Marriage Records

Golden Wedding of John Duncan Harris and Nannie Jane White 1849-1899

There’s nothing like a wedding for celebration – but what about a golden wedding?  A couple who have made it through 50 years of being together, going through good times and bad.  These were a very rare occurrence in the older days simply because death came quickly due to illness, childbirth and disease.  Today, divorce is so prevalent, it truly is a reason for celebration!

This is to certify that I, in pursuance to authority granted by the Clerk of the County Court of the County of Madison, State of Kentucky, did unite in the state of matrimony Mr. John D. Harris to Miss Nannie Jane White, on the 20th of September 1849.  Given under my hand this 29th September 1849.  Azlett Rames

The Daily Leader, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wednesday, September 20, 1899

Golden Wedding

Of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Harris to be Celebrated Tonight

“Blythewood” In Madison

A social event of interest throughout the state is the celebration of their golden wedding by Major and Mrs. John D. Harris this evening at “Blythewood,” their beautiful country home five miles from Richmond.

Major Harris and his wife, who was Miss Nannie White, were married September 20, 1849, the groom being in his twentieth year, and the bride in her eighteenth.  Three children were born to them, namely: Pattie, wife of State Auditor S. H. Stone; Mary, the wife of Col. C. M. Clay, Jr., of Paris, ex-Senator from Bourbon County, and President of the last Constitutional Convention of Kentucky, and John D. Harris, Jr., a promising young man who died in 1883 at the age of 17.

As a statesman Major Harris made a brilliant record and has always been one of the greatest promoters of education in the county, and assisted in the establishment of Central University and Madison Female Institute, both of Richmond, being at present President of the latter college.

In 1888 he was elected by the Democratic State Convention one of the four delegates from the State-at-large to the National Democratic convention, held in St. Louis, the other delegates from the State-at-large being Gen. John B. Castleman, Henry Watterson and Congressman J. A. McKenzie.  At the close of his term as Senator, Major Harris retired from active politics.

The Harris family is perhaps the most prominent in Madison County and Blythewood has always been famous for its delightful hospitalities and guests will attend the golden wedding from all over the state.

Major Harris is a son of Major William Harris and Malinda Duncan, who died in the years 1873 and 1874, respectively.  Mrs. Harris is the daughter of Valentine White, deceased.

The Daily Leader, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Monday, September 25, 1899

The golden wedding on September 20 of Hon. and Mrs. John D. Harris was one of the most enjoyable gatherings in the history of Madison County.  Numberless lights swung on the lawn from the boughs of stately old trees and the bright moonbeams were made softer by their luster.  The guests borne by a chartered train were greeted by delightful music from Saxton’s band wafted through the whispering leaves of the pine wood.  Historic old Blythewood was purchased by Maj. John D. Harris from Col. Joseph C. Anderson and thereby has been in the same family for over a century, who have spared no time nor means to render it most beautiful.  The grand old house with its long porches was decorated with ferns, palms, roses and long silken sprays of golden rod.  The bride and groom, assisted by their daughters and their husbands, Auditor and Mrs. Sam H. Stone and Hon. and Mrs. Cassius M. Clay, Jr., received in the same parlor where they were married fifty years ago.

The bride looked most lovely in her gown of black velvet and white lace, holding in her hand her old wedding bouquet holder filled with bride roses and lilies of the valley.  The groom, in full evening attire, was handsome indeed.  No one would take either to be over 50 years of age.  The bridesmaids were her two daughters, very handsome, robed in their elegant wedding gowns and carrying loose bunches of pink roses.  Back of the bridal party hung a large monogram “H. W.,” of white and yellow roses, and on either side were the dates 1849-1899 in flowers of gold, while among other designs was the lettering, “Two hearts that beat as one.”  There were present many guests from a distance.  Eight of them were at the marriage fifty years ago.

It was a remarkable gathering; the men were tall, distinguished in bearing, handsome, educated and refined; the women were queenly in their magnificence.  “Aunt Sally” and Aunt Emily,” the two nurses of the bride and groom, attired as of old in their white aprons and red bandannas, were shown many attentions by the distinguished guests.  In the course of the evening an elegant supper like the olden time was served, the dining tables being decorated in white and gold.  The presents were beautiful and innumerable – tokens of love, friendship and esteem.

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