Romance Through the Ages

Comments2

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The best love stories are those from our own families. Romantic photos showing our ancestors’ love for each other offer lasting memories for future generations.

Photo submitted by Cynthia Tucker of her parents

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, we asked you to send in romantic wedding photos from your family.  Thanks to all who participated in our competition – we received many beautiful photos.

Today, we are displaying some of our favorite entries and the touching love stories behind them.

The winner of this year’s Valentine’s Day Competition is David Newman, who submitted a photo and story about his wife’s grandparents, who married in 1912. See the winning story below.

From the photos – sent in from all around the world – we see that the fashions and formalities may have changed over time, but the sentiments remain the same. Love is universal.

1860:

Gerald Flannigan's great-great-great grandparents, Richard Parle and Mary Spellicey

Gerald Flannigan

Richard came from Ballyvalloo in Wexford, arriving in Victoria in 1853, while Mary was born in Bodyke, County Clare and arrived in Victoria before the Gold Rush in 1850. They married on 25 July 1860 in Glenorchy, west of Melbourne. For their honeymoon, they traveled to Melbourne to watch Burke and Wills leave on their ill-fated expedition. They had 10 children and were married for 49 years when Richard passed away.

1869:

Harold Patterson's great-grandparents Riley H. Spilman and Rebecca J. Anderson

Harold Patterson

They were the parents of my grandmother, Josie M. Spilman. Their marriage took place on 14 October 1869.

1883:

Irene Jeppsen's husband's great-greandparents Lars Peter Nelson and Eliza Matilda Reeder

Irene Jeppsen

There is one sweet note about the courtship of my husband’s great-grandparents, Lars Peter Nelson and Eliza Matilda Reeder ,who married in 1883. Lars was born in Denmark. His parents and little brother died of cholera as the family was making their way to Utah in 1866. This left 3-year-old Lars alone in a strange country. Kind people tended to him until they reached Salt Lake City. Once in Utah, a family took the sad little boy home to Brigham City, Utah and raised him as their own. Eliza’s mother died in childbirth when Eliza was 13. Much responsibility fell on her young shoulders to help care for her younger siblings and the household chores. It was said Eliza had a pleasing personality and was considered the prettiest girl in town. She met Lars at church. She often shared the story of Lars’ marriage proposal as they were walking home from a dance one evening. When they got to the creek, they had to cross on a narrow board being used as a bridge. Lars stopped in the center of it and told her he would throw her into the water if she refused to be his wife. Apparently, she consented and they were married on 5 April 1883 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Lars was 21 and Eliza was 18. The had 12 children, seven lived to adulthood.

1911:

Jim Allan's grandparents, Louis McLuskey Allan and Elizabeth Ann Stewart

Jim Allan

My paternal grandparents Louis McLuskey Allan and Elizabeth Ann Stewart were married in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on August 1, 1911. There were no relatives in Winnipeg for either of them, so it was a small affair with only some friends in attendance. The picture is a studio shot. I suspect that they met at a social or church event. She was working as a housekeeper and he was a railway laborer.

1912:

David Newman's wife's grandparents, Frederick Stanley Tuck and Winifred Martha Becker

David Newman

This photo stands out as being exceptionally good. It shows my wife’s grandparents, Frederick Stanley Tuck and Winifred Martha Becker. It was taken on their wedding day, 3 August 1912, in Greymouth, Westland, New Zealand. They were both 22 years. The look in their eyes shows love, determination, and confidence. Incidentally, both families came from farming areas in England. The Tucks originate in North Walsham and Happisburg in Norfolk, and the Beckers came from Ash near Dover in Kent. English farming people, such as these, commonly formed the backbone of New Zealand settlement in the early days. Fred ran sawmills, and Winnie had 10 children. They both lived long and happy lives.

1915:

Ken Becraft's grandparents, Ella Hislop and Chester Arthur Becraft

Ken Becraft

This is the wedding picture of my grandmother, Ella Hislop, and my grandfather, Chester Arthur Becraft, who married June 15, 1915 in Utah. Chester died April 22, 1920. They had two sons during the four years they were married. One was my father, named after his father, Chester Arthur Becraft. My grandmother Ella never remarried because there was no one that she could love like she loved Chester.

1930:

James Lionel's parents, Lionel Purdy and Marguerite Robbins

James Lionel

Lionel Purdy and Marguerite Robbins were married in Boston, Massachusetts in 1930. Both were from Nova Scotia, but had family in Boston. Mother sang in the Tremont Temple Choir. The story goes that my father asked my maternal grandfather if he could marry my mother — he didn’t ask her! Seeing as he was employed with Ford Motors in Lexington and was a pretty “steady” guy (and was slightly related) grandfather agreed. Seven years later, they moved back to Nova Scotia. I am the middle of three children. We lived in Pleasant Lake, N.S., my mother’s home village, three miles from Plymouth where my father was born and grew up. Both my parents died years ago.

1942:

Virginia Brown's parents, John and Grace Cipolla

Virginia Brown

These were my parents, John and Grace Cipolla, married on January 10, 1942. As my father explained at their 50th wedding anniversary: “We may have only been married for 50 years, but it seemed like 72 years of happiness with the same woman.” They grew up in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. My father lived down the hill and my mother lived up the hill. My father was drafted into the military and fought in WWII at Normandy. My mother stayed home and cared for their two children. When he returned from war, they moved to Detroit, Michigan where they raised five of us kids. We are all close to each other and owe everything to the strong beliefs and upbringing of our parents. They had many struggles, but overcame them all.

1944:

Christine Sult's parents, Agnes Waugh and John Schultz

Christine Sult

These are my parents, Agnes Waugh and John Schultz, who were married January 13, 1944 during WWII in Brooklyn, New York. Dad was from Indiana and Mom was from New York. Dad was in the Navy, then stationed at the Brooklyn Ship Yards where Mom worked. They were married and, after the war, he was discharged in 1946 and decided to move to Indiana to raise a family of three children on a farm where we had many happy memories growing up. Mom and Dad are both gone now but were married almost 57 years.

1949:

Grace Browne's parents

Grace Browne

My mum and dad were married when she was 19 and he was 21. They were very much in love. Sadly they were only married for seven years when Dad passed away at 29. Mum was pregnant with baby number four, who was born about a week after Dad’s passing. Sadly he only lived for 16 months. Mum raised me and my other two brothers by herself from then on. Years later she did remarry, but the memory of my dad was always there.

1951:

Lori Hellmund's parents, Estel and Marilyn Norris Shoemaker

Lori Hellmund

These are my parents, Estel and Marilyn Norris Shoemaker. They met at the National Cash Register Company, a factory in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. They had only dated for a few weeks when he proposed. He knew he was going to be joining the Air Force, so they had a very short time and limited funds for a wedding. They decided to be married in front of family and very close friends on a Friday evening. It was a terribly icy night on December 14, 1951 and they had to drive 30 miles to spend their wedding night in my father’s hometown of Sabina, Ohio. Thankfully, they arrived there safely and spent just a few days together before he had to leave for the service. They had 42 years together before my father’s death in 1993 from cancer. They had a true love story!

1955:

Jayce Stechey's parents, Glen and Marie Robb

Jayce Stechey

I am sending you wedding photos of my dear parents, Glen and Marie Robb, who were married in Lambeth, Ontario in May 1955. My dad passed away of cancer in 1987, but my lovely mom is still alive at the age of 84.

1965:

Errol Frechette and his wife, Nicole Genest

Errol Frechette

Nicole Genest and I met as members of the choir V’la Bon Vent. I rapidly got smitten by this beautiful girl. It was following a concert at the hotel Chateau Bonne Entente, while we were waiting for our transportation, that I mustered the courage to approach her. One of our first dates was a ride around Lake Beauport in my old standard-shift Buick. I kept it in second gear for nearly the whole trip, so I could hold her hand. We got married June 24, 1965.

We wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day and we hope that you spend it with those you love!

Do you have romantic stories from your family? Share them with us in the comments below.

Leave a comment

The email address is kept private and will not be shown

  • Janice


    February 17, 2016

    Lovely stories. My mother was a twin and, at first, my father was not sure which one to date. So he wrote a letter addressed to both of them suggesting that either one or both of them meet him at Central Park to ride bicycles. Apparently my mother showed up and the rest is history. They married in 1945, near the end of WW II, after a whirlwind romance of about 3 months and were happily married for nigh on 60 years.

  • colleen


    March 20, 2016

    OMGOD DAD WAS IN THE BR ARMY MY MUM CAME IN FROM RANGOON /BURMA THEY MET AT THE RLY STATION SEEING THEIR STATE OFFERED TO HELP FEW MONTHS LATER THEY GOT MARRIED ie1941 LATE STANISLAUS PATRICK PITTER N LATE GLADYS JULIEN I AM THEIR DAUGHTER BORN ON 21/APRIL 1944 INCIDENTALLY MY (meeting) was so unique BEEN PENPAL CRAZY IN THE 60 S HE CAME FROM DELHI FOR A JOB INTERVIEW I FROM SECUNDERABAD TO MEET A PENPAL BOMBAY NOW MUMBAI MET IN 62 (4yrslater) married in 66
    colleen n late gerald traynor chembur/mumbai