First-Hand Report of an 1877 Wedding.
One of the seven hundred guests invited to the wedding of Annie W. Turney and Thomas J. Baird in Springfield on February 28, 1877, was Mrs. Emily Chandler Lippencott of Chandlerville. In the letter below, she gives her sister Mrs. Louise Chandler Frackelton of Petersburg, a first-hand report. The sisters were daughters of Dr. Charles Chandler, pioneer physician for whom Chandlerville was named. (See Josephine Craven Chandler, "Dr. Charles Chandler, His Place in the American Scene," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, October, 1931.) Mrs. Lippencott was the wife of Charles E. Lippencott, doctor-farmer and brigadier general in the Civil War who later served two terms as state auditor and held other public offices.
Members of the family who are mentioned in the letter are a son, Winthrop, then sixteen, a sister Jane Chandler Shaw, and a niece Alice
422Chandler. This penciled letter is now owned by Mrs. Louise Shaw Dorr of Chandlerville:
MARCH 6, 1877
MY DEAR SISTER:
No doubt you were very much surprised to hear of my being at the wedding in Springfield.... Monday I was working on Charles' afgan and planning my work for the week, when about half after eleven I received a telegram from Charles telling me to come to Springfield and bring his best suit, and be ready to go to the wedding. I thought I could not go and that it would be foolish but Jane insisted, so I went on the train in about two hours. I had no preparations to make for myself, only shoes, gloves, and a few flowers. The day was lovely and the evening too. We went about seven oclock, calling for Carrie Barrell on the way.
They were not quite ready for us, but we being old neighbors and friends, did not care for that, and had all the better chance to see the people as they came in. Mrs. [William A.] Turney, the mother, was dressed as a widow should be in a plain and deep black. The bride in two shades of light blue grosgrain silk, long train, Princess dress elaborately trimmed with white tulle and point applique lace, orange flowers and white jassamine. Square veil, pinned on with a diamond cluster, hair, high on the head, all frizzed and puffed up, like you see in any Bazaar, plenty of fine flowers, long white gloves, diamond earrings. . . .
First Brides maid, her cousin, in white silk. She had heavy red hair, so all her flowers were blue, delicate and profuse. Pearl jewelry, white gloves. Second Brides maid, Miss [Marie] Morrison of Jacksonville dressed in a lovely cream colored silk, very handsome, Princess style, trimmed heavily with lace and flowers, pink and white and very fine, gold jewelry, I think perhaps cameos. I know she has both but forget which she wore. Miss Maude Turney, third Brides maid, Wint's partner wore deep rose color heavily puffed and trimmed with tarlton and flowers, her hair dark and long, had simple flowers, pink silk stockings with white slippers with pink lacings, no jewelry but a beautiful pin in her sash, a lovely bouquet, presented, of course, by her attendant, young Lippencott. Little Miss Hallie Elliot, Fourth Brides maid, dressed just like Maud, only in blue instead of pink, her escort Master Birch Warren, cousin of the bride.
About eight oclock, we were now packed like sardines (such a croud) the band played the wedding march, and two young gentlemen as ushers, made a path, by moving the people, and came in, followed by the Minister, [the Rev. F. M. Gregg] (Episcopal) in his long white Surplice, with a boy also in white, carrying his prayer book, handkerchief, and so forth.
The two ushers stood at one side, the Minister turned around with his boy and Wint and his Lady came in first, marching in elegant time and splendid order, Wint placing his Lady by the side of the Brother, who gave the Bride away. Birch came next in good order and placed his little Lady opposite. Right behind came the other two Groomsmen and other Brides maids, one couple stepping to the right, the other to the left, and between
423them right under an arch, beautifully decorated with evergreens and white flowers, under a perfectly lovely marriage Bell covered with flowers, with a splendid camelia for a clapper, stood the Bride and Groom. All was hushed as the ceremony began.
When he asked "Who gives away this bride?" Mrs. Turney's oldest brother [William M. Warren of Berlin] stepped forward (previously drilled by Alice Chandler) and gave away the bride, the Minister took the ring from the Groom, handed it to the First Brides maid, Miss Warren, who stepped forward, kneeled before the Bride, and placed it on her finger, after which the Minister proceeded with the ceremony and prayer, after which he congratulated the couple, then the Mother, when Young Lippencott took the sister up and they congratulated the couple, then they stood in their places until that great croud went through the congratulations, when the Bridal party marched in to supper, just as they came in. Wint did not have to get new clothes, only necktie, gloves and handkerchief.
After supper they had the Bridal Quadrille. Little Miss Hallie Elliot is a perfect fairy for grace not only in dancing but every act, she is one of the finest readers and recites often for company, and charms every one, she takes lessons in elocution, which is now the rage for young ladies particularly who have no musical taste. They learn to read and recite in public instead, and in this way make entertainments very pleasant and often very elevating.
But to the wedding. After the supper the croud was so great that we soon left for home, went to see the presents, she had about fifty, all elegant, nearly all ornamental. The Groomsmen and ushers gave her a clock, bronze and onyx, with companion month ornaments. . . .
The Bride did not go away but the Bridesmaids and Grooms men nearly all stayed at the house; they had dinners, breakfasts and parties all the rest of the week, until they were glad enough Saturday, to go home. Charles and I had complement after complement for both Alice and Wint we were quite pleased, considering their youth, they did very well. Alice was simply dressed in a purple and white striped silk, I gave her, made up with white, a few flowers were all her ornaments. . . .
I cannot write you about the table, for it was too much, four large pyramids, one of different colored jellies, one of oranges with the peel on, fancifully cut, also grapes of different colors, one of sliced oranges built up and a fine veil of candy threads over it. (I have had them for parties and they are lovely,) the other of candy and macaroons, cakes were so high and large they had to have stands of their own to hold them, very finely ornamented. They had everything you could possibly get at this season. I did not eat any for the croud was so great we had to stand up, you know I can keep moving better than stand on one foot long, and hold a plate and cup of coffee.
I wore my black silk trimmed with velvet, with cream colored flowers mixed with cardinal, hair french twist and puffs. Wint said I looked "horrid," others thought not, so it is. Charles wore black dress suit with pearl satin necktie and gloves to match mine, so you see you know the full account.
YOUR LOVING SISTER