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The Gazette-Republican; 28 Feb 1931
3 March 1931
Vinton, Iowa, at the home of Mrs. Alice Donley

Vinton Couple To Celebrate Their 74th Wedding Anniversary Tuesday Vinton, Feb. 28-When Mr. and Mrs. George Redington of this city observe their seventy-fourth wedding anniversary Tuesday, it is believed they will have established a record unequalled in Iowa today. Unusual also are the facts that for more than seventy-two years they kept house in their own home, and that there has never been a death in the family circle. Their three children have their homes in Vinton, and the eldest is past 72.

Mr. Redington, who observed his ninety-seventh birthday Feb. 20, is still hearty, and although he cannot see and hear as well as he once could, he looks as if he would top the century mark with flying colors.

Mrs. Redington, 90 years old Feb. 10, is not in the best of health, and it is on account of this that she and her husband have been making their home with their daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Vialou, since a year ago last fall. However, there is no indication that they will not observe their diamond wedding anniversary next year.

How It Started.

The romance which culminated in the wedding of this venerable couple started back in 1856 in Indiana. George Redington, a husky young man who had recently reached his majority and struck out for himself, rode horseback from his home at Greensburg to a community a short distance away to visit some cousins. A crowd of young folk was preparing to attend a spelling school, but when they were ready to go there was one girl, Mary Howell, a stranger to George Redington, who had no means of conveyance. "If you can stick on this nag behind me," said George, "I'll see that you get there." Mary, who was then 15 years old, mounted the horse and made the trip. George found frequent occasions to be in the vicinity of Mary's home after that, and it was less than a year later that they again began "riding double" and have been at it ever since. When they decided to get married George went to the court house in Greensburg (which by the way he helped to build) and applied for a license. Learning that the girl was only 16 years old, the clerk told him he would have to get the written consent of her parents. He started out and had gone only a couple of blocks when he met Mary's father on the street, and the difficulty was soon settled.

Come To Iowa In 1865.

Mr. Redington was operating a draying business in Greensburg at the time of his marriage and they established a home in that town. They continued to live there until coming to Benton county, Iowa in 1865 to establish a home. They have a vivid recollection of the stirring days of the Civil war in Indiana. They, as well as many others, were northern sympathizers living in a hotbed of southern sympathizers. Rebels and bushwhackers made life dangerous and Mr. Redington says it was necessary to sit in the house at night with the doors locked and without lights for fear of getting shot through the windows. An uncle of Mr. Redington was shot and killed one night as he sat in his home. Various other northern sympathizers met the same end.

Rough House In A Church.

When Wilford's cavalry was organized as a protection against bushwhackers, Mr. Redington enlisted as a "100-day man," furnished his own horse and one for his hired hand who had also enlisted, and went for ninety days without pay. Though he was not engaged in any _____ he saw considerable service and on one occasion took part in a _____ after Morgan and his raiders _____ventured into that neighborhood, and who escaped by ____ing a river.

Mr. Redington tells of one occasion during the war when he and his wife and their little daughter were at church when a group of men wearing the butternut insignia of the confederacy came in and started trouble. He says it was the worst "rough house" he ever saw. While there were no firearms in evidence there were plenty of lead and brass "knuckles" and men were being knocked right and left. The intruders were finally worsted and fled and Mr. Redington had as a souvenir a pair of brass knuckles which he took from a fellow he had choked into submission. "I was pretty husky in those days," he said, "and enjoyed the fracas," although my wife and baby were badly scared."

Mr. Redington first came to Iowa in 1853. His father was coming to Benton county, Iowa to take up some land on a soldier's warrant, and wanted him to help on the trip. The party included the parents, a daughter and three sons, one of whom had a wife and four children. They had ten head of horses, eleven cows, and the household goods were loaded in covered wagons. It took 25 days to make the trip. They crossed the Mississippi river at Davenport and continued on until they arrived at the timbered country north of the future site of Vinton on Bear creek. George stayed long enough to help build the log house and see the family settled and then returned to Indiana. Following his marriage he made another trip to this community to visit his parents, driving a team for a man who was going to Marshalltown, for which he was paid $1.50 a day.

In 1865 Mr. and Mrs. Redington came here to establish their home on land near his parents. For fifteen years they lived on this farm, experiencing all the hardships and privations of the early settlers to whom the present generation owes much for the development of this country. Money was scarce, crops brought little or nothing, and markets were far away. They decided to give up framing and moved to Vinton, where they have lived continuously since. Having worked with and loved horses since he was a boy, Mr. Redington took up teaming, and occupation which he followed until the weight of years made it necessary for him to retire.

No Liquor, No Tobacco.

While Mr. Redington has no secret for long life, he attributes his present splendid health to the fact that he always worked out of doors, lived moderately, did not use liquor or tobacco, and tried always to be contented. However, his father lived to be nearly 96 years of age. He is the last of a family of twelve children. He has retained his mental faculties to a remarkable degree and has a wonderful memory. While he would rather talk about the days of long ago, he does not hesitate to express his opinions on present day affairs.

On the liquor question he is outspoken. He feels that the country would be better off if there were no intoxicating liquor, but he thinks that conditions are worse under the present liquor laws than before. He bases his opinion on his personal experiences from the days when the whisky barrel was a part of the equipment of every hotel, restaurant and many stores, down to the present. He is also of the opinion that we are living too fast these days for our own good. When asked if he thought the people of today were happier or more contented with all the advantages they have than they were in his younger days, he said he did not think so. "Young folk in those days did not have the variety of entertainment they have now and could enjoy things more," he said. "They were also better contented with what they had." However, he intimated that the conveniences of today added considerable comfort to life, especially when age comes on. He also said that folk who complain of hard times these days do not know what they are talking about.

Voted For Lincoln.

Mr. Redington is proud of the fact that he voted for Abraham Lincoln for President. "I saw Abe a number of times, as well as members of his family," he said. "He spoke in our town from the rear end of the train while on his way to Washington to become President," he continued.

Mrs. Redington has been a true companion and helper to her husband during all of the seventy-four years of married life, and regrets that she is no longer able to care for their home which is located just across the street from where they live with their daughter. "There is nothing so tiresome as just sitting in a chair," she said as she sat sewing rags for a rug which she was making. "I like to have something to keep me busy, now that I do not have a house to "keep up."

Besides Mrs. Vialou, with whom they live, there is another daughter, Mrs. Alice Donley, and a son, Will Redington, all of whom see to it that the parents have all of the comforts possible in their evening of life.

The wedding anniversary Tuesday will be observed with a family dinner at the home of Mrs. Donley, with probably a few old friends as guests.

Submitted on Jun 6, 2001 by
Maureen Duncan,

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