Casefile Clues

19 December 2011

Grandpa and Grandma Married 76 years

Notice of "Trautretter-Niell" Nuptials from the Mendon [Illinois] Dispatch
My grandparents (Cecil and Ida [Trautvetter] Neill) would have been married 76 years on 17 December 2011. The story was they eloped in Keithsburg, Illinois (the antithesis of a Gretna Green if ever there was one) and returned home to live with their parents until the spring when they would set up housekeeping in the spring of 1936.I'm not certain how long they lived near Stillwell as they also lived near Plymouth before moving to Carthage shortly before my father was born.

Grandma never told me why they went to Keithsburg to get married, only that Grandpa just got it in his head to go up there. That never made sense to me as from what I was told of my Grandpa Neill doing things on a whim wasn't quite his way. Grandma did tell me that they were chiavari'd by that night--but the newspaper only mentions a wedding  dinner.

Grandma told me that she and Grandpa split a bottle of pop and a Snickers bar to celebrate after the ceremony. Times were hard and they didn't have much money. To be honest I didn't even think Snickers bars existed in 1935, but Wikipedia indicates that they did.

It's hard to imagine Grandma as blond, but I'm certain she wasn't always gray-haired. They most likely took an old farm truck or car to Keithsburg. Driving from Loraine (where Grandma was living when she got married), to Keithsburg in 1935 in the middle of December must have been a fun trip.