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A Brilliant Wedding

March 28, 1872

Miss Jennie Thomson

Glasgow, Missouri


Mr. W. H. Armstrong

St. Joseph, Missouri
*Excerpt taken from documentation belonging to the Mansion.

The Nuptials

In the beginning God made the Heavens and the Earth: and in His own image he made man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, where everything imaginable was placed, in all their simplicity and loveliness, for his comfort and happiness: but yet, he was unhappy.  God seeing his lonely condition said; “It is not good for man to be so alone.  I will make him an helpmeet for him.”  From this time forward there has been marrying and giving in marriage.  And even our own little city is not free from its charms and allurements.  Fashion also dates back to antiquity and has now approached almost to perfection; indeed, we have often heard it said to see Style in all its grandeur on must attend the Parisian Theatre, the receptions of the Duc D’D’Anmule; entertainments given in our own land of plenty, to the Grand Duke Alexis etc, etc.

Fashion in these places has reached the highest mold of artistic skill–attendance of which thus cultivating the most acute tastes and feeding admiration to its fullest satiation.  We people of the West have been made to feel that we would have to be content with simply reading descriptions of these grand entertainments and not until a few weeks since, when it was announced that the nuptials of the daughter of one of our leading bankers, and a reigning belle in our city would take place, and a magnificent entertainment was expected given her, did we have the assurance of being a guest in the Salons of Fashion, which were equaled in magnificence by only a few of the receptions given in the present day, and we immediately set to work to train our cultivated appreciations, but, when we beheld the magnificent oilettes, and the manner in which everything was conducted, we were led to exclaim like the Queen of the South “Not half has ever been told me.”

On the evening of March 28th, 1872 at an early hour, scarcely before the lingering ways of twilight had rendered vision indistinct, would be seen white, delicate cameos, light browns, grays and every imaginable tint of dress dotting our streets busying towards the M.E. Church South, which building we made ready for the coming.

As flew wide open the massive doors, an arch, composed of wedlock’s emblems, made bright by surrounding lamps, first met our view and a covering of white extending up the winding way invited us upward.  Accepting this invitation we soon found ourselves in the open door, beholding what we almost thought at the time was a Floral Garden, decked with hanging baskets, arches of evergreens and standing flower vases, was the large auditorium where everything was brought so plain to our view by bright mellow light shed thereon, emanating from the chandeliers and innumerable reflecting side lamps: and while thus gazing, we could think, ought know the happy couple feel as they approached the altar, that they stood within Eden’s bowers with the fumes of surrounding plants coming as whispers from the first pair, “beware of falling fruit.”  Music rouses from our reverie and announces the approach of…

The Bridal Cortege

In the left aisle the Man of God approaches and takes his position in the sacred stand beneath the bending arch followed by the kindred of the bride and groom in the following order:

  • First the mother of the bride, Mrs. J. S. Thomson
    • And Mr. F. L. McGlean of St. Joseph, a brother-in-law of the groom
  • Then Mr. J. O. Swinney and wife, cousins of the bride

In the opposite aisle at the same time approaching was:

  • The bride’s father, Mr. J. S. Thomson
    • And Mrs. Captain Swinney, her aunt.
  • Followed by her cousin Miss Bereniece Morrison who wore an entire dress of French muslin covered with ruffles and puffs alternately, with trailing sprays of pink morning glories resting it here and there.
    • She was accompanied by B. B. Caples, friend of the family.

As soon as the positions on each side of the minister within the altar were taken, then came gliding down the left aisle with gentle steps:

  • Miss Lellie Hayden
    • Robed in white tarleton train trimmed with a deep ruffle and puffed heading of meme, the entire skirt being covered with puffs and ruffles and dotted with bows of green satin ribbon; a white satin basque, square necked and half flowing sleeves, fitted a length white kid gloves and white kid slippers peeped from beneath the folds of her dress.  The tips of her fingers rested gracefully upon the arm of Mr. Joseph Henderson.  And as they crossed in front of the minister, to the space at the terminus of the opposite aisle, Mr. Charles S. Kerner, junior partner in the firm of Lemon, Hosea & Co. of St. Joseph entered the door on the right, accompanied by…
  • Miss Ida Shankelford
    • Of our city dressed elegantly in a train of white tarleton trimmed with ruffles and puffs of tarleton and a row of satin piping.  The overskirt of tarleton was trimmed with two rows of satin piping and three tows of puffing.  Her corsage was white satin, low neck and short sleeves, duck bill front, basqued back and that and her bertha was trimmed with gold colored satin folds, and point lace.  A chain and hands of gold encircled her neck and wrists and a wreath of amber and white roses crowned her forehead. As they were crossing to the terminus down the left…
  • Miss Kate Kavanagh
    • With the same uniform white tarleton train and satin basque with quite a bouffant overdress of tarleton trimmed with ruffles and puffings of pink tarleton.  A basque edged with lace and slightly square neck fitted her form.  Slippers and gloves of white covered her feet and hands and a cluster of pink flowers dotted her hair.  She was attended by Mr. Lewis Clark.  As they were taking their positions could be seen Mr. William T. Hosea, Junior partner of the firm of Tootle, Farleigh & Co of St. Joseph, noiselessly entering with…
  • Miss Fannie Walker
    • Of our city, who was attired becomingly in a plain white tarleton train trimmed with five tows of satin ribbon.  A court train floatinted from her waist downward.  A rose colored satin tunic, with tarleton wrinkled apron front fitted her neatly and was trimmed with folds of rose colored satin and a bertha of satin folds, attached with a cluster of flowers.  The corsage, bertha and tunic were all trimmed with blond lace.  White moss rose buds and lilies of the valley dotted her dress.  Next in order came…
  • Miss Annie Swinney
    • Clad in the same uniform white tarleton train, the skirt of which was bordered with a deep ruffle, kilt plaited.  A pompadour overdress trimmed with riches of fringed blue silk drooped gracefully from her waist of puffed tulle.  Sprays of morning glories were on various portions of her dress and twining morning glories found a resting place on her elaborate coiffure.  She was attended by Mr. H. H. Brown.  And yet another comes, Major J. H. Pinks, of Fayette and…
  • Miss Bella Armstrong
    • A sister of the groom, of St. Joseph.  She was attired becomingly in a lengthy white tarleton train adorned with a deep ruffle headed with ruffles and puffs, and a row of gold colored satin ribbon, over which dropped gracefully an elegant white satin overdress.  A white satin low neck and short sleeves, duck bill back and front corsage fitted her neatly while a diadem of flowers crowned her forehead.  Then with noiseless tread and graceful mien, came the…

Bride and Groom

Who took their places immediately in front of the minister, ready to hear the words that were to join them together until death us do part.  The bride looked bewithering in a magnificent dress of full white satin the very triumph of lavish expense, good taste and elegance.  Over the skirt in guise of court train, was placed a roll of valeure, the front widths being covered vertically with broad puffs of tulle; and between each puff were clusters of orange blossoms and buds, bordered with point lace of the rarest design and finish.  A bodice of white satin, bordered with puffs of tulle, point lace and orange blossoms, closed her form.  The large puffs and a deep flounce of satin, wound around the elbow formed the half long sleeves.  A misty gauze of tulle, enveloping her very person, and thrown over her face, was caught back to her luxurious hair with a perfect diadem of the same orange blossoms.  Magnificent bracelets (a gift of the groom) and a plain ring, wedding her for life, was placed upon her finger  After the ceremony, which was conducted with so much precision and harmony by Rev. B. J. Gooch, the invited guest immediately repaired to the splendid mansion of Mr. J. S. Thomson and enjoyed themselves till a late hour.  Not withstanding the large number of guests present, the spacious halls, the brilliantly lighted parlors and the conveniently arranged corridors lighted parlors and the conveniently arranged corridors admitted them all with no inconvenience to their comfort or pleasure.

Indeed It Could Well Be Said

“A gala time had the wedded pair —

For the pomp and show of town was there!

From our sanctum we saw a long array

Of gallant horsemen pass that way,

And carriages with guest invited

All was gay and all delighted.”

The Large Temporary Dining Hall was built expressly for the occasion and was one hundred feet in length and beautifully decorated with paintings, flowers, etc.  The supper was splendid.  We never saw a finer.  The spacious dining hall with its ample table garnished with the finest of wares and loaded with all the delicacies which this fat land could afford defies description.  There were pyramids of the finest cakes and heaps of luscious tropical fruits and over all was wafted the fragrance of rare flowers with which was blended the aroma of love.

The Bridal Presents

The Bridal Presents were costly and elegant and embraced the following with many others:

  • A coral sett by Miss Bereniece Morrison
  • A Bible by Mrs. F. H. Armstrong inscribed to W. H. and Jennie Armstrong, March 28, 1872
  • Two antique urns by J. O. Swinney
  • A silver pitcher by J. S. Thomson
  • Silver cake basket by Mr. J. S. Thomson
  • A silver soup tureen by Mrs. Captain Swinney
  • Silver card basket by Mrs. W. B. Lewis
  • Silver fruit dish by Mr. and Mrs. McLean of St. Joseph
  • Silver syrup stand by Miss Annie Swinney
  • Silver butter dish by Miss Lellie Hayden
  • Silver napkin rings by Bride’s Sunday School class
  • Set fish knife and fruit spoon by W. E Hosea dna C. S. Kemper of St. Joseph
  • Silver salt stand by Mr. J. S. Henderson
  • Silver breakfast castor by the Misses Hanenkamp of St. Louis
  • A pair of bracelets by W. H. Armstron
  • A silver card dish by Miss Lizzie Craig of St. Louis.

Mr. Thomson and his good lady, by their graceful cordiality rendered each guest the embodiment of the most pleasing emotions.  The measure of each one’s joy was full to the brim.  But the happy couple what shall we say to them By Way of Congratulations?

We doubt whether words of ours can enhance the pleasure of the captor or the captive.  Could we add one jot to their happiness we would ransack this poor brain of ours to find some wreath of glory with which to garland their happy and most suspicious union  Having reached out their hands and drawn each a price in the great lottery of life, filling to the full measure the highest mark of the most fond anticipations, may their feet ever tread the same rosy pathway and never separate in all the way of coming life.  May their droughts from love’s purest fountains be no stinted ones.  Where love ever watches most tenderly over the object of its affection, making the present of their lives always an elysium, may the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong be ever found.

May They Always Remember

There is one bright and enchanting spot,

Where love and beauty glow,

Which oft the glorious grace of God

Hath made a Heaven below;

And in that covenant sheltered spot,

There is a radiant gem

More precious, far than ocean’s pearls

Or empire’s diadem:

O, Keep that gem, ye plighted ones,

Nor from that spot depart,

That spot is Home–delightful Home,

That gem the Faithful Heart.