One of the most rewarding moments, during my time at the Murfreesboro Historical Association, was spent attending a local wedding. I've attended many weddings (and just between us - I'm not a big fan of weddings), but this one was unique.
A descendant of one of the Wheeler slaves had decided she wanted to get married at her "ancestral" home ... the John Wheeler House (one of MHA's house museums). I thought it was a brilliant idea and encouraged her by offering to help in any way I could.
Well, it turned out to be one of the hottest, most humid afternoons I can recall - without even the slightest summer breeze. There was absolutely no escape from the mid-day sun. (Oddly, the air conditioning in the house was also not working that afternoon.) But when the bride walked toward the Wheeler house, from the direction of the slave cabin, I forgot all about the heat. I sat there in stunned silence. Here we were, watching a wedding take place on the exact site where the bride's ancestors had been held in bondage.
The fact that this lovely June bride could overcome that painful shared history, and still appreciate the natural beauty of a site where her ancestors had suffered such oppression .... humbled me.
There was a good lesson to be learned that afternoon on the back porch of the Wheeler House. It's a shame that more MHA members were not present.
Some historic Murfreesboro marriage notices:
Near Murfreesboro, on the 27th ult. Mr. Augustus C. Moore, to Miss Mary Finney
(Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette, March 12, 1813)
On the 27th ult. In Murfreesborough, N.C. Mr. Matthias B. Murfree, of Murfreesborough, Tenn. To Miss Mary Roberts, daughter of Benj. Roberts, Esq. decreased, of the former place.
(Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette, June 21, 1816)
At Murfreesboro’, in this state, on the 13th ult. Mr. Benjamin B. Camp to Miss Mary Rea, daughter of Ww. Rea, Esq.
(Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette, March 22, 1822)
In Washington City, on the 19th inst. John H. Wheeler, Esq., a member of our Legislature from Hertford county, to Miss Mary, only daughter of the Rev. O.B. Brown, of that city.
(Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazette, April 26, 1830)
In Murfreesboro’, by the Rev. James Dey, Mr. F.M. Capehart, to Miss Martha Cowper. (Raleigh Register, and North-Carolina Gazettte, November 11, 1830)
At Philadelphia, on Thursday morning, the 8th inst. By the Rev. Mr. Furness, Col. John H. Wheeler, Superintendent of the U.S. Mint, at Charlotte, in this State, to Ellen, daughter of Thomas Sully, Esq. Of Philadelphia.
(Fayetteville Observer, November 14, 1838)
At Murfreesboro’, on the 14th inst. By the Rev. Chas. E. Disbow, Mr. John Kimberly, of New York City, to Miss Carolina Amelia, only daughter of Tristam Capehart, Esq. Of the former place.
(Raleigh Regsiter, and North-Carolina Gazette, July 29, 1842)
On the 19th inst., in the Methodist Episcopal Church, by the Rev. B. Devaney, Dr. Thos. N. Myrick to Miss Julia R. Eldest daughter of John W. Southall, Esq., all of Murfreesboro’, N.C.
(The Weekly Raleigh Register, and North Carolina Gazette, January 05, 1848)