While farms were far apart and neighbors were frequently family members, there were opportunities to mix and mingle. Few went off to university, but those who did frequently returned with wives. Barn raisings and house warmings were popular social events where there was a lot of "handclapping and foot stomping." Travelers were another source of introductions. Relatives still in the East would give directions to a cousin or siblings home with an invitation to stop the night on their way west.
Two brothers from Orchard Grove found their wives -- two sisters -- at a dance hall in Brunswick. Church meetings were another popular place. Couples were much younger and courtships were fairly short by today's standards.
Competition for a young woman was sometimes heavy. In the case of one young man from Shelby County, he lost his girlfriend to his brother when he returned home to get suitable clothing for a proposal. His brother seized the opportunity to propose to the young woman. He told her the brother was not returning and then married her immediately before she could learn the truth.
Once the proposal was accepted plans were made for the wedding, which was generally celebrated at the home of the bride. The ceremony was usually conducted by the local preacher or a circuit preacher. The date was often determined by the circuit preacher's schedule.
On the morning of the wedding day the groom and his intimate friends would assemble at the home of his father and then would depart for the home of the bride. The journey was either by horse, on foot or by wagon. To ensure merriment the bottle was taken along. After the ceremony was performed, dancing commenced and frequently went on until dawn. At the proper time for retiring, a group of young ladies would steal off the bride and take her to bed. Soon after, a group of young men would escort the groom to bed and tuck him in snugly next to his bride.
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