First Wedding Picture
Floy's Edith Talley's

from Floy's Album
by Laura Novella Smith
Second Wedding Picture

After the Christmas party, Walter came by our house almost every day. Then one time he asked me to marry him. Telling me of the plans he had made to visit his family in Roswell on the 20th of January, he insisted that we get married right away so I could go with him as his bride, and that would be our honeymoon.

I didn't know, though, if I wanted to get married at that time. I felt I was still young, just eighteen, and Papa had always told me that I had to stay in school. So the thought of a man courting me had not even entered my mind. But the thought of having to go back to Capitan again so as to finish the ninth grade finally made me decide to get married. When Walter came by the next day, he started teasing, saying that our house was so close to the street that he could tie his horses to the door knob. Then when we were alone I told him I had made up my mind to marry him, so we made plans to be married on 9 January, 1909.

I thought about my wedding dress. While working for Maude Whorton, I had saved enough money to buy the material to make Agnes and me a blouse and skirt for Christmas. The material for the blouse was a cream color, and the skirt material was brown; both were cashmere, a fine wool. I paid two dollars and fifty cents a yard for the material. We made the blouse full at the waist so it would gather when the band of the skirt was fastened, making the waist look very small. The sleeves were puffed down below the elbow; then we attached a slim, tight cuff which came down to cover the wrist, and added a straight band collar from the skirt material. The skirt was ankle length, with several gores to make it swing at the bottom. I had also bought a brown felt hat with a feather on it, which cocked over one side of my head. My shoes were blue kid leather, ankle high, with very sharp toes and medium high heels. Mama and Papa both said we were foolish. I would have been only 19 in April, while Walter would be 36 on the 6th of January. They were probably more concerned with our difference in age and also because, to their knowledge, I had never been courted by him.

On the day of our wedding Walter came for me driving a team of horses pulling a two-seated buggy. He brought his sister, Ethel, and her four oldest girls: Noveline, Maude, Ruby and Mary Ethel (who we called "Blax"). Walter hadn't even told them of our wedding plans until he had picked them up that day.

Not one of my family went with us to the court house, although Charles R. Hurst and May Rogers came on horses. May was Walter's age, and they had been good friends for years, since Walter often played the violin for the neighborhood dances; those were usually held at May's house or at any neighbor's place who would open their house for people to gather.

Walter had been telling everyone he saw that he was going to get married, but no one believed him. They all knew that neither May Rogers nor Lula Hurst (not related to Charles) would have him. They'd even say that no one in that country would marry him.

When we finally arrived at the court house we went into the first little room where Probate Judge Doroteo and Peter A. Schmidt, the Deputy Clerk, had their offices. And then as the people in town saw us drive up they started to gather and then crowded into the little room.

As we were being married, Ethel and her girls were crying so loudly that we could hardly keep our minds on giving our vows and signing the papers. I don't think they would have cried as much at a funeral as they did at our wedding. I guess I was taking away their Uncle Walter who had always carried them so many places and had been with them so many years.

A photographer and his wife had set up a tent in the court house yard, so Walter told me to come have our picture made. But when I started into the tent to tidy up for the picture, he asked the woman there if she had a longer skirt I could put on; he thought mine was too short. So the woman brought me a longer skirt which almost covered my shoes. Then Walter asked her if she had a hat like his, "a man's hat," because he thought mine was too fancy.

Then to fix my hair I used a round "rat" made of mesh wire. I first pulled the hair up and over the rat in the front, then pulled the hair from the bottom and twisted it together to form a knot on the top of my head. First they took my picture with the hat off. But then, before the next picture was taken, Walter grabbed the man's hat and put it on my head, pushing my hair down, then putting a pair of men's gloves with high cuffs on my hands. Meanwhile, Walter was wearing a pair of striped California pants with a solid color suitcoat and a flowered string tie. He had a brother, Riley, who had a merchantile store there in Capitan.

After all the well-wishes of the crowd were done we went over to Mama and Papa's to have dinner; then we took Ethel and the girls back up the mountain to the Baca Ranch. (Baca means "cow" in Spanish.) She had moved to Capitan to send her children to school during the week, but always spent the weekends and holidays at the ranch. That evening we went back to Mama's and spent the night, then went back to the ranch the next day.