Posts Tagged ‘Rev. Dr. Norcross’

Dillon-LaForge Wedding – part 2

August 3, 2009

The bridesmaids and maid of honor, in their white gowns, proceeded up the aisle between guidons and school colors held by cadet sergeants who were stationed at intervals. The bride was escorted up the aisle by Major Mercer. “As the party reached the stage, the bridegroom-to-be attired in a [cadet] captain’s uniform emerged from the first entrance to the left of the brilliantly lighted scene. He was closely followed by the groom’s party consisting of Messrs. Sheldon, Scholder, Venne, Exendine, and Denny, who also wore the full uniform of their rank. As the parties met on the stage, they formed a semi-circle in front of the chancel, before which was the Rev. Dr. Norcross who performed the ceremony.”

Major Mercer gave the bride away and the ceremony continued. At the end of the brief ceremony, “the orchestra again broke forth with the wedding march and the party proceded down the aisle under a canopy of crossed cavalry guidons.” After leaving the auditorium, the bridal party walked the short distance to the gymnasium that had been “elaborately decorated for the occasion,” along with a large number of specially invited guests.

Major and Mrs. Mercer presented the guests to the newly wedded couple. Wedding gifts filled several tables that had been positioned specifically for the purpose. No mention was made of the food served, the music that was played, or the rituals that were observed during the reception. It’s fair to assume that the chicken dance wasn’t one of them.

When the newlyweds departed to catch the ten o’clock train for Washington, they were showered with rice and old shoes. After their honeymoon, they returned to work at the school. He played football on the varsity team the following fall.

Although simple when compared to many contemporary weddings, this celebration was surely much more elaborate than those of all but the wealthiest girls at that time.

Carlisle Indian School Weddings

July 31, 2009

The subject of weddings at Carlisle Indian School recently came up in a conversation with the granddaughter of a Carlisle Indian School student. This subject hasn’t received much attention in the past. Sure, Jim Thorpe’s marriage to Iva Miller was a major national media event in its day, but weddings of non-celebrities or non-celebrities have received little attention since the actual events took place. Let’s take a look at one that might be more representative of student weddings.

Charles Dillon, who is probably best remembered as being the Sioux lineman under whose jersey the pigskin was concealed in the hidden-ball play, was the groom. Rosa LaForge, Crow, was the bride. Because the boys at the school were organized as military cadets, they wore their dress uniforms for the nuptials which were held in the school’s auditorium. The auditorium was full of students and “a large number of invited guests.” The stage was arranged as the alter area of a church, presumably similar to a Presbyterian church because the Rev. Dr. Norcross officiated the Presbyterian ceremony. “The scene already gorgeous beyond description was greatly enhanced by color-sergeant [Nicholas Bowen] taking position with the national and school colors [Mike Balenti] on each side of the stage.”

As the orchestra began playing the Wedding March from Tannhauser, the doors threw open and the bridal party consisting of maid of honor Louise French; bridesmaids Christine Childs, Savannah Beck, Minnie Nick and Annie Goyitney ; and the bride on the arm of Superintendent Major William A. Mercer proceeded up the aisle. “The tall and stately bride was attired in a beautiful white silk gown with a long train. She wore a long veil and carried a gorgeous boquet [sic] of bridal roses. Miss French the maid of honor carried a boquet [sic] of white carnations. Major Mercer appeared in the rich full dress of the army.”

<continued next time>