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Another look back at Christmas

For various reasons that were important to them – and to their families as well – some couples have chosen to have their marriage ceremonies performed either right before or right after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Here are some of them from the distant past. 

Dec. 23, 1887—On this Christmas Eve-eve, there were two marriages: David Hill to the widow Mrs. A. Knight and Tom Griffin to Sally Crow. These happy couples will be celebrating their first Christmas together as man and wife. 

Dec. 21, 1886—Mattie Hardwick married the man of her dreams, Bill Pruson, in Cullman today. 

Dec. 18, 1887—John D. Sharpton took Julia Givens as his bride today. One week till Christmas! 

Dec. 26, 1893—Dr. Walter West Vest married Nancy Ludieen Hutchesen in the parlor of the Hartselle Hotel this morning. The ceremony was conducted by James W. Sandlin of New Decatur. 

Dec. 11, 1887—Levi J. Land and Milinda Stokes pledged their troth before a minister of the gospel today. 

Dec. 18, 1887—William L. Vernon and Ida Brock were pronounced man and wife after reciting their wedding vows before the Rev. R. E. Legg today. 

Dec. 9, 1891—Lloyd Jinright and Rebecca Scott were married today. They enjoyed 22 happy years together before Mr. Jinright passed away in 1913. 

Dec. 10, 1891—Isaac N. Roberson and Fannie Wise recited their wedding vows today. In a little more than two weeks they will be able to enjoy their first Christmas together. 

Dec. 20, 1891—Robert M. Childers and Mary Calvert were married. This union did not last as long as Robert and Mary had hoped. Sadly, Mary passed away before they had enjoyed seven full years of married life, July 16, 1898. 

Dec. 23, 1891—J. L. Street of Decatur and Mary Feist of Cullman were married today in a ceremony performed in Birmingham. J. L. was 21 when he married Mary; she was 19.  

Dec. 21, 1892—William Bates and Cordelia “Cora” McMinn were united in holy matrimony by the Rev. John McClanahan today. Cora was 20 when she and Bill Bates were married. She was 78 when she passed away Jan. 14, 1950. Bill was 29 in 1892. Sadly, Cora Bates was to have many years as a widow, since her husband passed away April 12, 1918. The Rev. John Dandridge McClanahan was one of Hartselle’s most famous ministers. He married many couples such as Bill and Cora Bates during more than 73 years of meeting the spiritual needs of people throughout north Alabama. When the Rev. McClanahan died in 1943 at age 99, he was laid to rest in the Bethel Baptist cemetery. 

Dec. 26, 1887—With the Christmas spirit still very much alive, Robert H. Botler, a local boy, and Mary Lee of Leesdale were married here in Hartselle today. 

Dec. 22, 1894John T. Crumby of New Decatur and Nannie Turney of Cullman recited their marriage vows before a minister of the gospel today. John was 23 when he and Nannie were married; she was 21. They had nearly 20 years of happy marriage, with John passing away in 1913. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of Union Hill Free Will Baptist Church near Eva. 

Dec. 30, 1894—Oscar E. Bowling and Mary Tulula “Lula” Sims were married on this next to the last day of the old year. They were able to enjoy many happy years together – approximately 60 – as Oscar passed away in 1954 and Lula in 1955. The Rev. J. B. Legg officiated. This union was blessed with more years of wedded bliss than any of the other couples at whose marital rites he had officiated. 

Dec. 26, 1929—Opal Evelyn Cross and William Stewart were married. These were my parents. Shortly after the wedding ceremony in the home of Phoenix, Arizona, they came back to Hartselle, William’s birthplace, to live with his widowed mother on Hickory Street. In a few years they would build their own home several blocks down on Hickory Street. Before the current United Methodist Church was constructed, we used to say that our house was catty-cornered across from the Methodist Church built in 1910. 

Dec. 31, 1921—Ethel Stephens and Burie Carden were wed New Year’s Eve day. Ethel is 19, and Burie is 21.  



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