Angola weddings 1.30.08

Written by David Green.

Some couples did it on the sly. Others made the choice for simplicity’s sake. Some were in a hurry and just wanted to get the deed done.

No matter what the reason, there were dozens and dozens of couples from southern Michigan and northwest Ohio who chose to marry in Angola, Ind., during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

“I think it was a fad around that time,” said Wilma Fink, who married there in 1939, and she thinks she knows the reason why.

“It was after they put in a law in Michigan about applying for a license and waiting three or four days,” she said.

When some couples made the decision to get married, three or four days was simply too long.

From the Morenci area, Angola was the first county seat in Indiana for matrimony-minded couples.

Wilma and her then-boyfriend Charlie were students at Adrian College when they headed to Indiana. They planned to go to LaGrange, but the car started coughing and sputtering around Fayette.

They had it checked out, but of course there was no problem when the mechanic drove it for a test, so on they went toward Indiana.

“It started coughing again so we decided Angola was just far enough,” Wilma said.

They asked about a Congregational Church, but there wasn’t one in town so they went to the Methodist parsonage. The pastor accepted whatever payment was offered, which wasn’t much.

“I think Charlie only had five bucks,” Wilma said.

They stopped for a hamburger on the way home—probably in Fayette—then drove back to the college.

“I went to a sorority party that night and Charlie went to a fraternity party.”

It was a clandestine affair and three weeks passed before Wilma mentioned her new status to her mother. Was she angry? No, she had another concern.

“What were you wearing?” her mother asked.

Wilma told her and her mother was satisfied.

“At least you were dressed decently,” she said.


  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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