MARRIED 50 YEARS.
And They Made Their Wedding Trip to California, Crossing the Plains
With an Ox Team in a Trip of Five Months.
When people move from the farm into the town their old neighbors
seldom forget them. When opportunity offers they perform some kindly
deed as an earnest of their high regard. Not infrequently they plan
a surprise visit, bringing all the good things to eat with which the
larder on the farm is generally so amply provided.
And so it was last
Saturday when a host of good people came into Red Oak and invaded
the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rianzo Keros Atherton, at 606 Corning
Street, they remembering that on that day 50 years ago these two
people had been married back in Lee County, Iowa. The friends who
came were old neighbors living in Sherman Township north of Red Oak,
where Mr. and Mrs. Atherton first settled when they came to
Montgomery County a quarter of a century ago. There were more than
three score of them.
In the language of Mrs.
Matilda Atherton “they came upon us like a volunteer invading army
approaching the enemy; they came, they captured, the skirmish was of
short duration, the besieged surrendering unconditionally.”
The visitors brought with
them all the good things to eat, the visit being one of surprise and
left no opportunity for the hosts to provide for such an occasion.
The day was spent in special concourse and following the bounteous
dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Atherton were presented with $11 in gold, the
metal being emblematical of the 50th or golden anniversary of their
Mr. Atherton is a native
of Ohio, born in Newark, Licking County. At the beginning of the
civil war he enlisted as a soldier but owing to some fancied
physical defect he was rejected by the examining physicians. Later
he must have outgrown the defect and today is a man of rugged health
and no person guessing his age would place it anywhere near high
Mrs. Atherton is a native
of Iowa, born in Lee County and she too has a more youthful
appearance than most people expect to see in persons who have been
married for half a century. Her maiden name was Matilda Graham.
It was on the 14th day of
February 1864, that they were married in Keokuk, Iowa, and it was
only a few weeks later, or on the 26th of April, that they started
on a wedding trip, which for novelty and interest cannot in this age
of the world be equaled. They started from home with an ox team to
make the journey across the plains to California, they reaching
their goal at the end of a journey of five eventful months.
One of the many incidents
on their way was the overtaking of a party of emigrants who had been
robbed of most of their belongings by the Indians. This was near
Laramie, Wyo. The train, which they overtook, was stranded and were
compelled to return to Denver to buy a new supply of horses and
oxen. The Indians had twice stampeded their animals; they frightened
them by riding into camp with buffalo skins thrown over their heads.
The first time the animals were stampeded 29 of them failed to get
away, which left them horses to ride to go in pursuit of the
marauders. They were successful in overtaking the Indians and in
rescuing their horses and mules. But the Indians came again the
second time and on that occasion all the animals broke away.
When Mr. and Mrs. Atherton
reached California they located in Plumas County and remained there
12 years. About this time the pioneer transcontinental railway line,
the Union Pacific, was completed, and they concluded to go back East
by a more rapid and more comfortable method than that employed on
their wedding journey. They went back by rail in 1876 and after a
time located in Appanoose County, Iowa, remaining there 12 years
also, and in 1888 came to Montgomery County.
They concluded first to
sample the soil, so they rented a farm from the late Phil Johnson,
seven miles north of Red Oak. After living on this farm for a year
they concluded the soil could not be excelled anywhere and the farm
was purchased. They lived on the place until three years ago and
then came into town. Here they are happy and contented, loved and
esteemed by their neighbors and hosts of friends, whose fervent wish
is that all may enjoy life and happiness until the time may come
when all may assist in celebrating the diamond wedding of this
Mr. and Mrs. Atherton
request The Sun to make acknowledgement to their many long time
friends and neighbors for the kindness and consideration which
prompted them to extend the courtesies on the occasion of their
golden wedding, expressing gratitude for helping them to spend a day
which will linger in their memory for many years.