Preparing for Society Wedding on Martha’s Vineyard

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    Fed Cong church steeple 2        D.R. Anthony married Anna Eliza Osborn in January 1864 in the Congregational Church (now known as the Federated Church) located on the same block Anna’s beautiful home that faced the sea.

Doubtless Anna’s side of the family was well-represented, but it does not appear than it was a convenient time for D.R. or any of his family.

In Ida Husted Harper’s Life and Works of Susan B. Anthony(p. 222), Susan marked the death of her father Daniel Anthony the previous November. With a heavy heart she resumed her abolitionist and woman suffrage activities from her post in New York City. Among other things, she was in the midst of securing petitions for an antislavery amendment that would eventually result in 400,000 signatures and sway Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment on January 31, 1865.

Many generous gifts to the Anthony women after the elder Daniel’s death indicate that D.R. took up the mantle of paterfamilias. For example, he frequently sent Susan railroad tickets and, as the docents at her Madison Street home tell it, he gave Susan a beautiful silver brush and mirror set engraved with her name.

Here is her biographical note (p. 235) about D.R.’s wedding:

“In January [1864] the brother Daniel R. came East for his beautiful young bride, and the mother [Lucy Anthony, mother of D.R. and Susan] from her quiet farm-nook sends her petition to New York. She can not manage the ‘infare’ unless Susan comes home and helps. So she drops the affairs of government long enough to skim across the State and lend a hand in preparing for this interesting event….”

This suggests the Anthonys celebrated the bridal couple in Rochester, rather than Martha’s Vineyard.

It is curious that D.R. would have married so far from home at that time of year. Not only was Martha’s Vineyard a chilly seven-mile boat ride off the mainland of New England, it was 1,500 miles from D.R.’s home in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was currently serving as mayor of a busy boomtown. Sounds like he, too, dropped the affairs of government for this “interesting event.”

More on the actual wedding next time.

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