Friday, August 19, 2011

NEWSPAPER TIDBIT: Couple Marries in Civil and Quaker Ceremonies (1920)

from The Republican (Danville, Indiana) – issue of Thursday, August 26, 1920 – page 1, column 5:

First by Rites of Friends Church, Then by ‘Squire

Roy L. Nelson and Lenia Peacock Nelson have been married twice, both times legally and without any separation intervening. They were married some two weeks ago according to the rites of the Friends. Saturday, they were married according to the civil law, ‘Squire Kennedy officiating.

Saturday afternoon in company with the bride’s father, Galileo Peacock, a well known citizen of Guilford township, they appeared at the clerk’s office. Miss Ethel Clark, the deputy, waited on them when they said they wished a marriage license. All was going well until the question, on the application blank, whether either of the parties had been married before, was reached. And they said they had, were in fact then husband and wife.

This was a new problem for Miss Clark and she called Clerk Woodward who decided he had struck something absolutely new early in his official life. Mr. Peacock explained that the lady is his daughter, that she was married but they had all decided as law-abiding citizens that they wished a civil wedding. Mr. Woodward then issued the license and they asked for a brief ceremony, the less formality the better. So ‘Squire Kennedy was called.

from The Republican (Danville, Indiana) – issue of Thursday, September 16, 1920 – page 1, column 3:

I, the undersigned, wish to correct the misleading inferences set forth in these columns of August 26, in the article headed “Married Two Times but Never Separated,” which so inferred that I and Miss Peacock had disrespected the Quaker ceremony or “rites” of the Quaker church which we were said to have accepted some time previous to our engaging the ‘Squire under the civil law for our second marriage or, a more lawful union as the article infers.

Correction – The fact is I deny being married twice or by the civil law at all so far as the marrying goes. I contend that we were married but once and that by the so-called Quaker manner. But the fact is that tho [sic] married after the “Quaker manner” we were not married in or by the Quaker church. Hence further steps were necessary in order to provide the civil law a “record” of our intent and action.

The reason we were not married in the Quaker church was because that I myself am not a registered member with any denomination but since I as a Christian heavily indorse [sic] Quaker principles and especially their simple, informal, Divine manner of uniting man and wife, we, Miss Peacock and myself, married under this self-same method without the church. That is, on August 20, we and her parents arranged for the spending of a part of the day in a nice woods just outside Danville where, after having a few hours in prayer and meditation, Miss Peacock and I, long having known our union God’s will, united in holy matrimony, there beneath the skies, with God as witness Who is the only rightful official to such a matter. After our dinner, we went to Danville, secured a license and “Mr. ‘Squire” and proceeded to satisfy “Caesar, the law” whereupon I made known the fact that were already husband and wife by ordinance of God and hence desired only enough ceremony to make a record of our intentions possible and pleasing in the eyes of the law and all was accomplished very nicely. We were married in the woods by the Lord. The action or contract was recorded thru another action at the court house by the kindness of the clerk and the ‘Squire.

I, myself, deny that the power of either uniting or of separating man and wife lies within the power of man or earthly law. And hence I fully agree with the Quaker principles that such is a matter belonging wholly to God Himself as “Liscensor” and officiating minister. I invite any person who desires to slur the Quaker view and practice on this point to note the almost entire absence of separation among those united in marriage under the Quaker or Friends manner of marriage as against the daily divorces among unions made thru the courts or civil law which are too often by the mere hand of man (I pronounce you man and wife) preceded by a moonlight, prayerless courtship.

R.L. Nelson,
Plainfield, Ind.

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