We tend to think of the people of the past as a bit of a gloomy lot.

Maybe it is the old black and white photographs which give this impression – the people always look serious and stern.

But they enjoyed a good time just as much as we do, maybe more so.

In this story from the Sept. 15, 1904 Post-Standard, the good people of a North Side Turner Hall, got themselves pretty worked up over a secret wedding they had not been invited to.

Not so much because they wished to congratulate the happy couple, what they really wanted to do was go to the reception afterwards.

They decided to remedy this, and the results were pure comedy.

The story, reproduced as it was written in 1904, also remind all of us not to listen to rumors and gossip.

People on the North Side were talking about the secret marriage of George Boysen, a prominent member of several of the organizations of that part of the city, last evening.

In Turn Hall about fifty people had gathered to discuss the possibility of the mysterious affair. All agreed that it was about time that George tied the knot, but none could see how he had managed to keep the affair quiet.

One of the assembly had heard that he had been married in the afternoon and was then speeding on his way for a quiet honeymoon. “Ach, but dis’ is awful, vat fun ve missed und vy his broder Bill didn’t tell us I can’t see.”

Another had seen Bill on the streets during the afternoon in his working clothes and all were certain that even he was unaware of the great event. In spite of the rain the members of the drum corps were called together and the crowd shouted with joy when the music makers consented to march through the rain to the home of the girl who they knew must be the happy one.

With signs prepared which read in bold letters, “Just Married,” and a great collection of old shoes, the troop started out. There were a half dozen young women in the crowd who wanted to assist and, lifting their skirts about as high as the water stands in the numerous puddles on the streets of the North Side, they tramped after the corps.

When the band arrived at the supposed bride’s residence in Ash Street the leader gave the signal and the buglers let out a long blast of triumph. The boys with the flutes gave a blow and turning the corner at McBride Street, the troop ran squarely into the supposed-to-have-been married couple standing under an umbrella and silently mourning the fact that the stars were not shining.

The blast from the bugles and flutes suddenly died out when the crowd saw the two standing quietly there. One of the young women ventured to kiss the “bride,” who did not understand why she should be so honored by the maiden.

The serenaders soon guessed that it really had not happened and some started to run. In a moment the whole crowd was off, and the unmarried couple walked into the house to think it over.


The members of the drum corps did not tell anybody of the fact they had been beaten but rallied later in the evening at the home of Miss Elizabeth Emma Miller in Townsend alley, where a marriage ceremony was actually taking place. Miss Miller was married to Ernst Volkmann, one of the members of the drum corps, by Rev. U.J. Klingensmith.

The residence of the bride was decorated with palms and cut flowers. Miss Louise Volkmann of Tarrytown, Conn., a sister of the groom acted as bridesmaid and Henry Merle as groomsman.

The members of the drum corps serenaded the couple during the evening and gave them a royal send-off on their way to New York, Washington and Tarrytown where a reception will be held in the honor of the couple by relatives of the groom who formerly lived in that city.


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1909: Was this the worst umpiring performance in Syracuse baseball history

This feature is a part of CNY Nostalgia, a section on syracuse.com. Send your ideas and curiosities to Johnathan Croyle at jcroyle@syracuse.com or call 315-427-3958.

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