Displaying items by tag: Weddings

You have probably heard us say this many times, but we really do find some of the most interesting stories when we are looking for something else entirely! This time I was looking for Elkton marriage announcements and stumbled onto this story about another marriage.

June 5 1930

June 5, 1930, Times Herald

Mary McClellan, a patient at Norristown State Hospital, went missing on June 2, 1930. She was found a few days later in Philadelphia with a former hospital attendant, William Hamel.

June 6 1930 follow up

June 6, 1930, Times Herald

It turns out William helped Mary escape. After switching out of hospital clothes, Mary met William on hospital grounds where he sneaked her out using a car he had leased in Norristown. According to the Times Herald, the pair drove right through the main gates of the hospital.

June 13 1930 pag 19

June 13, 1930, Times Herald

After stopping at William's home at 229 North Eleventh Street, Philadelphia, they then drove to Camden to get married. However, since they were not residents of New Jersey, they were sent back to Pennsylvania. They had better luck in Media, Delaware County, where they were able to obtain a marriage license. 

Their marriage only lasted for two days. William was arrested and taken to the county jail in Norristown. Mary was taken back to Norristown State Hospital. According to the Times Herald, authorities annulled the marriage. William ended up paying a $10 fine and spent a month in jail.

I did a little digging to try to learn more about Mary. I located a Mary McClellan in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census. In both censuses she was listed as being a patient at Norristown State Hospital. If I have the right Mary, she was born around 1899, so she would have been about 31 years old in 1930. Neither censuses lists the reason for her being at the hospital nor do they list any of Mary's family members.

It is important to note, while older documents such as the above newspapers used phrases like "Lunatic" and "Insane" to describe patients at State Hospitals, these terms are no longer used by the health care industry. As doctors learn more about mental illnesses, less derogatory words have been used to better explain each patient's unique circumstance.


Published in Found in Collection
Thursday, 08 December 2022 19:26

Wedding Invitations

Most of us have received or mailed wedding invitations at some point in our lives. With increasing computer technology, printing invitations is relatively easy compared to the early 20th century printing process.


This is an example of a printing plate that was used to print a wedding invitation. The words were engraved in reverse into a piece of metal, typically an alloy of metals such as lead, copper, zinc, or magnesium. Ink was applied to the plate and then a piece of paper was pressed against it. The resulting printed invitation would then be legible, with the words facing the correct way. This particular invitation states:

"Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Stover keen announce the marriage of their sister Jessica Marsteller to Lin Ambros Dettra Thursday March the second nieteen hundred and sixteen."

According to the census records, Jessica and Lin lived much of their lives in Norristown. Lin started as a farmer, but by 1930 became a clerical worker at a local tire company.

20221208 141712

Here is another example of a printing plate This one states:

"Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Pierce Ryder request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Ruth Dodson to Captain Joseph Knox Fornance on Saturday, the fifth of April at twelve o'clock at the First Presbyterian Church Norristown, Pennsylvania."

Ruth and Captain Fornance were married in 1930. Captain Fornance was a prominent soldier, lawyer, and civic leader in Norristwon. He grew up on Selma farm, which still stands today and is operated by the Norristown Preservation Society.




Published in Found in Collection