The Diary of Lizzie Dopps





Chapter IV 

After this winter term of school was over, Eli and I chose April 2nd, 1871 for our wedding day.  It was a bright, sunshiny day, and I ran out in the sunshine singing out, "Happy is the bride that the sun shines on."

It was a quiet but happy wedding, Sunday afternoon at my father's home near Rossville, Illinois.  My wedding dress was of white mull* and Ell was trim and handsome in a very dark blue suit.

There were just our immediate families present.  After the ceremony, a wedding repast was served.

A few days before the wedding, I met a friend of mine, Jennie Young, who had heard rumors of my approaching marriage. She questioned me, but I replied, "Now don't you think I'd be awfully foolish to get married just as I am succeeding in my teaching and gaining my independence?"  She half-heartedly agreed with me, but asked us to come over to see her the next Sunday afternoon, or rather evening. 

After our wedding was over, the minister who had united us in matrimony remarked, "I guess I've done all the good I can do here, so now I think I'll go over to see Jennie Young and perform another good deed."

"Is she going to be married today?" I exclaimed.

"I think that is her intention," he replied.

"Well," said I, "if that is the case, she will have a newly married couple at her wedding.  She invited us over today, but did not say it was to be a special occasion."  So over we went to her home to the wedding.

When we offered our congratulations and good wishes, the minister said to her, "Why don't you return the compliment?"

She replied, "What do you mean?  She's not married?"

"'Well," said he, "I guess she is.  I just came from her home after having performed just such a ceremony for them as I have here."

Was she surprised!

"I got ahead of you after all, Jennie," I said, "although you meant to surprise me, by not telling me you were to be married today, when you asked us over."

A heavy shower came up that night, but the next day dawned clear and cold.  This was what they then called "Infair* Day"--the day the groom's people held a reception.

Mother Dopps was a splendid cook and served a most delicious "Infair dinner."  Thus ended the wedding celebrations.

That summer and winter after we were married, I taught school, and the next summer Eli and I went on a belated honeymoon--you might call it--to Ohio to visit my relatives, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

It was a very happy journey, and I was proud of my good-looking husband.

There was one time while we were visiting that they had a good laugh on me.

We had gone to see another young married couple.  They were building a new home, but did not have it quite finished.  The bedrooms upstairs were not yet partitioned, off, although there was lots of room and two beds.

When we got ready to retire, we decided we girls would go upstairs first and get in bed, then the husbands were to come up later.

Just to have some fun at their bewilderment, and I guess, too, to be a little smart, I said to my girl-friend, "We didn't tell Eli which bed he was to sleep in.  Let's cover our heads with the sheets and he won't know where to go."

Up came the husbands all ready for bed.  There we were with the sheets over our heads and not a sound from us.  It was cold, too, for them standing there.  They asked which bed each was to go to--not a sound from us yet.

Then Eli said, "Veil, I'm getting cold standing here and I'm going to get in bed.  I don't care which bed it is."

At that I popped my head up and piped out, "Here I am."

And did they laugh.  The joke was on the joker and I didn't feel quite so smart.

When we returned home everyone was excitedly talking of "going out west."  A chance for a young couple to have adventure, taking up a homestead in the western frontier among the Indians, and at the same time, getting a home started and getting ahead.  We decided this was the thing to do, to take Horace Greeley's advice, "Go west, young man, go west!"  We immediately began to plan to go to the great western frontier.  

*infair - infare, n. Also -fair, -far. Old Scottish infair, a housewarming, 1375; Old English infær, entering. The coming of a bride to her new home and the feast given by the bridegroom to celebrate this, hence often applied more generally to the day succeeding the wedding. Also in U.S. and Ireland and Northern English dialects.

*mull - soft fine sheer cotton or silk fabric


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 © 2006 Laurie Arnold.  All material presented herein was transcribed or otherwise provided by Laurie Arnold from the unpublished text of the diary, family photos and personal genealogy.  She and her family have graciously given permission for the diary to be posted to the Norton County Kansas GenWeb website, for the benefit of others who had pioneer families in Norton County, Kansas. This diary, photos and personal genealogy may not be reproduced, published or re-published for any reason, in any format, without prior written consent of the contributors or copyright holders.  web design © 2006 Ardie Grimes