As the article states, "53 years ago, Miss Elizabeth Whitcraft and Elijah B. Clowe were married in Ohio...." The monumental 53rd wedding anniversary was well worth a mention in the local newspaper (right now the identity of the newspaper is unknown). Clearly, the event was important event to the Whitcraft family member who assembled the scrapbook, but who were the couple celebrating their 53rd?
Elijah Bell Clowe was born on March 10, 1825 and his future bride, Sarah Elizabeth Whitcraft, was born in 1833. According to one source, the couple was married in Ohio on August 8, 1850.1 During the American Civil War, Clowe served in the 151st and 189th Ohio Volunteers.2 A newspaper article suggested that Sarah Elizabeth Whitcraft Clowe suffered some form of paralysis, but little detail was given except to state that she was not bedridden from the disorder.3 Either paralysis came upon the poor woman later in life, or it was not too debilitating, for the union produced seven children.
Unfortunately, Sarah Elizabeth Whitcraft Clowe died mere months after celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary. She died on November 20, 1903. Elijah Clowe died not too terribly long after his wife of 53 years, passing on January 3, 1905.
The dates as they appear on their monument in the Holton Cemetery do not quite gel with the ages provided in the article, but those are fairly minor details. What is important is their ability to claim a marriage that lasted 53 years.4 Not many couples can lay claim to that particular landmark. On this day, 166 years ago....Best, Pat
1 The Holton Weekly Signal December 2, 1903 Compiled by Dan Fenton in Selected Death Notices from Jackson County, Kansas Newspapers. Volume VI 1903-1905, pp 64-65
2 Elijah Bell Clowe, Find-A-Grave
3 The Holton Recorder, November 26, 1903, Compiled by Dan Fenton in Selected Death Notices from Jackson County, Kansas Newspapers. Volume VI 1903-1905, pp 64-65
4 The December 2, 1903 edition of the Holton Weekly Signal reported the couple was married on on August 8, 1850. The clipping in the scrapbook from an as of yet unidentified newspaper, states the couple was married on "August 1, 53 years ago," BUT...there is a notation stating the 53rd Anniversary had been "Overlooked last week." I suspect this clipping was published in an August 8, 1903 edition of a newspaper but the notation about the 7-day delay, had been missed by others, leading to confusion about the wedding date. All things considered, what is 53 years of marriage, plus or minus 7 days?