In REBELS, Louise Duncan is only sixteen, but already engaged to Walter Mayhew. Of course, it is the 1860’s.
According to my own family history, sixteen is the age when the young women begin to think about matrimony. Today’s story is about my great-aunt Bertha Angeline Lewis. (Courtesy of Footprints of John Smith Lewis by Robert Earl Allen).
When Bertha was sixteen and her favorite beau, Oscar Davis was eighteen, they decided to run off and get married. Their plan was that on Sunday, while the family was at church, they’d go to Oscar’s sister’s house, Francis Webb and be married. Someone at church told Bertha’s parents what was happening and her father raced home to find her.
“When Dad found me at the Webb’s he made me go home, talking to me all the way, even threatening to whip me. I told him to go on and whip, and you won’t ever do it again! He didn’t follow thru on his threat, but when we got home, Mother was coming. She was crying and holding one of the children, Jack, and he was crying too.
Oscar was man enough to come to the house and try to talk the parents into giving their approval, but Bertha’s dad said no. FINALLY, after hours of talking, he finally figured that they would do it anyway, and gave in.
“Oscar got a hold of my hand and we ran up the road as hard as we could. We were married outside under an oak tree. This was June 8, 1919.”
The couple spent their honeymoon with Francis, and the next day, Oscar was afraid to go home for fear of what HIS dad would say. Eventually his father came to the house and told them they could come on home. Good thing, because it would be another six months before Bertha’s family would speak to them! Despite their rocky beginning, Bertha and Oscar went on to have four kids.