Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine Celebration - An Enduring Marriage

Family Valentines from 1945 and 1946

Long time Followers may remember that last year on Valentine's Day I wrote a post detailing my maternal grandparent's 77 year marriage. Take a look if you'd like, the link is underlined above. That post was so well received, I decided to write about another enduring marriage.

Three Generations of the Upton Family
Back row: Elsie Margaret Greenwell Upton and Otto Dick Upton
Front row: Nellie Carter Upton with Margaret Annettia Upton on her lap, and James Monroe Upton
This time the featured couple is my maternal grandmother's paternal grandparents - James Monroe Upton and Ellen (Nellie) Augusta Carter. My grandmother is the somewhat blurry baby proudly held front and center!  Nellie and James came clear out to Oregon from Pennsylvania to have a look-see at their newest grandchild!  

James Monroe Upton and Nellie Carter Upton - undated - perhaps 1909 which would be their 25th wedding anniversary.

James was born in October 1862 and Nellie in August of 1863 - the day her father enlisted in the Union Army to fight in the Civil War! The couple married in October of 1884.

James Monroe Upton and Nellie Carter Upton - undated - perhaps 1909 which would be their 25th wedding anniversary.

James was a farmer in Warren County, PA.  Both James and Nellie had large extended families in the area. They had five children - one girl and four boys.  My great-grandfather Otto was the 3rd child.  He was the rebel and left at a young age coming out to the Pacific NW for work in logging camps. By the time my grandmother was born the family rift had been healed and his parents came to Oregon to visit the young family.

 James Monroe Upton and Nellie Carter Upton - 1934 
James and Nellie were married for just under 57 years as James passed in August of 1943.  In 1953, as a young teenager, my mother and her grandmother, Elsie Greenwell Upton traveled to  Pennsylvania and visited Nellie.  My mother remembers seeing the couple's ornate marriage certificate hung with place of pride on a wall of the farm house.

Here's a newspaper article which details the couple's 50th wedding celebration:

Warren County Times-Mirror 1934
"Warren County Couple Celebrates Golden Wedding Anniversary With Large Attendance of Relatives"

"The picturesque home of Mr. and Mrs. Monroe Upton, Pittsfield surrounded by brilliant autumn foliage was the scene of a very happy gathering Sunday, all of whom arrived early and stayed late in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Upton who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.

Mrs. Upton was Ellen Augusta Carter of Bear Lake before her marriage, and Mr. Upton was a Garland boy.  When Ellen was twenty-one and Monroe twenty-two, they were united in marriage on the bridegroom's 22nd birthday, October 10, 1884, at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Carter of Bear Lake.   

It was a double wedding ceremony as Mrs. Upton's sister, Addie Jane was also married to Peter Yeager at the same service.  The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Yeager were asphyxiated by escaping gas in their home in Washington, D.C. eighteen years ago, brought saddened memories keenly felt by the other couple, who have stood the test of fifty years of partnership.

With the exception of a few months all of the fifty years have been spent in the vicinity of Garland.  The bride of half a century greeted her friends and relatives becomingly gowned in a rich autumn shade of brown.  

They have been blessed with five children, all of who are living.  Three of them spent Sunday in the old home, E.P. Upton, of Erie, Ross Upton, of Jamestown and Robert, who with his wife and 
little son lives at home.  The other two, Mrs. George Adams and Otto Upton live in the state of Oregon and because of the distance could be present only in spirit.  They also have seven grand children to gladden their declining years.

There were seven guests present who witnessed the marriage fifty years ago.  They were the bride's three brothers, Gardner Cater and Lamont Carter of Bear Lake and Joe Carter of Pine Valley; two sisters, Mrs. Kate Mullin, Pine Valley and Mrs. Clara Loomis of Ashville, N.Y.; two nieces, Mrs. Mary Bratt, Celoron and Mary Parker Price of Garland.  Mrs. Price was a small child, possibly the youngest person present at the double wedding of her mother's sisters fifty years ago.

The guests all came with well laden baskets which added to the ice cream and other provisions provided by those honored, made a bountiful dinner.  They were the recipients of several lovely gifts and greetings, also a purse of money and three beautiful wedding cakes in gold and white, one a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Upton, another from Blanche Fern and third from Mrs. Seth Holmes.

Among those present were.... ( A LARGE LIST OF RELATIVES follows)...

On Wednesday evening, October 10, friends from Garland and vicinity arrived at the Upton home to offer their congratulations and leave their good wishes.

Mr. and Mrs. Upton are both in good health.  They seem to have been given much strength from the Everlasting Hills and their acres of growing things they love.  Mr. Upton is sturdy and active going about his farm duties as usual.  His bride of fifty yester-years is a charming little lady endowed with many graces of heart and manner.  They are bravely and confidently facing the sunset of life and their many friends and relatives rejoice with them."

Nellie Carter Upton 1934

In late October 1934, Nellie wrote a letter to her daughter Olivia Upton Adams out in Oregon and discussed in detail the golden anniversary celebration. Nellie was a free form speller and did not think much of punctuation.  I have transcribe the letter to retain its original feel and tone.

"Oct - 30 - 1934

Dear Olivia and George
I have took this Afternoon to Write a letter to you & I hope it wont give you heart failure for I know I have been Very Slow to Write but it Seams hard to Write When there are So Many talking around & We have had So Much to do for the last two Summers last Summer it Was Reunion this Summer Golden Anniversary And We had aplenty Sunday My Side of the house came & celebrated that Was the Sunday before the Rill day that Was on the Seventh & Wednesday was the tenth the Rill day & in the Evening our Neighbours & Friends around here came there were thirty Five here So you See We couldent Never Forget our Golden Wedding Anniversary Yes the boys & their Family Were here We got Some lovely Gifts From Folks & quite a Purse of Money & the Neighbors Gave Me A Bowl of Gold Fish it is a large one Eight Fish in it & Shells & all the Fixtures that Go With it it is Just lovely & allso a Purse of Money So I think We Shared Very Well...
...So Will Say Good By With lots of love & Best Wishes
Write When Ever you can & as Often as you can..." 

It is amazing how a local newspaper article and a letter can 'flesh out' family history!

I hope you enjoyed this Valentine post.

Now I'm off to count some birds!


Margaret said...

You are so lucky to have these pieces of family history. Just wonderful! I enjoyed it! Happy Valentine's Day!

Lizzy said...

Interesting and so glad you shared. It is a treasure to have these pictures and facts.

Catherine said...

Loved reading this post! It is great that you have such a great piece of family history!

Vickie said...

Fabulous Beth! I love the statement "They are bravely and confidently facing the sunset of life". =)

Chris said...

What a lovely post.

CalamityJr said...

Thank you for sharing their beautiful story.

Ann at Beadlework. said...

An enjoyable post Beth, it's lovely to look back and reflect on how things were so different and yet love never changes.

Anna van Schurman said...

Fabulous story! My favorite part of the article was "They have been blessed with five children, all of who are living." I love that they specify that. It might go unremarked today (though surely if someone had died it would be mentioned.) Sign of the times!

Carol said...

How wonderful to have such a detailed family history, Beth--thanks for sharing their wonderful story :)

Pam in IL said...

Warms my heart reading about your family and the Golden Anniversary! Such a treasure of memories you have.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Pondside said...

That was such a treat to read - and I read the first one as well.
My parents are with me right now, from the east. This year they will celebrate 63 years of marriage. They are a living love story.

Maggee said...

Great story! Love it all! Thanks for sharing again!

Shebafudge said...

Oh what a lovely tale of a long and hopefully happy marriage. Thank you for sharing it. xx

Barb said...

This was another great post for Valentine's Day. You are so fortunate to have as much information as you do about your family.

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

That is quite a family history, and what long marriages--77 years and 50 years--that's really neat, and a perfect post for Valentine's Day. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Andrea said...

Fascinating, a great post.