Casefile Clues

17 December 2013

A Pretty Blond in a Blue Dress Gets Married

Seventy-eight years ago today my grandparents were married in Keithsburg, Illinois--17 December 1935. I've always thought that was a cold day to drive off and get married.

This newspaper clipping from the Mendon Post-Dispatch contains a brief write-up of the marriage. Unfortunately when I made the original copy of this years ago, I neglected to include the specific date of the newspaper--I won't make that mistake again. The only comment I wrote on it was "December of 1935."


I asked, but my Grandmother never told me why they went to Keithsburg to get married. It was an eighty mile drive in an Illinois winter, was not the county seat, and not where either of them had relatives. I asked Grandma about it--the location of their marriage was never a secret. Grandma's only comment was that "your Grandpa just decided to go," or something to that effect. The comment never made any sense to me as everything I've heard about my Grandpa Neill indicated he never did anything on any sort of whim. But if there's any reason for the going, I'll never know. Grandpa died when I was six months old and Grandma died in 1994.

They certainly didn't go to keep in from family or to keep the wedding license "out of the paper." Putting the item in the local paper seems to indicate that the marriage was not a big secret. As Grandma always told it, Grandpa went back to living with his family near Stillwell and Grandma went back to living with her family near Loraine. That seems consistent with the newspaper account.

I don't have any wedding pictures of Grandpa and Grandma and was lucky that the newspaper item even mentioned Grandma's dress.

This picture is the closest one I have to the time they married. I'm not certain when it was taken, but it was taken in West Point, Illinois, sometime after my Grandpa Neill's brother Herschel married in Texas in the 1940s.

If I had not known already, the newspaper account would have told me that Grandma's father was deceased by the time she was married. The locations would have come in handy too. It's a little difficult to imagine Grandma as a blonde--I only remember her with gray hair.

Sometimes minor secrets get taken to the grave. But you can bet I'll be better about keeping track of the newspaper's date in the future.