By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator
Facebook Memories can be a wonderful thing. Earlier this month, a memory popped up of my wedding party on the front steps of Henry House. Nine years ago this January, my husband and I got married in the schoolroom exhibit in Robinson House. Archivist Jennifer, who also got married in the schoolroom, inspired us to do the same. The benefit of being a staff member at the Museum also meant that I had the opportunity to go where few other wedding parties had gone – inside Henry House!
While reminiscing, I also began to think about the other weddings that had occurred in the house, much farther in the past. If you were lucky enough to attend our Lamplight tour in December, you may have had the chance to hear the Durham Storytellers tell the “Ballad of Jennie Henry,” the story of her and her sister’s weddings in Henry House.
Thomas and Lurenda Henry’s third daughter, Clarissa, married Cassius Payne Stone on December 22, 1868. Another service on Christmas day had Elder Tatton scheduled, dashing the couple’s hopes of being married on December 25. Nonetheless, they still celebrated their anniversary on Christmas Day. Fifty years later, in 1918, they celebrated their Golden Anniversary on Christmas Day at the home of their son in Toronto.
Jennie Henry, Thomas and Lurenda’s youngest daughter, married her husband, John Luke McGill, just a few years later on January 1, 1872. In the Victorian era, brides would wear a lace cap instead of a wedding ring; Jennie was the first bride in the Henry family to wear a ring. From then on, the family gave rings to replace the lace caps. I find it peculiar that there are (seemingly) no photos of either occasion, since there were many photographers in the family at that time.
Throughout the years, there have been descendants of the Robinson and Henry families that have had weddings in and near their ancestral homes. I feel fortunate to be in good company.