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Vital Records


Mr. Randolph Watkins and Miss Matilda Catherine Kerrihard 56th Wedding Anniversary

CELEBRATE FIFTIETY-SIXTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Red Oak Couple Wed Fifty-six Years

RED OAK, Ia, Jan 1. -- Fifty-six years ago Christmas eve, under the first public Christmas tree in Red Oak accompanied with a wedding march on the first piano ever brought into this city, Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Watkins were married, (by) Rev. Andrews in the first Methodist church built in this city and now used as an apartment  house.

In honor of the occasion, the symbol of the Yuletide season--the Christmas tree--was the principal feature of the decorations in the Watkins home where their children and many relatives gathered to celebrate the event, the entire party attending the Christmas exercises at the Methodist church Christmas eve beside in recollection of the past event when the best gift on the old fashioned Christmas tree comprising a hickory tree with trunk and limbs wrapped in cotton and the decorations composed of pop corn string and muslin strips soaked in alum which when dry produced the glistening stincel effect on which was placed the marriage certificate which launched a happy companionship that has continued down through the years.

The first piano ever brought to Red Oak was in the old church and Mr. and Mrs. Watkins recall that for a short time it was feared that this wonderful instrument could not be used for the occasion as there was no one in the city that could play a piano. However, Mrs. DeLay happened to be spending the Christmas holiday in Red Oak and she was able to play and consented to do so for the event, thus eliminating the only possible marr (sic) to the occasion.

Mrs. Watkins has resided in this community for the past sixty-three years as a continuous resident. Her maiden name was Matilda Catherine Kerrihard. She was born in Bloomsburg, Marion County, Pa., August 17, 1849. With her parents she came to Red Oak from Davenport in 1861.

Mr. Watkins was born in Vernon, Ohio, December 8, 1844, and came to this city in an early day from Monmouth, Ill. He is unable to give the exact date but it was a short time after his wife came here with her parents.

They were the parents of three children, one having died. Two daughters, who were at home in honor of the event were Mrs. W. M. Lloyd, of Ogden, Utah, and Mrs. Harry E. Stevens, of Red Oak. They are the grandparents of eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Mrs. Lloyd and great granddaughter, Joyce Hall, of Ogden, and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stevens and family were among the relatives present at the festivities which commemorated the anniversary.

Mrs. Watkins celebrated her 75th birthday in August and Mr. Watkins was 80 years of age December 8, but despite their advanced years they are hale and hearty and enjoy the blessings that come to those in happy wedlock in their fine home at 611 Second street in Red Oak.

Red Oak Express, Red Oak, Iowa. Friday, January 1, 1925, Special to The Nonpareil

~submitted by Sara Stevens Patton