Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fearless Females, March 5, 2011: Courtship

Thank you to Lisa Alzo, of The Accidental Genealogist , for this always interesting and evocative month long series about the Fearless Females of our past.  The instructions for this day are as follows:

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?


I have often heard the story of when grandmother Agnes Laura Keyes met her future husband, Frank Sigford in Mitchell, Oregon, near her family's homestead, he had both hands and wrists encased in casts. Some family versions say that he broke his wrists fighting, which considering his feisty bearing that could indeed be true. However, a more likely story is that he fell out of the barn while he and his brothers were putting up hay near John Day. No matter the reason for the casts, they young man from Wisconsin, who had come west with his brothers, then courted and married Agnes Laura Keyes.

I know many family stories before my McPherson grandparents met and after they met; however, I have never heard much about how they met. I have always thought was because of their age difference. Jabez McPherson was nearly 26 years old when he married the barely sixteen year old Elizabeth Alfreda Foss in Madison, Wisconsin. Jabez' grandparents, as well as his parents and aunts and uncles, were long time residents of Springdale, Wisconsin, which was about 15 miles south of Madison.

The newlyweds and members of Jabez' family left Madison in couple of wagons and a buggy to visit other McPherson family members who had moved to Iowa. According to my Uncle Ralph, his mother often mentioned this trip as a high point in her life. They stay in Iowa a couple of years before returning to Madison.

My uncle, Clem Sigford introduced my parents. He worked at the Zuckerman Farm where my father, Harold McPherson, was the straw boss at the young age of 17. At that time, Harold's family was still in California and he was glad to have an invitation for a home cooked meal. Of course, Clem's younger sisters were in attendance and the fourteen year old, dark-eyed Ruth caught Harold's attention. My mother said that on dates, they would go to movies, or out to the airport to watch the airplanes that Harold loved, or to the dirt race track where his brother Clive raced. They were married a couple of years later when Ruth was almost sixteen.

Although I know a little about how my parents and grandparents met, the more interesting question to me is how they lived – stories for another day.

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