Elopers Flee Lincoln, 1877

Young love, traditionally celebrated on Valentine’s Day, springs up throughout the year–and through the years. From Lincoln’s Daily State Journal, November 14, 1877: “We have had in our columns, accounts of marriages, births, deaths, and in fact everything that is usually found in a first class newspaper at some time during its existence. But an elopement, a first class skip out, is something that hasn’t graced our columns for years, for the simple reason that nothing of the kind has ever occurred in Lincoln, either this or the reporter was neglectful of duty in not ferreting the matter out. . . . The particulars . . . we gather from an intimate friend of the family.

“It seems that Peter Grass, a saddler by trade, working in Nebraska City, became deeply enamored about one year ago with Amelia Schmidt, a beautiful lassie of about fifteen summers, the oldest daughter of our old and esteemed townsman Jacob Schmidt. Peter’s love was reciprocated by the charming Amelia, and he would fain have had business for the minister or justice of the peace, months ago, if the old folks would only consent. . . .

“Yesterday morning, about 8 o’clock, Miss Amelia quietly wrapped up her wardrobe in a paper, and silently walked out of the kitchen door, never to return as Miss Amelia Schmidt. It being Monday, and wash day, her services were in demand, and her protracted absence became a source of annoyance to the parents. The neighbors were visited, but Amelia could not be found. . . . Finally, late in the evening, some friend who had been let into the secret, told Mr. Schmidt that his daughter Amelia had eloped with a young man named Grass, from Nebraska City, and that they had gone westward in one of Ledwith & Menlove’s finest carriages.

“We understand Mr. Grass applied yesterday to Judge Scott for license, but upon learning that the girl was not yet seventeen, [Scott] declined to furnish the necessary document; thereupon the young man procured a carriage and took the girl with him. Those who seem to be best posted in the matter think the marriage ceremony will take place in Missouri, where the marital laws are supposed to be rather loose . . . . The parents of the girl are deeply grieved, and no doubt have the sympathy of the community, but they should take it philosophically and remember they were ‘young once themselves.'”

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