FROM THE ARCHIVES: A golden wedding celebration

From the Archives | Sandy Main

“Pioneer Couple Observe Golden Wedding Day” was the headline of a story the Greenville Independent published in 1927 about an Edmore couple being honored on a milestone anniversary.

The Independent’s account of the occasion offers a fascinating glimpse of a celebration occurring 85 years ago, including the meal (potluck for 300), entertainment (a program with speeches and music) and gifts (gold), and also gives a look at the couple’s early years together some 50 years before.

“The golden wedding anniversary celebration for Mr. and Mrs. Hans Nielsen two and a half miles northeast of Edmore yesterday was the big event in Montcalm county for the day. About three hundred neighbors, relatives and friends from far and wide gathered at the well-known Hansen farm for the big celebration.

“Many from about Greenville and all parts of Montcalm county and others from as far away as Chicago, Detroit and Lansing were present to honor the pioneer couple who were among the first to come from Denmark and settle in Montcalm county.

“Although the Nielsen home is one of the largest in the countryside, it was far from adequate for the crowd and two great tables were set in the yard under tents for the big pot luck dinner from which none of three hundred wedding guests were turned away hungry. An interesting program was given in the afternoon with a talk by Rev. Henry Iverson and some other remarks and some piano music and singing.

“The honored couple were presented with a number of fine golden wedding presents including a sum of money in gold. The old couple were made happy by the many words of friendship and appreciation from the guests as well as the presents.

“Mr. Nielsen is seventy-eight years of age and his companion through the years of toil and happiness is three years younger. The story was told of their courtship back in Denmark where no mails were available and love letters had to be sent back and forth by a friendly lady who acted as Cupid for them.

“They came to Montcalm county after reaching this country, and after helping others for a time, they settled on the present Nielsen homestead forty-four years ago. The farm was entirely in the raw state and it took some real work through many years to convert the forest and stump land into the present well improved large farm.

“They prospered by dint of hard work and good management and gradually fine buildings sprung up on the farm, including a splendid house and big barns and outbuildings. Perhaps from sentiment, all the original buildings which call back the days of thirty and forty years ago were left standing when the new ones were built.

“At first a yoke of oxen, Tom and Jerry, comprised the power outfit on the Nielsen farm. Feeling inclined to get a little sporty and joy ride, the Nielsens then came forth with a two wheeled cart drawn by an old mare. Later prosperity of course put the old mare and the two wheeled cart in the shade for transportation.

“Four daughters and two sons came to bless the household. The six children now all married and away from home are: Victor of this county, Helmer of Detroit, Mrs. Esther Jensen, Mrs. Betty Petersen, Mrs. Laura Mortensen and Mrs. Heljah Hansen, all of Montcalm county.

“Of special note was the presence of a great-great-grandchild of Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen. In fact the complete five generations were represented.”

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