If there was time travel back 100 years in Kearney, Nebraska, the wedding of Edwin Everhart Squires and Annie Marie Finch in June of 1898 would be the event I would have enjoyed witnessing.
John M. Finch and his sons, Charles B. and Ed B., migrated from Dallas City, Illinois to Kearney in 1879. They opened a general mercantile store called the Empire Store at 2104-06 Central Avenue. Both sons became active in the local affairs of the new City of Kearney. Charles was elected to three terms as mayor in 1887-1890. Ed was a charter member of the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department which was organized in 1883, and was a dedicated fireman for many years.
John's wife, Libby, and daughters, Laura and Annie Marie; Charles' wife, Mary Elizabeth, and daughters, Edith and Blanche, all came to Kearney a few years after the father and sons. All lived in the family home at 2120 3rd Avenue. Edith and Blanche were close to Annie in age and the three girls did many things together. Annie had a horse and carriage and an assumed activity could be shopping for a new hat. The Millinery was owned and operated by a fellow Congregationalist, Mrs. Mary Ann Squires.
James H. Squires and wife, Mary Ann, with their son, Edwin, and daughter, Maude, had migrated from Delhi, Iowa, via Lawrence, Kansas and Tobias, Nebraska. They had heard that Kearney would be a good climate for Jim's health. They left Edwin at the University of Kansas and arrived in Kearney in 1891. When Jim passed away in 1893, Mary Ann and her daughter, Maude, chose to stay in Kearney and opened the Millinery. The shop was prosperous, providing an education for both children. Mrs. Squires had two rules in the Millinery: no gossip should come out of the shop, and there would be no dating with traveling salesmen.
After Edwin had received a law degree from the University of Nebraska, he settled in Kearney to practice law with N. P. McDonald. It was probably during this time that he became acquainted with Miss Annie Marie Finch, possibly at the Congregational Church. Both families were very active members, and Miss Finch taught Sunday School.
A courtship evolved. Even though her family called her "Anna" Ed would call her "Annie", and, because her brother was Ed, "Annie" would call Edwin "Ted". The wedding date was set. Annie and her nieces probably visited her future mother-in-law, Mary Ann.
The Squires home was a modest one at 117 West Lincoln Way. The living room had a fireplace. On the mantel was an elaborate brass clock with a statue of George Washington - a castoff of a pioneer family lightening their wagonload. Aside it was a fragrant ginger jar. Across the room was a piano which Mary Ann played, and on which her future granddaughter (my mother) would practice. Prominently displayed would be her father's big family Bible and a red velvet photograph album Edwin had received upon graduation. Mary Ann would greet her guests in her best dress adorned with a Battenburg lace collar that she had made.
In a reciprocal visit Mary Ann, and possibly daughter Maude, would likely be served coffee in demitasse cups of white china, and cake from a white china plate depicting a scene of Dallas City, Illinois. The wedding gifts were probably prominently displayed. Among them was a complete set of Haviland china with a soft pink carnation design, a cut glass water jug with matching glasses, the Rogers silverware, and an original snow scene pastel. Annie Marie might just model her wedding dress of black silk. The fitted bodice had small pink rose buds embroidered on it. The square yoke was bound with black 1 1/2 inch pleats. It had a high collar and mutton chop sleeves. The rather full skirt had a scalloped hemline with kick pleats that allowed a soft pink gather to show with each step.
The wedding day finally arrived. The ceremony would take place in the Finch home at eleven o'clock in the morning. The Congregational minister, the Reverend J. P. Burling would officiate. The wedding was a very quiet affair. It was held in the parlor and was witnessed by a few intimate friends and relatives. The parlor had been decorated in white. Edith Finch was her aunt's attendant, and Ed B. Finch would be the groom's attendant. The oldest brother, Charles, would give the bride away. After the vows Edwin would slip a plain gold ring on Annie's finger, inscribed on the inside "Edwin & Annie June 15th, 1898."
Following the ceremony a wedding breakfast was served in the dining room, which had been decorated in pink, after which the couple left on the train for a trip to Denver.
Announcements sent to relatives and friends read as follows:*
Such a gala
affair I would love to have witnessed on June 15, 1898 - one hundred years
ago - the wedding of Ed and Annie Marie Squires, my maternal grandparents!
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