February 7, 2010

Centennial of Paternal Grandparents Marriage

On January 29, 1910 my paternal grandparents were married. According to an account by my late Aunt Ruth Roller(their oldest child), "William and Myrtle McVay were married in Delphi, Indiana, on January 29, 1910. They went in a horse and buggy to the church on that very cold day. Myrtle's dress was grey and had five yards of material in the skirt."

Their wedding picture is hidden somewhere in my stacks and stacks of family memorabilia.

Passed down in family lore are more details: her dress was wrinkled in the photograph because they were crowded in the buggy. Her mother, Sarah Bird Wilburn, accompanied them to the courthouse to get the license. It was so cold that they heated bricks and took them along to put near their feet.

There is a discrepancy in family documents about the actual wedding date. In September 2009, my father, mother, and I visited the magnificent Carroll County (Indiana) Courthouse. In the basement of this beautiful facility is a museum. The museum staff helped us find an original copy of the wedding certificate which is dated January 29. I have the original which is in pieces.

Bill and Myrtle did not go to this courthouse on their wedding day, this building did not open until 1917. The young couple went to the second Carroll County Courthouse which was brick and featured towers on either end, according to Wikipedia.

My grandfather's obituary from June 1935 states January 26 and my own family history software has that probably incorrect date. (This software was updated in the 1990s. I assisted my Aunt Ruth in typing her memories in November 1983 -- she would be dead of cancer less than one year later.

Her memoirs contain a newspaper copy (too difficult to scan) of my grandfather's obituary -- I am including parts of it here. The obit states that this information was read at my grandfather's funeral.

"On June 3, 1882 in Pickaway County, Ohio, a ray of sunshine came to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Andy McVay in the form of a baby boy whom they called William. When he was yet a lad he with his parents and brothers and sisters moved to a farm near Lockport, Indiana, where he grew to manhood. He spent almost his entire life in that locality with the exception of a few years, having lived eight years north of Idaville in the Pious vicinity. In the spring of 1934, he with his family moved to his farm near Camden, where he spent his last days.

"He was united in marriage to Myrtle Wilburn on January 26 (sic), 1910 and was the father of six children. One became a beckoning hand in glory when a small child, and the other five Mrs. Ruth Roller, of Burnettsville, Mrs. Loda Finks of Logansport, Mary Irene Delton, and Billy at home, with their mother, Mrs. Myrtle McVay were left to mourn his departure onhte afternoon of May 31, 1935.

"Also four brothers, Joe of Clayton, Michigan; Elsa of Stockridge, Michigan; Samuel of Burnettsville; Delbert of Royal Center; and three sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Temple of Hopedale; Mrs. Thressa McLeland of Royal Center, and Mrs. Anna Belle Tedford of Idaville, and a host of relatives and friends.

"He united with the church of God at Lockport and the church keenly feels the loss of another one of its flock. The high ideals that are embodies in good citizenship, friendship, devoted husband and loving father were his pursuits in life. The end was not unexpected, for he had been in failing health for almost two years, and the last few weeks he was in a critical condition. Had he lived three more days, he would have been fifty-three years old."

My father was four years old and has only two memories, playing with his toys on the floor of my grandfather's sick room and seeing his father's casket lowered into the grave at the Davis Cemetery.

My grandmother lived until 1977, raising her children as a single mother. They stayed on the farm -- a deathbed promise by my grandmother to my grandfather -- until 1946. Those were not easy years for the four people who lived there, my grandmother, father, aunt and uncle. They did not have electricity until after the war -- my grandmother did not want to spend the money to have it connected. This meant manually pumping water when the windmill wasn't running.

Had my grandfather lived today, he would be treated for his heart ailments with drugs or a balloon cath or even open heart surgery. It is so odd to me to think he passed at age 52, the same age I am now. I did not know him, but I perceived him to be an old man at his death. I don't feel old in the least (most days.) Quoth the raven.