151 St. Louisians Wed on Thanksgiving

The Missouri record for issuing marriage licenses in one day was broken on Wednesday, November 23, 1904 by 151 couples in St. Louis, who wanted to tie the knot on Thanksgiving Day 1904.  The previous one day record was 117 couples set in St. Louis prior to Thanksgiving 1903.

thanksgiving-cartoon

Cartoon from the November 24, 1904 edition of the St. Louis Republic

The Justice of the Peace, R.J. Carroll, set up shop in an adjoining room.  He married couples almost as soon as the marriage license had been issued.  The Reverend Doctor Pierce, an African-American minister, also joined Judge Carroll to help with the unusually large number of brides and grooms.  Four clerks from the Recorder of Deed’s Office assisted with the unusually heavy workload.

Some couples came with their whole families, while others came by themselves.  One of the grooms came from Evansville, Indiana but most of the couples were from St. Louis City and County.

Several couples shared the same address.  However, the city did have a number of rooming houses and hotels at this time, so we should not make too much of an inference from such arrangements.

The article in the November 24, 1904 edition of the St. Louis Republic stated many couples wanted to be married on Thanksgiving but that the same increase was not seen on Christmas Day.  I don’t find that as surprising as the author of the article.  The couple would be risking their anniversary being overshadowed by Christmas every year.

It is nice that so many couples decided to tie the knot on Thanksgiving during the 1904 World’s Fair.  While newspapers both then and now are normally filled with the tawdry, violent and criminal, stories such as this article are a nice uplifting read on the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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