Weddings in the “Old Times”

Home weddings were different from the usual stylized church ones. This was the case when Florence S. Dale of Poultney Street was married to Edward Clark of Poultney. Florence was the daughter of Frederick S. Dale who brought the silk industry to Whitehall. She had lived in Meyers Castle on West Hill when her father operated the silk mill and was used to ostentation.

Like the Terrytown boys and their social club, the young ladies of the community formed such a club called the Theta Delta Club. Unlike the “Boys”, however, their aim was to assist the first member to “embark on the sea of matrimony with every aid in their power.”

Miss Dale was the first to marry. It followed that the group attended the bride on the eve of her wedding and for several days before in decorating the large parlors of her parents with festoons of evergreen, palms, potted plants, ferns and flowers.

At the end of the south parlor they erected an enclosure to be used for the ceremony. At the top was placed a large white bell of white flowers and on the back a ground of evergreens with the initials “D. C.” also in white flowers. A white cord and tassel marked the entrance. From the gas fixtures in the center of the room to its corners were ropes of evergreen, as well as along the stair railing. Plants and flowers around the room added to the festive look.

A different musical during the ceremony was the singing of the entire musical score of the “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s “Lohengrin”. This was followed by the music of the Episcopal Church boys’ choir under the direction of L. D. Tefft and Herman Sullivan the accompanist. The era in which this wedding took place can be recognized by the names of the boys in the choir: Harry Dalton, Kenneth Newcomb, Timothy Inglee, Buell Ames, William Kelly, and David Inglee.

Fifty guests attended the wedding. The bridesmaids were four in number besides the maid of honor: Clara Bascom, Alena Manville, Katherine Burdett and Libbie Carr. The maid of honor was Lulu Dale. The bride carried a large bouquet of white roses which was made up of five separate bouquets containing emblems that were to show the fortunes of the bridesmaids. (Were all married next?) Master Dalton then sang DeKoven’s “O! Promise Me” and after congratulations a well prepared and well served collation was served in the dining room decorated with white and gold ribbons and flowers.

Usually the account of a wedding ended with a long list of the wedding gifts to the couple with the names of the donors. They were omitted in this account or perhaps the scrapbook maker ran out of space or time.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Times – August 8, 1984

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