Wedding of Mollie Dorsey Sanford

Wedding ceremonies and receptions during territorial days in Nebraska were of necessity varied and made use of whatever was available to the prospective bride and groom. Mollie Dorsey’s marriage to Byron Sanford in February of 1860 in the Nebraska City area, according to Mollie’s diary entry for February 13, 1860, “did not pass as quietly as I anticipated.” She noted that the prospective bridegroom had gone to Tecumseh to secure a marriage license and that she had that day baked her wedding cake for the ceremony, to be held the next day at two o’clock in her parents’ home.

“Tuesday morning we were busy with preparations for dinner, receiving and entertaining our guests, and it is something to do that in as small quarters as we occupy. We were looking for By [Byron Sanford] every moment, but after 10 o’clock I began to feel nervous, for he had had plenty of time to come, it seemed. I dreaded to have the appointed hour pass without the ceremony. Twelve! One! Two! Three! o’clock came, and no bridegroom. Many jokes were indulged in at my expense. I was fluctuating between hope and fear, but never doubting but that he was unavoidably delayed.” The tardy Byron Sanford finally arrived and the wedding was held late in the evening.

Several weeks later, Mollie noted on March 9, 1860, the approaching wedding of Dora, her sister, to Samuel Harris. “We visited Sunday and became acquainted, and all like Mr. Harris, altho dear Mother could hardly feel reconciled to the suddenness of the affair. On Monday all hands turned in, Aunt Eliza and Cousin Hattie assisting to prepare ‘Eudora’ for the nuptials. The wedding gown was to be made, besides other articles. Her dress is a pretty shade of blue merino, and made by myself, and ‘if I do say it as shouldn’t,’ it is a marvel of beauty and fit, . . . By Thursday morning the sewing was all done. Then the wedding cake was baked and preparations made for the supper. There were no guests, as we had no time, nor did they desire any extra work. At 8 o’clock they were quietly married by Uncle Milton. Not a shadow of romance about the whole affair, unless the ‘love at first sight’ might be called such, for their first acquaintance was at my wedding three weeks ago.” The marriage was apparently successful. Harris died in 1919 at the age of eighty-seven and was survived by Dora and eight of their nine children.

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