Previous posts in this series can be found here.
It was only 1-1/2 years after she graduated high school that Mary Lou married John Joseph Gallagher. They were wed on 20 January 1945 at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Indianapolis by the Reverend Ronald J. Hostetter.
I know this, not because I have a marriage certificate, but because I have the actual Catholic missal that my grandmother carried during her wedding.
The missal contained the “script” for the wedding mass. It also contained a list of witnesses and a certificate signed by the priest. (I’ve also found that not only do chopsticks make great back scratchers, they are also excellent page holder-openers).
The witnesses that signed Mary Lou’s missal were:
- Walter W. Gallagher (John’s father)
- Jeannette [Crowe] Tritch (Mary Lou’s sister)
- Shirley Slye
- Bette Cross
- Mary Desleth S.H.
- Harold J. Crowe, Sr. (Mary Lou’s father)
- Lucile F. [Stiker] Crowe (Mary Lou’s mother)
- Ruth L. [Burrows] Gallagher (John’s mother)
- Robert R. Stiker
- Melvin R. Herbig
- Olive L. [Crowe] Bartlowe (Mary Lou’s aunt)
- Eunice R. Slye
I have indicated those witnesses whose relationship to my grandparents is known to me. I’m pretty sure that Shirley Slye, Eunice Slye, Bette Cross, and Mary Desleth are all friends of my grandmother’s – and two of them may have been her bride’s maids, along with her sister Jeannette. The one that puzzles me the most is Robert R. Stiker. I have no person in my tree by that name, yet Stiker is Mary Lou’s mother’s maiden name. According to the 1940 U.S. census, Mary Lou’s mother’s brother Justin had a son named Robert. He was 13 years old in 1940, and would have been around 18 years old in 1945. More research.
Another thing that I always thought was interesting is that according to family lore, John’s best man was essentially a stranger. The story goes that the family had to go door-to-door around the neighborhood to find a best man because nearly all the men in town were off fighting in the War.
This may be true … and the person may be Melvin R. Herbig who signed as a witness. He is, after all, the only other presumably unknown male on that list. A cursory look at the 1940 census yielded only one Melvin Herbig in the Indianapolis area. He is the 13-year-old son of Henry Herbig, and would have been around 18 at the time of the wedding. I believe this is the same Melvin R. Herbig who joined the U.S. Army in March 1945. They lived at 216 Webb Street in Indianapolis, one street over from the Madison Avenue address where my grandmother lived in 1940. I’m curious why one of the other men couldn’t have been the best man … was there some sort of rule against it? Or is the family legend simply that?
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