The Golden Wedding of
Damas and Elizabeth Wheeler
Fifty Years Married, and Fifty Years of
Contented Life on the Broad Shawnee Prairie
It Reads Like a Story of Arcadia - A Model Community
Item and Gossip From the Wea Plains
Tuesday, March 22d, was the scene of a very pleasant event at Shawnee Mound School-house, namely, the celebration of the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Damas Wheeler, and since it was the first that had ever occurred in Jackson township, it created quite a sensation. The family had intended to celebrate the anniversary at the old homestead, but the fire last fall having deprived them of their spacious house, and the present accommodations not being considered sufficient, it was proposed by David Meharry that they have the exercises at the school house. The proposition was accepted. A committee of arrangements was appointed and the invitation extended to all. Accordingly at 10:30 A.M. on the day named the people and their well-filled baskets began to arrive. Soon the loaded tables bore testimony as to the contents of the baskets. To a hungry person it was indeed a goodly sight to look upon. At half past twelve the aged couple arrived, and were conducted to seats in the front. Rev. H. A. Merrill then arose and read an address, after which Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler renewed the pledges which were made fifty years ago. Rev. W. L. Grilling, of Sadous, Ill., led in prayer. After prayer, Rev. Merrill said that he would set an example which he wished every one in the room would follow. He then kissed the bride. Quite a number followed the example. All having the opportunity to extend their greetings, Mrs. Dr. Hunt arose and in a few well chosen remarks, extended congratulations and best wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler. The company were then placed at the tables, and just as each was looking to see what he would eat first, William McMillin arose, and, in a few pointed remarks, presented, in the name of the donors, an envelope containing $33 in gold. Word was then passed "help yourself," and in a short time but the remains of the feast were left.
While the people were eating, your reporter learned that Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler had been residents of Jackson Township, and had lived in the same place, for the past fifty years. Of the family there are three children, twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild. All were present except two. Death has visited the family but once, and then it took a grandchild.
Among the presents we noticed the following: To Mrs. Wheeler: a pair of gold spectacles, by C. H. Kiff, Attica; gold scarf pin, Mrs. Robert Sayers; linen cap border, by Mrs. Griffing; embroidered chair tidy, by Zetta Jennings; motto, "A Token of Love," by Ada Jennings; a pair of nickel plated scissors by Emma Black.
To both, the following persons each presented five dollars in gold: C. H. Kiff, Mr. and Mrs. G. N. Meharry, Samuel Meharry, David Meharry, Jesse Meharry, and John K. McMillin.
The following persons each gave one dollar in gold: H. A. Merrill, Mrs. James C. Carter, Eddie and Flora Meharry, G. W. Odell, A. C. McCorkle, and Mrs. Griffing.
After dinner order was restored and short speeches were made by Samuel Meharry, G. W. Odell, Hugh Wallace, and John K. McMillin. Rev. Merrill then announced that the "Woman's Foreign Missionary Society" had made Sister Wheeler a life member. He also read the following letter from Jesse Meharry:
Damas and Elizabeth Wheeler --
Dear Friends: -- Fifty years ago this fall my wife and I came to this place. I then became acquainted with you. I have been thinking how much the present generation owe to those who shaped our beautiful place. W. L. Newman, uncle of Sister Wheeler, kept the preacher's home. His home was the first temple where God's children met to worship. But three of us are left who sang and prayed together and formed the first class. The rest are not. Good took them. Their names are as ointment poured forth. At that time there was not a carpet in this place. Five dollars would purchase all the furniture found in the cabins. The people were honest and industrious. Profanity and vulgarity were unknown. In fifty years I have never heard twelve oaths. The people have been always kind to me. They have always regarded my feelings. Had my wife lived till the 10th of August and should my own life be spared till then we could have celebrated our golden wedding. As it is she now walks the gold paved streets, waves palms of victory, wears the white robes and a crown. I am alone, yet not alone, for God is with me. We are old. Time with us is short. Soon the Master will bid us go. Let us be ready. If we miss Heaven we miss all. The Lord bless you and spare you to each other till the last.
Your friend, Jesse Meharry.
The tables were cleared and the people dispersed after having expressed themselves as having enjoyed a most delightful time.
Lafayette Weekly Courier, page 1
Friday Morning, April 1, 1881
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