It Was 80 Years Ago Today…

…that Townsend Brown and Josephine Beale were married in Zanesville, Ohio.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 18: Wagner in the Trees to mark the occasion:

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On September 8, 1928, the one-hundred or so guests at a Thursday afternoon gathering at Hawthorne Farm — the Brown family’s elysian “country estate” on the outskirts of Zanesville — thought that they were attending just another late-summer picnic and swimming party. Some were still dripping wet, fresh out of the pool, when the sound of Wagner’s wedding march suddenly began to radiate from loudspeakers that Townsend had earlier hidden among the pine trees.

The ensuing nuptials were fittingly detailed in the journalistic style of the period in the Society column of the next day’s Zanesville newspaper:

Surrounded by members of their own families and intimate friends and in the midst of tall trees through which the setting sun shone in benediction, Miss Josephine Beale, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Beale of Merrick Avenue and Townsend Brown, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis K. Brown of Adair Avenue, were united in marriage, Thursday afternoon at the Brown farm on the Newark Road.

The marriage was to have been a surprise, but some of the many birds who live in the trees on the Brown farm must have heard the young couple whispering their secret and made haste to tell it to their friends for every one was expecting “something to happen.”

After a delightful picnic supper had been served to the guests who numbered over five score the music of the Lohengrin wedding march was heard faintly at first, as though from a great distance, then as the voices of the guests were hushed, more clearly. The music seemed to be wafted from the tops of the trees by angel voices in the most entrancing fashion and had been so arranged by the young bride and groom and as the guests all arose and moved up to meet them, the young couple appeared walking together over the brink of the wooded hill and proceeded to the place where Dr. Austin M. Courtenay of Delaware a personal friend of the Brown family and a former pastor of Grace church awaited them.

Dr. Courtenay read the beautiful ring service of the Methodist
Episcopal Church without a book and made it seem by so doing a
peculiarly intimate and personal service performed for those whom he
loved. It was a picture seen by those present which will never be
forgotten. The youth of the principals, the beauty of the woods and
sunset sky and the solemn hush which stole over the scene as they made
the responses uniting them for life, all created an atmosphere of
dignity mingled with simplicity which was most appealing.

The bride was attired in a simple grey traveling frock with little grey
hat and shoes and hose to match and carried a huge shower bouquet of
pink and lavender flowers with long pink and lavender shower. She was
graduated last year from Senior High School and is a member of the
Putnam Presbyterian church. She is unusually popular with her
classmates and members of the younger social set.

Townsend Brown is one of the most interesting young men in Zanesville
and has been widely known as an inventor and experimenter and has made
some unusual discoveries which will work changes in theories of
gravitation and electrical mechanism. He is engaged with his father in
the sand business but his chief interest is in his laboratory where his
research and experiments are conducted.

After two weeks in the East the young bride and groom will live at the
Brown home on Adair avenue, although they plan during fine weather to
spend a great deal of their time at the Brown farm, where Mr. Brown has
built himself a little house right by the edge of the large swimming
pool. Both Mr. and Mrs. Brown are greatly interested in swimming and
water sports and out-of-doors life of all kinds and the farm offers an
alluring spot on which to spend an early fall honeymoon.

Among the details the Society column neglected to mention was the
absence of a formal wedding party. There were no maids or matrons of
honor, no flower girls. But Josephine did recall later that Townsend’s
big old German shepherd, “Donovan Trotsky” took a place behind them
while they recited their vows — serving as “best dog,” if not exactly a
best man.

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