Mr. and Mrs. Rianzo Keros Atherton

Married 50 Years

THE SUN, Red Oak, Iowa, Friday, February 20, 1914




And They Made Their Wedding Trip to California, Crossing the Plains With an Ox Team in a Trip of Five Months.


    When people move from the farm into the town their old neighbors seldom forget them. When opportunity offers they perform some kindly deed as an earnest of their high regard. Not infrequently they plan a surprise visit, bringing all the good things to eat with which the larder on the farm is generally so amply provided.

   And so it was last Saturday when a host of good people came into Red Oak and invaded the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rianzo Keros Atherton, at 606 Corning Street, they remembering that on that day 50 years ago these two people had been married back in Lee County, Iowa. The friends who came were old neighbors living in Sherman Township north of Red Oak, where Mr. and Mrs. Atherton first settled when they came to Montgomery County a quarter of a century ago. There were more than three score of them.

   In the language of Mrs. Matilda Atherton “they came upon us like a volunteer invading army approaching the enemy; they came, they captured, the skirmish was of short duration, the besieged surrendering unconditionally.”

   The visitors brought with them all the good things to eat, the visit being one of surprise and left no opportunity for the hosts to provide for such an occasion. The day was spent in special concourse and following the bounteous dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Atherton were presented with $11 in gold, the metal being emblematical of the 50th or golden anniversary of their marriage.

   Mr. Atherton is a native of Ohio, born in Newark, Licking County. At the beginning of the civil war he enlisted as a soldier but owing to some fancied physical defect he was rejected by the examining physicians. Later he must have outgrown the defect and today is a man of rugged health and no person guessing his age would place it anywhere near high enough.

   Mrs. Atherton is a native of Iowa, born in Lee County and she too has a more youthful appearance than most people expect to see in persons who have been married for half a century. Her maiden name was Matilda Graham.

   It was on the 14th day of February 1864, that they were married in Keokuk, Iowa, and it was only a few weeks later, or on the 26th of April, that they started on a wedding trip, which for novelty and interest cannot in this age of the world be equaled. They started from home with an ox team to make the journey across the plains to California, they reaching their goal at the end of a journey of five eventful months.

   One of the many incidents on their way was the overtaking of a party of emigrants who had been robbed of most of their belongings by the Indians. This was near Laramie, Wyo. The train, which they overtook, was stranded and were compelled to return to Denver to buy a new supply of horses and oxen. The Indians had twice stampeded their animals; they frightened them by riding into camp with buffalo skins thrown over their heads. The first time the animals were stampeded 29 of them failed to get away, which left them horses to ride to go in pursuit of the marauders. They were successful in overtaking the Indians and in rescuing their horses and mules. But the Indians came again the second time and on that occasion all the animals broke away.

   When Mr. and Mrs. Atherton reached California they located in Plumas County and remained there 12 years. About this time the pioneer transcontinental railway line, the Union Pacific, was completed, and they concluded to go back East by a more rapid and more comfortable method than that employed on their wedding journey. They went back by rail in 1876 and after a time located in Appanoose County, Iowa, remaining there 12 years also, and in 1888 came to Montgomery County.

   They concluded first to sample the soil, so they rented a farm from the late Phil Johnson, seven miles north of Red Oak. After living on this farm for a year they concluded the soil could not be excelled anywhere and the farm was purchased. They lived on the place until three years ago and then came into town. Here they are happy and contented, loved and esteemed by their neighbors and hosts of friends, whose fervent wish is that all may enjoy life and happiness until the time may come when all may assist in celebrating the diamond wedding of this estimable couple.

   Mr. and Mrs. Atherton request The Sun to make acknowledgement to their many long time friends and neighbors for the kindness and consideration which prompted them to extend the courtesies on the occasion of their golden wedding, expressing gratitude for helping them to spend a day which will linger in their memory for many years.