Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fitch-White Wedding (1923)

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 20 December 1923


Yanceyville Dec 19 (1923) The lady members of the Bartlett Yancey high school faculty entertained for Miss Bettie May White at the school building last Friday afternoon from 4 to 5 o'clock. Miss White's wedding to W. F. Fitch will take place December 19.

The guests assembled in the auditorium where a short musical program was rendered. Mrs S. M. Bason sang "Oh Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms," and "In The Gloaming" accompanied at the piano by Miss Ruby Warff. The guests were then invited into an adjoining room which was beautifully decorated with suggestions of Christmastide. A huge white wedding bell was suspended form the center of the ceiling. Miss White was led to a seat beneath the bell and asked to pull the cord and wonderful results would follow. As she did this, a shower of red paper hearts descended, and Miss White, not being able to catch them all, was reprimanded for causing so many broken hearts. About this time a knock was heard at the door and little Arthur Moorefield, Jr., dressed as Santa Claus, came in carrying a large bag on his back, loaded with nice gifts which he gave to Miss White.

Delicious fruit punch and wafers were served by Miss Blanche Pinchback, Florence and Jessie Huff, Ruby Warff, and Mesdames J. W. Crowell, A. Y. Kerr, and Gary Wendell. About 25 guests were present.

Miss White, whose home is near Blanche, teaches the second grade in the school here, and her many friends in Yanceyville are glad to know that she will make her home here.

Dr. H. L. Gwynn and Alvis L. Florance, whose marriages are to take place this month, were honor guests at a dinner given at the Hotel Burton, Danville, last Wednesday evening. About 30 guests were present, including friends from Danville and Yanceyville. Messrs. Robt. W. Isley and W. F. Fitch, whose marriages take place soon, were also given seats of honor.

* Note the Smithsonian has the first song online:

"Oh Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms"

To hear a snippet for free go to Smithsonian Global Sound.

Names Mentioned: Bettie May White; W. F. Fitch; Mrs. S. M. Bason; Miss Ruby Warff; Arthur William Moorefield, Jr.; Miss Blanche Pinchback; Florence Huff; Jessie Huff, Mrs. J. W. Crowell; Mrs. A. Y. Kerr; and Mrs. Gary Wendell.

Bettie (Betty) May White (1885-1972) was a daughter of Ansel Washington White (1834-1913) and Sarah Jane Watlington (1846-1905). On 19 December 1923 Bettie May White married William F. Fitch (1877-1956). He was the son of William Walker Fitch (c.1834-1897) and Cornelia Ann Nash (c.1843-1906). The first wife of William F. Fitch, Fannie Moore (1881-1920) had provided him at least six children, with two or three still at home in 1923. Whether William F. Fitch and Bettie May White Fitch had children is unknown.

Other People Mentioned (school party only)

1. Mrs. S. M. Bason was Mrs. Samuel Murphy (Sam) Bason: Martha Eliza Hatchett (Miss Marnie) Bason (1896-1993). She taught at Bartlett Yancey for several years and had just herself been married in 1921.

2. Miss Ruby Warff is Ruby Mozelle Warf (1904-2000). In 1924 she would marry Joseph Daniel Gwynn, Sr. a brother of Dr. Houston L. Gwynn, M.D.

3. Arthur William Moorefield, Jr. (1917-1975), only six-years old at the time, was the son of Arthur William Moorefield (1893-1976) and Pearl Virginia Smith Moorefield (1895-1969).

4. Miss Blanche Pinchback may have been the second wife (1934) of Samuel Clair Wilkinson (1881-1948). His first wife was Margaret Frances Cooper (1881-1924).

5. Florence and Jessie Huff: no information.

6. Mrs. J. W. Crowell could be the wife of the owner of Crowell Auto in Yanceyville, which became Johnnie Gunn’s Caswell Motor Company.

7. Mrs. A. Y. Kerr is Mrs. Albert Yancey Kerr, Mary Johnston Oliver Kerr (1896-1982), the mother of Katharine, Mary Frances, and George Yancey Kerr.

8. Mrs. Gary Wendell: no information.

In The Gloaming, 1912, words by Meta Orred, set by Annie Fortescue Harrison, is a song in the Irish style, not written by Irish composers, quite common in the early 20th century. There is a sweet love story attached to this song. It seems that an Annie Fortescue Harrison of Sussex was proposed to by a Lord Arthur Hill, sixth Marquis of Downshire. She was not in the same class, so quietly fled. Lord Arthur, devastated by her flight, never forgot her. Fast forward to a London concert. He heard the poignant, lovely lyric to this song and was reminded of his lost love. It set him on a new search for her, he found and wed her! According to one author in my research: the front of the sheet music "which I am holding in my hand" lists the music by Annie Fortescue Harrison and words by Meta Orred. However, on the back is listed: "In the Gloaming" by Lady Arthur Hill! Lord Hill was completely convinced that his lover had written this piece during the time they were apart, as it perfectly describes their parting. I leave it to you.

In the gloaming, oh my darling,
when the lights are soft and low
and the quiet shadows falling
softly come and softly go..

When the trees are sobbing faintly
with a gentle unknown woe,
will you think of me and love me,
as you did once long ago..?

In the gloaming, oh my darling,
think not bitterly of me.
Though I passed away in silence
left you lonely, set you free..

For my heart was tossed with longing,
what had been could never be.
It was best to leave you, thus, dear,
best for you and best for me..

In the gloaming, oh my darling,
when the lights are soft and low,
will you think of me and love me,
as you did once long ago..?


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