Sunday, September 6, 2009

Melodrama on a Sunday Morning

Still sorting through those pesky Delaware Dehortys, I came upon a newspaper article from the front page of The Logansport (IN) Journal, dated August 20, 1898, with a story about my cousin (3X removed) Tillie DeHority. It is a long post, but fun, so I'll excerpt the article below. The writing is such fun, dramatically telling the story of two young lovers. It was a lesson for me on the importance of looking for newspaper articles of the period to give life to our ancestors' stories.


Here an Obliging Justice Said the Words that Made Them One

Society circles in the little cities of Elwood and Kokomo are just at present all excitement over the episodes of a couple of lovers who ran away to this city and, sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning are supposed to have been united in marriage by some obliging official possessing the authority to tie knots that are said to bind. The principals in the elopement are prominent in the social circles of both the cities both being residents of Elwood.

The bride is the daughter of the president of the leading bank of Madison county's second city and the groom is a handsome young widower, in the drugs and soda water line. The dramatis personae also includes a wronged wife seeking her lost marriage lines: a young attorney, mutual friend of the principal characters, and a friend of the heroine who was inoocently made to aid in the development of the plot, while the "villian" in the play is supposed to be represented by the irate papa of the blushing bride.

The first part of the story is told by the Kokomo Dispatch as follows:'Tuesday morning Miss Tillie DeHority, a daughter of J.H. DeHority, president of the Elwood National bank and perhaps the foremost man in the commercial life of that place, came to Kokomo for a brief visit with Mrs. Cordis Ovens of West Walnut street.....Miss DeHority had visited Mrs. Ovens here on several occasions. Naturally she suspected nothing when she received a letter from her Elwood friend a few days ago announcing her purpose to 'come over' for a brief time. Invitations were secured for her to a number of social gatherings, functions at which she was to be the houseguest were organized among the younger set, and no effort was spared to make her visit a pleasant one...

Miss DeHority came to Logansport on Tuesday night and here [she was] met by Curt Howe, an Elwood druggist, and attorney Bert Call of Elwood. No record of any marriage license having been issued to Mr. Howe and Miss DeHority appears on the books in the office of the county clerk here, but from an acquaintance of the parties here the statement comes that the marriage license was brought from Madison County by Mr. Howe. The marriage ceremony howeve is said to have been performed here, but even surrounding that there seems to have been thrown a circle of secrecy for, while it is whispered that one of Logansport's very popular and ever-obliging justices in matters of this kind knows more than he is willing to tell, no definite statement has been given out. However, certain it is that when the Elwood young lady left here Wednesday, returning to the home of her friend in Kokomo, she went not as Miss DeHority but as Mrs. Howe.

She, however, failed to apprise her friends at Kokomo of her marriage and she attended an afternoon and an evening social gathering and another on Thursday, as Miss Tillie DeHority, 'heart whole and fancy free.' On Thursday afternoon, however, as the Dispatch tells the story, when on her way to the Ovens home in company with Mrs. Ovens, Mrs. Howe was met by a messenger boy with a telegram. It was from her husband and announced that he would be in Kokomo that night. With many tears and much pleading that her secret be kept she told Mrs. Ovens the whole story. Mrs. Ovens was dumbfounded and greatly distressed at the fact that she had been innocently made to aid in what was evidently an elopement and a match that she was sure would not be approved by the young woman's parents.

Mr. Ovens at once communicated with Mr. DeHority by telephone, laying the story before him. Mr. DeHority asked Mr. Ovens to keep his daughter at his home under any and all circumstances until her brother who he would send on the first train could reach Kokomo. The first train was that reaching there at 10:12 o'clock Thursday night. On it Mr. Howe came, but not the brother of his bride. Whether a truce had been patched up between Papa DeHority and his son-in-law is not known. Mr. Howe went to the Ovens home. His stay was significantly brief, but when he came away his wife was with him. They remained at the Clinton hotel until the 1:45 train, which they took to Elwood.

I've left out the tale of Tillie's friend, who seemed to have misplaced her own marriage license. It was altogether a bad day for poor Mrs. Ovens! The story goes on the give particulars on the families, ending with the note that Curtis Howe's first marriage was also "a runaway match".

I wonder what 18-year-old Tillie had gotten herself into?



  1. An entertaining bit of melodrama - I'll bet the readers lapped this up!

  2. I would much rather read stories like this on the front page of my newspaper, rather than the endless bad news I see today!