This & That

Story published: 10-02-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Grandparents' weddings were considered important events

By Jack Swift

As I look back to the year late 1800s and late 1900s, I am reminded of some special times before my life began 75 years ago. I am not a genealogist, but I have dabbled in my family history a bit from both my fatherís and motherís side. I noted recently in a marriage record book the date when my paternal grandfather and grandmother were married. It was on January 24, 1886 When David Elkanah Swift and Sarah Fine Grindstaff said their vows and started their lives together. They raised four daughters and three sons. The youngest of them was my father. October 14, 1900 was the marriage date of my maternal grandparents Noah Webster Harper and Mary Ellen Victoria Gentry. They raised seven children: two sons and five daughters. The fourth one was my mother.

As I think about those four grandparents, I am reminded of how important they were in my life. I felt their love and concern during the different phases of my life. I always enjoyed visiting them. Iím sure it wasnít easy to raise seven children in that era. Times were hard and the United States was mostly agrarian. Farming was the occupation of my grandparents.

As I was thinking about those times in my grandparentsí lives, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back and find some events that took place in those years. In the year 1886 when my fatherís parents were married, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty which was a gift from the people of France to America.

Several important events took place in the year my motherís parents were married. Work began on the New York Subway. Galveston, Texas was the scene of one of the most destructive hurricanes in history. Winds of 135 mph blasted that city and an estimated loss of life was between 6,000 and 12,000 lives. A number of electric cars were sold in 1900. Now there is much interest in electric cars and some companies are trying to improve on them. Who knows, perhaps electric cars will one day be the norm.

In 1901, the first wireless was transmitted by Radio pioneer and inventor Guglielmo Marconi. The signal was sent over 2000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Poldhu in Cornwall, England to Newfoundland, Canada. The year 1901 was also the year that William McKinley was assassinated. It happened on September 6, and he died eight days later on September 14. Vice president Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States on September 14, 1901.

Englandís Queen Victoria died at the age of 81. She had become queen at the age of 18 and had ruled for almost 64 years. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden also in 1901. Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and other explosives, was the beneficiary. prizes were awarded in the fields of Chemistry Physics, Medicine, Literature and Peace. Perhaps not as important as some of the other events, but certainly a labor saving device was the Vacuum Cleaner invented by Hubert Cecil Booth. It was refined in 1902, and became very popular over time. 1901 was also the year the safety razor was massed produced.