Friday, June 12, 2020

2020 Prompt - Wedding - Ernest W. Putman & Cora E. Wilson

Ancestor – Ernest W. Putman & Cora E. Wilson
My Great Grandparents

 Nancy Simmons to Paul Simmons to June Putman to Ernest W. Putman & Cora E. Wilson

Cora E. Wilson Putman & Ernest W. Putman - photo taken about 1950

Ernest Wentworth Putman and Cora Elizabeth Wilson were married June 26, 1894.[1] Ernest was born in Henning, Vermilion County, Illinois and Cora was born in a nearby town of Bismarck in Vermilion County. We make assumptions when looking for a marriage record that the couple probably married in the county, they grew up in. As I searched the marriage records in the Vermilion county courthouse in Danville, it became obvious that this was not the case. So where did the wedding take place?

Ernest was from Henning, Illinois and  Cora was from Bismarck, Illinois

Geographically Vermilion County, Illinois is mid-state on the eastern border of Illinois and Indiana. Indiana has two counties that border Vermilion County, Warren County and Vermillion County. As a researcher, when you cannot find a record where your ancestor lived, you look in a neighboring county. So, I searched the two neighboring counties and found no marriage record.  About this time Ancestry added a collection of Indiana marriages, 1800-1941 and there was Earnest Putman and Cora Wilson marriage recorded in Fountain County, Indiana.[2] Fountain county is just east of Warren and Vermilion counties.        

The marriage license was issued June 26, 1894 and the marriage was performed the same day.  The wedding happened in Indiana!  Yes, when I research in Michigan, couples head to Angola, Indiana to get married, in Louisville, Kentucky they head to Clarksville, Indiana and in Vermilion County, Illinois they head to Covington, Indiana in Fountain County to get married! Why you ask? Well in Indiana you can obtain the marriage license and get married the same day. In surrounding states, you must get the license one day and wait till the next day to get married.  Aha! Ernest and Cora wanted to get married right away as did many other couples.

The Fountain County courthouse is in the town of Covington, Indiana and that is where Ernest and Cora probably headed early Tuesday morning June 26, 1894 in their horse and buggy to make the 27-mile trip. The license was issued by the county clerk, F.W. Macoughtry and they were married by Asa Osborn, Justice of the Peace.[3]

Marriage License and Certificate for Ernest W Putman & Cora E Wilson
Fountain County, Indiana

Indiana had a marriage registration process. As Ernest and Cora applied in person at the courthouse for a marriage license, information was obtained related to both of them. (Genealogist love this kind of a document. So much information!) They were asked their full name, place of residence, age, color, occupation of groom, place of birth, father's name, mother's name, place of marriage, by whom married, date of marriage and record number.

Marriage Registration Part A -  Ernest W Putman, resides: Henning, Ill., age 22, color: white, occupation: engineering,
place of birth: Henning, Ill, father: Joseph Putman

Marriage Registration Part B -
Ernest Putman's mother: Elizabeth Slusser;  BRIDE - Cora E Wilson, residence: Bismarck, Ill, age: 24,  color: white
Marriage Registration Part C-
Birth: Bismarck, Ill, father: Wm Wilson, mother: Katie Deck, place of marriage: Covington, by Asa Osborn, June 26, 1894
What is interesting in this document about Ernest and Cora is that Ernest states he is 22 and Cora states she is 24.[4] Ernest Putman was born October 5, 1875[5] and Cora was born June 15, 1871[6] so on June 24, 1894 Ernest would have been 18 years old and Cora would have just turned 23. Interesting that the court did not ask them for their birthdates. So, Ernest is stating he is four years older than he is and Cora is stating she is one year older. Is it possible that both Ernest and Cora forgot how old they were in their excitement of getting married?

Wedding Picture - Cora E (Wilson) Putman and Ernest W. Putman 

We assume the picture of Ernest and Cora Wilson Putman was taken on their wedding day.  Ernest seems to be dressed in his best suit and Cora in her lovely dress. Cora is holding a document we assume is their marriage certificate. I have no idea if the original document exists. And if it does, what family member would possess it. There are no markings on the photo to state were the photo was taken. Was it taken in Covington, Indiana or in Danville, Illinois, or Cora's hometown of Bismarck?

1900 Ross Twp., Vermilion County, Illinois Federal Census 

The next document I have of Ernest and Cora is the 1900 Ross Township, Vermilion County, US Federal Census[7] taken 6 years after their marriage. They are living in Ross Township in Vermilion County in the area that was incorporated in 1903 as the village of Henning. I believe they are living in the home that Ernest bought about the time he married as it is stated in the census that he owns his home and it is mortgaged. Ernest and Cora lived in that house for the next 70 years. This census states Ernest was born October 1875 and Cora was born June 1871 and that they have been married six years. Also listed are their first two children; Hazel who is five and Beulah who is three. My grandmother, June Elizabeth, was not born till 1902. Ernest's occupation is listed as a merchant and he owned and managed the Henning Hardware and was the village postmaster. Being a merchant runs strong in our family DNA.

Cora & Ernest Putman about 1919 - 25th Wedding Anniversary

As a family researcher you look for the marriage records of your ancestors, hope for a picture of the couple on their wedding day and then try to find as much as you can about their lives. Ernest and Cora celebrated their 25th Anniversary June 26, 1919, their 50th Anniversary in 1944 in Henning.[8] 

50th Wedding Anniversary - June 26, 1944
Cora & Ernest Putman (Notice they state the marriage took place in Bismarck!)

They celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary at my aunt Ruth and Uncle Wally's home in 1954[9] and their last anniversary celebration was in 1960 at a family reunion when they celebrated 66 years of marriage.  Ernest died March 8, 1961[10] and Cora died March 1, 1968. [11]

61st Wedding Anniversary - June 1955
Ernest W. and Cora E. Putman

[1] Indiana, Marriage Index, 1800-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.
[2] Ibid
[3] Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007, FHL 4540460, IN Circuit Court, Fountain Co., V. 11, page 52, image 27.
[4], Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007, Marriage returns, Circuit Court, Fountain County, IN, Mar 1891-1896, page 23, image 68-70.
[8] Commercial-News, Danville, Illinois.1944
[9] Herald-News, Joliet, Illinois, June 1955.

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