A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for Nathan SEELEY/Pauline Taylor BARNUM
The New York Times
, March 2, 1866. Marriage of Mr. P. T. Barnum's Daughter. Brilliant Display in Bridgeport - New Features in the Marriage Ceremony - Grand Reception - Large Company - Fashion and Beauty in Church, &c. Special Correspondence of The New York Times.
Bridgeport, Thursday, March 1, 1866. This town has been in a great flutter from an early hour this morning till late this afternoon. Carriages driven by men having on their breasts white rosettes admonished the people that something out of the ordinary line of Bridgeport life was on foot. So many carriages were never seen in the place before; hence the inquiry on all hands: "What is it?" The milliners, most of whom were in the secret, let it out, and by noon the announcement that Hon. P. T. Barnum was going to offer his last and youngest daughter, Pauline, upon the altar of Hymen, was in general circulation, and ladies hastened to the South Congregational Church, where the ceremonies were to take place. At a few minutes before 12 o'clock the doors of the church were thrown open, and no place of worship was ever before filled so soon, nor by so much beauty. The body of the church was reserved for the friends of the Barnum family, who were about 500 in number. Mr. Bartholomew, the accomplished organist of the church, entertained the audience with the performance of some admirable selections appropriate to the occasion. Rev. Dr. Lord, Pastor of the church, and Rev. Abel C. Thomas, officiated. The name of the bride was Pauline T. Barnum, and that of the bridegroom Nathan Seeley, of the firm of Seeley & Stevens, New-York. The bridesmaids were Miss Julia C. Crissy, Miss Georgie C. Moody and Miss Irena J. Butler. The groomsmen were Adrian Hegeman, Jr., of Hoover, Calhoun & Co., Russell Howell, of M. A. Howell & Co., and T. S. Terry, of Weston & De Billier. The "gentlemanly ushers" were M. V. B. Smith, of E. A. Smith & Bros., David Scott, of Vernon & Bros., and Samuel H. Wheeler, of Yale College.
Of the attire in which the bridal party appeared a lady present summed up its description in the following laconic and sensible terms: "The bride was dressed in white satin, and the bridesmaids in tarleton. They were all flowered, and dressed in excellent taste, and looked lovely."
The ceremony was original, and was a decided improvement upon the forms usually adopted on such occasions. Instead of pronouncing the bridal pair "man and wife," Dr. Lord pronounced them "husband and wife," which, of course, is right. There were other features about the ceremony which won the good opinion of the vast congregation, and made many a lady long ago married wish for another wedding, so as to have things done according to the Lord. When the question was asked, "Who giveth this woman," &c., Mr. Barnum stepped forward and put the right hand of Pauline into that of the minister without the slightest hesitation, or, as a lady near the immediate scene observed, "He didn't shed a tear, did he?"
After the ceremony had been duly solemnized, the party repaired at once to the delightful residence of Mr. Barnum, on the Fairfield road, a locality which never was fairer than it was to-day, rendered so by the beauty and fashion not only of Bridgeport, but of other places North, South, East and West. The company was happy and sociable. It was composed of youth, age and intelligence. [Here is omitted a list of important guests].
The company was brilliant, and each member of it seemed to be arrayed so as to bring out in bold relief -
The charms which beauty can disclose.
The table did not groan, (it was no occasion for groaning,) but sang loudly the praises of Mr. Barnum. It was arranged with taste as well as abundance, and its blessings were inexhaustible.
Of the presents to the bride, although they were all valuable, there was one which the recipient will prize more than all the others. The following note will best describe it:
Bridgeport, Feb. 28, 1866.
My Dear Pauline: I have woven you a wreath for your wedding-day, of flowers made of the hair of those nearest to you. It represents four generations, all of whom are still living upon the earth—an unbroken family circle from your aged grandmother down to dear little Barnum Thompson. If there is a single thorn among the flowers I do not know it; none but pleasant thoughts have been woven in by me, and looking over the history written upon it I cannot find any cause of regret or sorrow for you. When I consider the rich blessing that has surrounded all your past life, I feel a hope that the same loving goodness of the Lord may crown your future and allow no thorns to grow around you.
Hitherto parental love has shielded you from every care; but you are now about to take upon yourself in the relations of wife the higher duties and active responsibilities of womanhood. May you, in a faithful performance of these, fins your life grow fresher and stronger year by year. May the arm of flesh upon which you are about to lean prove strong and true. May old age find no diminution of your marriage love; and may the Lord's right arm guide you both into the way of peace everlasting, is the prayer of your friend,
M. L. Thomas.
This wreath is indeed a beautiful piece of art, and the other properties which it possesses make its value great to the bride.
Passing over many things I might refer to, I conclude by saying that the spirit evinced by Mr. Barnum was the same in this as in everything which his hand finds to do. It was the wedding of his last daughter and his last child, and its celebration was conducted nobly. I may properly refer to the fact that no stimulants were present, and I have no doubt that to this excellent feature is due the complete success of the affair.
The bridal party and their immediate friends left for New-York at 5 o'clock in two magnificent cars, obtained for the occasion by Conductor John Bradley, of the New-York and New-Haven Railroad. To the bride and bridegroom let us wish much happiness and long life to enjoy it.
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