You may have noticed that several of my posts start with a question. If we as family historians start with a focused research question our time spent can be much more productive than if we let the “wind blow us here and there.”
It is super exciting to find a new ancestor in our tree but that can’t be the outcome each time we sit down to research. It can be just as exciting filling in the missing pieces of our ancestors’ lives. It is through finding these missing pieces that we can really come to a knowledge of who they were and how that can affect our lives.
Here is where it gets fun… you can ask any question you want. It can be silly or it can be serious. The sky’s the limit. I already knew when Carrie Herbert Rice got married. The fateful day was December 27, 1894, in Richmond, Virginia. You may wonder what more could I want to know. Well, I wanted to know if Carrie was married in her home, at the courthouse, or in a church.
Let’s not forget the groom. His name was Benjamin Thomas Pillow. I used my favorite search engine (google) and entered “Carrie Herbert Rice” Richmond Virginia December 1894. I knew from experience to not include Benjamin because his last name is problematic. (That is a post for another day.) My results were few but “right on the money.” There is a small mention of the 1894 impending nuptials in The Times (Richmond Virginia). This can be found at: http://virginiachronicle.com/cgi-bin/virginia?a=d&d=T18941221.1.5# . But the write-up of the wedding the next day and published in The Richmond Dispatch included a wealth of details. This is the link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038614/1894-12-28/ed-1/seq-3/ . The Chronicling America website is a great resource for digital newspapers.
This is what ran in The Richmond Dispatch:
A Pretty Evening Wedding
There was a very pretty wedding at the Laurel Street Methodist church at 9 o’clock last night, the bride being Miss Carrie Herbert Rice, of this city and the groom Mr. Benjamin T. Pillow, formerly of Richmond but now in the sash and blind business in Blacksburg, S. C. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Travis J. Taylor, pastor of the church. Messrs. Luther Jones, O. J. Thompson, F. L. Johnson, H. H. Fergusson, J. P. Jones, and John Clarke acted as ushers. They were in full-dress and wore boutonnieres of bridal roses. The bride was attired in a travelling suit of brown covert cloth and carried a bouquet of bridal roses. The couple were tendered a reception last night at the home of the groom’s parents, no 315 West Marshall Street and will leave on Sunday night for their future home, in Orangeburg. They will stop on their way South at High Point, N. C. where they will visit friends. The bride is a daughter of Mrs. A. E. Rice at no 10 South Laurel Street.
What did finding this one record do? It created a whole new list of focused research questions.
Was it typical to be married at night in the late 1800’s?
Were Luther Jones, O. J. Thompson, F. L. Johnson, H. H. Fergusson, J. P. Jones, and John Clarke family members?
What does a traveling suit made of covert cloth look like?
What is the history of 315 West Marshall Street and 10 South Laurel Street?
Can I find the new couple living in Orangeburg S. C.?
Why were no bride’s attendants mentioned?
The photo at the top of this post is a picture of current day Pleasant’s Park. This is the same corner where the Laurel Street Methodist Church stood until the late 1960’s when it was lost to fire. If you would like to see the church in the early 1900’s visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/deadrichmond/3534621304 .
What question will you ask?