"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Because this blog is nothing if not romantic, here's a story from the "Salt Lake Herald," October 1, 1881:
One of the most romantic marriages on record took place in this city [Louisville, KY] yesterday by which Benjamin Ferguson, a stonecutter, was united to Mrs. Amelia Wagner. The story of the courtship and marriage is a singular one and plainly shows in what strange channels love will run.

Several months ago the helpmate of Mrs. Wagner died and his remains were buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in the family burying ground. Time passed swiftly by and after daily visits to the cemetery Mrs. Wagner became convinced that a monument reared over the mound that covered her deceased helpmate would mach improve the looks of things thereabouts. So she had a plain marble slab erected over the grave. This remained there for sometime and Mrs. Wagner resolved that she would have some inscription carved upon the monument setting forth the good qualities of the deceased and leaving some memento of her affection. She looked around for someone to carve the inscription and at length Ferguson was employed and he commenced his task three days ago.

He began work early in the morning and during the day the disconsolate widow came to the cemetery to watch the progress of the work. The stonecutter was very much interested in the widow all the more from the fact that she had a very handsome face and he thought it his duty to console her. He paused frequently between the strokes of his hammer and offered her words condolence, at the same time intimating to her that there was yet a bright page left in the book of life for her. By evening quite an intimacy was established between the two, the widow thinking what a nice fellow the stonecutter was and wondering if there was not some way besides money in which she could repay him for his labors. On the other hand, he came to the conclusion that the most solid comfort he could offer her was by offering to take the place of the deceased husband.

He returned to his work the next day and the widow also came. Matters were renewed upon a more solid footing than before and by night a bargain had been made that the widow was to pay him for his labors by bestowing upon him her hand and he was to occupy the place in her heart left vacant by the death of her husband. On the third day after their meeting yesterday there was a quiet wedding and the two were made one. The inscription on the monument remains half completed, just as he left it on the second day. He will probably renew his labors on the epitaph as soon as his honeymoon is over.
I like that cautious "probably" at the end. In any case, I doubt any further work on the monument was necessary. It probably crashed into a heap from the force of the late Mr. Wagner rolling over.


  1. Well, I suppose their meeting and courtship was no stranger than many another, but they could have waited until the moment was a bit more...tactful. Still, one wonders whether, in the days when women pretty much had to marry, and marry young, whether husbands and wives were not usually more helpmates (as the newspaper states twice) than anything else. In which case, I can't really blame a widow for looking for someone she likes, as well as respects. But really, while standing over the husband's grave??

    1. On Twitter earlier today, someone reminded me about Percy and Mary Shelley at her mother's grave...so I suppose this story could have been worse.

  2. She must have missed her husband greatly if it took her two whole days to get over him.

  3. It wasn't two days, it was months before she decided to get a stone.


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