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History Monday: Married in a Buggy

Were Your Ancestors Married in a Buggy?

By Mike Watson

Marriage in Kentucky is different today compared to decades ago. Until modern times, a blood test was required, as well as a waiting period. Some, wishing get ahead of the proverbial game, would elope to Tennessee or Indiana to marry sooner. Many form our area headed south to Byrdtown or Livingston, Tennessee, or across the Ohio River to Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Here is something a bit different. Some couples would drive to town, follow the prescribed rituals, and go see the preacher or judge for the know-tying. The following are a few notes on marriages from Adair County's past, culled from the pages of the Adair County News, early in the past century.

The couples presented here, as well as many others, were married while seated in their buggies:


  • Last Thursday Mr. Sam Hale and Miss Ortella Darnell, a popular couple of Kimble, Kentucky, drove to Jamestown and, while seated in their buggy, in front of the courthouse, Eld. A.H. Baugh, in his usual and impressive manner, made them husband and wife. 1 August 1900.

  • Mr. John L. Gowen, a prominent young man of LaRue County, and Miss Kate Townsend, daughter of Mr. J.C. Townsend, of Milltown, Adair County, were married upon the public square in this city last Friday forenoon. The couple drove from Milltown to Columbia, procured license, and while seated in their buggy the ceremony was performed by Judge J.W. Butler. 22 August 1900.

  • Last Thursday Mr. Isaac Willin and Miss Hattie Montgomery were married in this city. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Jesse L. Murrell at the district parsonage. The couple were seated in their buggy when the rites were solemnized. 12 December 1900.

  • Last Sunday afternoon a party of eighteen ladies and gentlemen reached Columbia in buggies from the White Oak section. From the public square they drove to the residence of Rev. W.B. Cave, two of the party desiring to be married. A knock at the door soon brought the minister to the front, and while Mr. Jas. P. Conover and Miss May Williams were seated in their buggy, the solemn and impressive ceremony which unites two hearts was pronounced, after which all the crowd started homeward. 3 April 1901.

  • Mr. Wm. Rigney, of Green River, and Miss Lillian Ingram, of Cane Valley, were united in matrimony last Thursday, the Glorious Fourth, Judge Butler officiating. The attendants were Mr. G.W. Grasham and Miss Sallie Bailey. The marriage vows were taken by the contracting parties while seated in their buggy in front of the courthouse door and immediately after were received in the parlors of the Marcum Hotel. Mr. Rigney is a well-to-do farmer, a gentleman and a good citizen. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F.I. Ingram and a popular young lady of her section. 10 July 1901.

  • Last Sunday afternoon about 6 o'clock, Mr. Kelley Bell and Miss Lillie Hurt drove to the parsonage and, while seated in their buggy, were married by Rev. B.M. Currie. The groom is a son of Mr. John Bell and the bride is a daughter of Mr. Larue Hurt. For the present, the couple will reside at the home of the groom's parents, this city. But few people knew that the contracting parties were contemplating marriage. 29 June 1910.

  • Married While Seated in a Buggy--Last Wednesday afternoon, about 1 o'clock, Mr. Brent Marcum and Miss Effie Smith, both of Wayne County, arrived in Columbia in a buggy. They drove to the courthouse door, Mr. Marcum alighting. He entered the county clerk's office, procured marriage licenses, returned to the buggy and seated himself by the side of Miss Smith. Judge N.H. Moss was notified to appear and say the ceremony which he did in a few well-chosen words. The couple immediately left on their return to Wayne County. 10 August 1910.

  • On Wednesday, December 7th, Miss Fannie Farris and Mr. Arthur O'banion, drove to Cane Valley and were happily married while seated in their buggy, by Rev. W.S. Dudgeon. The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Farris, this county, and a very popular lady. The groom is a son of Mr. Luther O'banion, Green County, and is a prosperous young farmer. We wish them a long and prosperous life. 21 December 1910.

  • James Garrison and Mattie Pallow were married in their buggy in front of the Baptist parsonage, Sunday at 3 pm, D.H. Howerton officiating. 6 September 1911.

  • Married on the Lindsey-Wilson Hill--Last Sunday night about 7:30 o'clock, Mr. Jesse Murrell and Miss Mary Willis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. June Willis, were married, while seated in their buggy, by Rev. J.S. Chandler, in front of said minister's home, on Lindsey-Wilson Hill. Several couples witnessed the rites, which were solemn and impressive. The ceremony over, the couple and a few friends drove to the residence of the groom's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Murrell, where an elegant repast awaited them. 2 September 1914.

  • Married in Their Buggy--Last Wednesday afternoon, Eld. F.J. Barger married, in front of his residence, Mr. G.C. Reece, of near Jamestown, and Miss Mary Roy, whose home was beyond White Oak, this county. The groom is a son of Mr. Sam Reece, the bride a daughter of Mrs. Silas Roy. The couple will reside near Jamestown. They were seated in their buggy when the rites were solemnized. 2 December 1914.

  • Last Thursday afternoon Mr. Sam Murrell, son of Mr. and Mrs. S.H. Murrell, who live near Clear Spring, and Miss Nannie Bailey, of the same neighborhood, drove to Columbia and, while seated in their buggy, were married by Rev. J.S. Chandler. The groom is a popular young farmer and the bride a popular young woman of the vicinity, and she will be greatly missed from social gatherings. 30 December 1914.

  • Married Seated in Their Buggy--Last Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Wyatt Conover, son of Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Conover, and Miss Ila Epperson, daughter of Mr. T.J. Epperson, surprised their friends by driving to the residence of Rev. W.R. Wagoner, who joined the couple in wedlock while they were seated in their buggy. The groom is a salesman in Barger Brothers store, and has many friends... The bride has been a popular school teacher and is a favorite in the neighborhood where she was reared. Miss Virginia Conover, cousin of the groom, and Mr. Will Ed Squires were the attendants. It is our understanding that the couple will at once go to housekeeping in Columbia. 28 June 1916.

  • On Christmas Day, Miss Nora Rogers and Mr. Ben Bailey were married while seated in their buggy by Rev. F.J. Barger in front of the minister's residence. The groom is a farmer and he and his bride will reside in Adair County. 3 January 1917.


This story was posted on 2020-05-18 11:21:27
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Married in a Buggy



2020-05-18 - Coburg, KY - Photo courtesy Ann Curtis.
Benjamin Henry Heskamp and Myrtie St. Clair Johnson on their Wedding Day, December 18, 1901, Coburg, KY.

Ann writes, "My grandparents were married in a buggy. Parents of David Heskamp on their way to be married by Bro. Dudgeon in Cane Valley. They did not not get out of the buggy for the ceremony."

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