Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Two Anniversary Marriage

On page 343 of the Brown County, Ohio Marriage Record book, there is an entry for the marriage of my grandparents, George H. Haitz and Janet Becker.  It is dated January 4, 1934 and is signed by Father G. Anthony, the Catholic priest in Ripley, Ohio.  The application for the marriage license that is above the marriage certificate is dated December 30, 1933 and giving consent to the court were their mothers, Henrietta Haitz and Amy Becker.  A fairly straight forward record documenting the date and place of a marriage between two people who were in love or so it would seem, however, that isn’t the whole story of my grandparent’s wedding.   

Family Search, George Haitz, Janet Becker
"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789 - 1994," digital images,
Family Search (https://familysearch.org accessed: 20 March 2015),
issue of marriage license and marriage of
George Haitz and Janet Becker; citing volume 30, page 343.

No matter what the document states as the marriage date, my grandparents celebrated the anniversary of their wedding on December 26, the day after Christmas for that is the true date of their marriage, or at least the first one anyway.  I’ll never know how long their plan had been discussed and perfected, but at the age of nineteen, George along with sixteen year old Janet crossed the Ohio River, found someone with authority in Augusta, Kentucky, and were married.  

I’m not sure how long the secret stayed between them, but the cat was certainly out of the bag by December 30 when the application for a marriage license for the two of them was granted in Georgetown, Ohio.  I wasn’t there, of course, but I can imagine that no one in either family was overly happy with the situation, the exception being George and Janet.  When George’s Catholic parents discovered what had occurred on the day after Christmas, a church wedding was immediately planned and on the fourth day of January in 1934, George and Janet found themselves once again vowing to love, honor, and obey each other, only this time in front of the parish priest.  

I haven’t been able to locate the record for that first elopement date and only know the story from my grandmother telling me.  She has been gone now for 31 years, but I wish I had back the time to ask a few more questions. 

When and how did she meet my grandfather?  George had graduated from Ripley High School that spring and she was a junior.  She was a town girl and he was a country boy so I suppose they met in school, but how long had they known each other?  

Why did they decide to go to Kentucky to elope rather than stay in Ohio?  Did they return that day or the next?

Was she scared or nervous when she left her house on Second Street knowing that when she returned she would be a married woman or was she filled with sixteen year old bravado?  How about my grandfather?  He had to have known that his parents would not be happy.

What did my great grandparents, both the Beckers and the Haitzs say and do when they were told?

Did she and my grandfather have a plan for the future or were they just hoping it would all work out in the end?

The marriage license states that my grandfather was a clerk.  Was he working for my great-grandfather Becker in his Ripley dry-goods store, Becker’s, at that time?  Is that where and how they met?

There is a little more to this story.  My grandfather lost a baseball career opportunity as a result of his elopement, so stay tuned!

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