by David Parmer
The morning of Tuesday, May 28th 1912 promised to be a nice day. Spring breezes wafted the deep earthy smells of freshly plowed gardens across Flint Bluff in Orlando and through the open windows of St. Michael’s Catholic Church. The many orchards cultivated around Orlando added a sweet smell of apple blossoms to the air, providing a perfect aura for the important event about to happen on this perfect day.
Father Thomas Quirk
The wedding of Mayme Moran and Michael McDonald would not draw such an overflowing crowd as the dedication of the church in 1907, but the well-wishers would fill the church to capacity. As Father Quirk was aware, the outside grounds of the church could well hold a wedding party for photographs to preserve the occasion for posterity. Surely on the beautiful day of May 28, 1912, there would be a photographer present.
Guest Arrivals and Well-Wishers
Flowing White Dresses
Ladies in flowing white dresses and wide brimmed, beribboned hats came into Orlando by train and carriage, escorted by fine-hatted and suited gentlemen, and as the festooned wedding party ascended Flint Bluff toward St. Michael’s, the depot hangers-on and the loafers on the Oldaker, Doc Means, and Rachel Kidd store porches were treated to quite a sight. It must have been a pagent to the mostly Protestant community whose marriage ceremonies were typically performed by the preacher in the bride's home, never in the church. And compared to the simple service of the Protestant tradition, to any little boy with enough courage to peek in the church window the Roman Catholic wedding with the celebration of mass must have seemed like an exotic, mysterious ritual being performed in a magic language.
The Burnsville Kanawha Banner
Right: Mayme with her brothers and sister and their mom, Margaret Ellen (Griffin) Moran.
Left to right: Jim, Mike, Kate, Mayme, Tom Charley Pete, Bill, Martin and Pat.
Mayme and her older sister, Catherine, and their mother Margaret were the only females of the family. Consequently, Mayme was kept busy with domestic and outside chores when she was growing up on Grass Run. A family of fourteen requires a great deal of feeding and washing and mending, tasks generally undertaken by the females of the household. So, in an energetic family, unacquainted with slothfulness, Mayme knew the value of hard work and did her share in the Moran home. Mayme’s sister Catherine married in 1900 when she was twenty-one. Consequently, for the next twelve years Mayme and her mother were left to perform the household chores for the large Moran family.
Mike Moran of Orlando was in his fifties when he married and had been widowed when his four children were in their teenage years and younger. Mike recognized that his children needed a woman’s touch that he couldn’t provide. Consequently, his sister Mayme graciously opened her home to her nephew John Michael Moran of Orlando. John Michael lived with his Aunt Mayme for three years while attending St. Patrick’s High School in Weston.
John Michael recalls his uncle Mike McDonald as a very nice man, easy going and never excited. “Uncle Mike was a very good violin player who could play anything,” John said, and remembers his dad saying that Mike McDonald had “the best bow of any musician he knew.” There was lots of entertaining Irish violin music to listen to when he lived with his aunt and uncle. John Michael recalls that often his uncle Mike would play the violin and would be accompanied by his aunt Mayme on the piano. John Michael was also amazed how much energy his aunt Mayme had, because every Sunday she always had lots of company.
The oldest child, Michael Edward, was ordained as a Catholic Priest in 1941, and was affectionately known to his parishioners as “Father Ed.” John Raymond was a long-time employee of the Citizens Bank in Weston and married Agnes Josephine Gissy. Mary Catherine married Matthew Gissy of Weston. James Francis married Wilma Chidester and was a long-time employee of Equitable Gas Company and later with the Commonwealth Gas Company of Richmond, Virginia. Charles Bernard married Alice Prichard of Weston. Charles served as postmaster of Jane Lew.
Requiescat in Pace- Rest in Peace.
comment 1 Donna Gloff
In Orlando in the early 1900s, a Roman Catholic wedding was very different from a Methodist Protestant or United Brethren wedding. A protestant wedding would most likely be held in the bride's parents' home, a neighbor's or family member's home, or at the parsonage: the preacher's home. There are even marriage licenses on which the preacher claims he married the couple on the road, in the presence of friends. No photos have surfaced of a Protestant bride in a white gown before the 1950s. While the weddings were not in the church, they were of the church. It is extremely rare to see a wedding performed by a civil official rather than an ordained minister or deacon