Red Oak Couple Wed Fifty-six Years
RED OAK, Ia., Jan. 1. -- Fifty-six years ago Christmas eve,
under the first public Christmas tree in Red Oak accompanied with a
wedding march on the first piano ever brought into this city, Mr.
and Mrs. Randolph Watkins were married, (by) Rev. Andrews in the
first Methodist church built in this city and now used as an
In honor of the occasion, the symbol of the Yuletide season--the
Christmas tree--was the principal feature of the decorations in the
Watkins home where their children and many relatives gathered to
celebrate the event, the entire party attending the Christmas
exercises at the Methodist church Christmas eve beside in
recollection of the past event when the best gift on the old
fashioned Christmas tree comprising a hickory tree with trunk and
limbs wrapped in cotton and the decorations composed of pop corn
string and muslin strips soaked in alum which when dry produced the
glistening stincel effect on which was placed the marriage
certificate which launched a happy companionship that has continued
down through the years.
The first piano ever brought to Red Oak was in the old church and
Mr. and Mrs. Watkins recall that for a short time it was feared that
this wonderful instrument could not be used for the occasion as
there was no one in the city that could play a piano. However, Mrs.
DeLay happened to be spending the Christmas holiday in Red Oak and
she was able to play and consented to do so for the event, thus
eliminating the only possible marr (sic) to the occasion.
Mrs. Watkins has resided in this community for the past
sixty-three years as a continuous resident. Her maiden name was
Matilda Catherine Kerrihard. She was born in Bloomsburg, Marion
county, Pa., August 17, 1849. With her parents she came to Red Oak
from Davenport in 1861.
Mr. Watkins was born in Vernon, Ohio, December 8, 1844, and came
to this city in an early day from Monmouth, Ill. He is unable to
give the exact date but it was a short time after his wife came here
with her parents.
They were the parents of three children, one having died. Two
daughters, who were at home in honor of the event were Mrs. W. M.
Lloyd, of Ogden, Utah, and Mrs. Harry E. Stevens, of Red Oak. They
are the grandparents of eight grandchildren and four great
grandchildren. Mrs. Lloyd and great granddaughter, Joyce Hall, of
Ogden, and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stevens and family were among the
relatives present at the festivities which commemorated the
Mrs. Watkins celebrated her 75th birthday in August and Mr.
Watkins was 80 years of age December 8, but despite their advanced
years they are hale and hearty and enjoy the blessings that come to
those in happy wedlock in their fine home at 611 Second street in
Red Oak Express, Red Oak, Iowa Friday,
January 1, 1925, Special to The Nonpareil