871. The month of her graduation, Lizzie attended the wedding of Minor Raimer and a Miss Black, in the company of fellow student Corbly Garrard. Though Mr. Garrard was not her father’s favorite suitor, Lizzie and Corbly followed Raimer and Black that day, making secret wedding vows before Rev. Campbell Jobes and the audience present. The ceremony kept a secret, Lizzie returned home, where over the next several months Silas Loller, a music professor at the college, became a frequent caller. Knowing no better and having the approval of her parents, Silas proposed to Lizzie, was accepted, and by April 1872 they were wed. About two weeks after their wedding day Silas and Lizzie, while still at her parents’ home, were called on by Corbly. Mr. Bryan would not let the young man in, but after a number of failed tries, Corbly demanded his right to speak to his “lawfully wedded wife.” Only Lizzie was not shocked. Silas immediately went to Waynesburg to seek legal council, but as the second husband to be taken he found little relief. Lizzie’s “youth and impulsive nature” were blamed for the marriage to Corbly which she alleged was only a joke.
(Waynesburg Republican, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 10 April 1872, page 3, column 1).
History shows that Lizzie and Silas found a solution because they remained married, and are buried together in the Bryan family cemetery in Richhill Township.
In 1802, Andrew Buchanan, 22 years old, left his home in eastern Pennsylvania, with plans to travel to Kentucky or Tennessee to practice law. He had made it as far as Greene County when his plans suddenly changed. While taking a room at a Waynesburg inn, he caught the eye of a young lady who convinced him to stay. Miss Rhoda Stevenson had come from New Jersey to stay with her relatives in Waynesburg – the innkeepers. Family tales say Rhoda had “been engaged to a seafaring man” who was killed when his ship exploded just off the New Jersey shore. The stay in Greene County was intended to remove Rhoda from the memory. Supposedly, as she recovered, Rhoda agreed to accompany a friend to visit “one of the many fortune tellers who abounded in every community in those days.” Rhoda was told she would meet and marry a man with a wart on his nose – Andrew fit the description. They were married in 1804 and raised 9 children to adulthood. Their grandchildren spoke of them as storytellers, so whether myth or truth, this tale likely was passed down straight from the source.
(John L. O’Hara, Fact & Folklore (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania: Mary Churney Eagon, 1989), 133. “One Pioneer” article, Waynesburg Independent, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 27 August 1896, page 8, column 1-2.)
All material within this
web site has been compiled by Candice Buchanan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(63 W. Franklin St.; Waynesburg, PA 15370).
Data sources documented whenever possible. Contributors credited for shared information. Questions, feedback and contributions welcome.
Copyright © 2003-2008 Candice Buchanan. All rights reserved.