Prince William and Kate Middleton were married in a story book wedding broadcast live instantly all around the world. Such was not the case in a few Laurens County weddings over the years. They were strange. And, some were down right weird. Some were funny. Others were thrilling. And some, were utterly dismaying. In this month of June when brides reign, here are a few stories about some of our less than royal weddings.

A DOG IS MAN'S BEST FRIEND - Collier Walker was desperately in love with Annie Leonard. Invitations to the gala ceremony at the Christian Church were mailed. Every possible arrangement was made. The groom's best friend went to the courthouse and purchased the license. The bride's friend's dresses were tailored perfectly to fit, even after a big Christmas feast. The couple had been sweethearts for a long time. Unknown to Mr. Walker, a resident of Atlanta, Thomas Beall had an eye for his bride. And, so did the bride for Beall. Two days after Christmas and two days before her scheduled marriage to Walker, an engraver with the Southern Engraving Company, the indecisive bride accompanied Beall to Wrightsville, where they married. Meanwhile, the jilted groom was already in town planning for the nuptials. Annie set off on her honeymoon with her beloved Thomas. You know him, he was the guy who bought the marriage license for his best friend, Collier Walker.

THE FAMILY THAT MARRIES TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER - Robert N. Thompson, lost his first wife, Rutha Beasley Thompson on July 10, 1922. Next, Thompson married Maggie Hester. "Long Bob," as he was known to his friends, was quite fond of his new bride. She had been married before. In point of fact, Maggie had been married two times before. Her first husband was Henry Hester. When Henry died, Mattie didn't have to go far to find husband number two. The widow married John Hester, her brother-in-law and brother of her late husband, Henry. When John joined Henry in eternal rest, Maggie Hester set out to find a new mate.

Once again, Maggie wasn't much for establishing a new relationship with a stranger, so when R.N. Thompson, whom she had known earlier in her life, proposed marriage, she readily accepted. And in the early days of November 1922, the couple was married. Obviously, Mr. Thompson wasn't a brother of her first two husbands, but he was the husband of her deceased sister, Rutha, who had just passed away. Both Rutha and Maggie were great children of James Beasley. And, not surprisingly, so was Robert N. Thompson. After their marriage "Long Bob," seventy years old, and Maggie, fifty years old, moved to Scott, Georgia, where they lived happily ever after as husband and wife, second cousins, and as former brother and sister-in-law. Long Bob died in 1936 and Maggie died six years later.

BRIDGE OVER BLISSFUL WATERS - Sophie Smith, of Scott, Georgia, and George Sell, of Washington County, wanted to say their wedding vows in a special place. Smith, the popular assistant principal of the Scott school, and Sell, a promising young farmer, invited H.E. Purvis to witness the nuptials. The bride asked her principal, T.M. Luke, who happened to be a minister, to officiate at her wedding. The quartet set out for Dublin in search of the ideal spot. After riding around for some time and some how missing Stubbs Park, the party drove out toward the limits of the city on North Jefferson Street. When they reached the edge of the city, they stopped their trek on what is now North Franklin Street. The couple stood up in their car, which was then sitting atop the bridge over Hunger and Hardship Creek. Rev. Luke said the requisite words and the couple said their "I dos." on a bridge over blissful waters.

MARRY YOU AT RECESS? John Hinton, an Ashburn machinist, was deeply in love with Miss Marword Prince, daughter of former sheriff, J.D. Prince. Just before a noon recess from Dublin High School, Hinton picked up his beloved and took her to the home of the Rev. A.M. Williams to get married. Rev. Williams convinced the couple to call her mother and tell her of her desire to marry. The couple had been planning an elopement for a year, since Sheriff Prince was adamantly opposed to the marriage of their daughter who was still in school. Hinton left town and as they say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." The Princes relented and reluctantly gave their permission for the ceremony to proceed. The bride wore her school dress. After the wedding, the Hintons stopped by the Prince home, picked up her clothes, and set out to begin their married life in Ashburn.

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD - Dr. Hugh McCall Moore had a plan. He planned to marry his sweetheart, Lily Smith. No obstacle in his path would block his desire to live happily ever after with his bride. First Moore bought a license. Then he laid low for six months. The doctor set aboard a train for LaGrange, where his beloved was attending college. Moore registered at The Andrews House under the cryptic name of "Eroom," or Moore spelled backwards. LaGrange's police chief discovered the young man's designs and inexplicably threatened to arrest the prospective groom if he attempted to marry Miss Smith.

Unintimidated by the officer's warnings, Moore took a photograph of the campus, marked with the words "meet here" to indicate a prearranged rendevous spot. As Moore looked around the terraced hills of the campus, he saw his love running toward him. He also spotted a professor, who had gained knowledge of the forbidden marriage. Lily jumped in the carriage. The couple set out along roads deeply embedded with mud to the east of town to the home of Bob Dix, an aging Confederate solider who had befriended Moore during his brief stay.

As Justice of the Peace J.C. Cotter was about to begin the marriage ceremony, LaGrange police appeared on the scene and arrested the Dublin dentist. Dr. Moore produced a duly issued license and reminded the officers that they had no jurisdiction to arrest him outside of the city limits. The lawmen reluctantly withdrew and the proceedings took place. Proud of her new husband, the eighteen-year-old bride announced to the media, "Tell them (her detractors) I walked down the hill while all the teachers were looking at me." The newlyweds returned to the Andrews House, where they were congratulated by new friends and cherished classmates before returning back to their new home in Dublin.

DERANGED MARRIAGE - John Hester fell hopelessly in love with Miss Alice Cobb. Mrs. Cobb thought not too much of her daughter's suitor for he was known to have been somewhat of a drunkard and prone to violence. The loathsome Lothario courted the "buxom country lassie" with all of the charm any gentleman could. When Hester asked permission to marry Alice, her mother stood firm and ordered Hester to leave their home. The spurned lover swore he would return and get his revenge. He did. A few nights later, Hester returned in a "semi-intoxicated condition" and brandishing a large pistol just as Mrs. Cobb was preparing supper in her kitchen. Hester promised he would take the girl even if he had to whip the whole family. Mrs. Cobb tried to escape. Hester blocked the door. Seeing that her life was in peril, she succumbed and reluctantly consented to the marriage. A minister was summoned. And a half hour later, the couple were married. Oh, by the way, John Hester was fourteen years old and his bride, Miss Alice Cobb, was a mere twelve years old.


David said…
This jilted groom story probably refers to my great-grandfather, Collier Walker of Atlanta, a photo engraver, about whom I know very very little (besides these minimal details). It may be the first real personal story about him I've ever heard—and what a doozy! I descend from his marriage to Margaret Alleen Bowles, whom he successfully married in July 1914.

Where does this story come from? Do you have a reference for it?

- David Chapman, Jr.
Terre Haute, IN (originally from Georgia)