Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Wedding of Mattie Knox and Edward Latimer

When he lost his wife and daughter within the span of about eight months in 1901, Edward Arthur Latimer left Seaforth, Ontario, Canada and headed west. He went as far west as he could in fact, ending up in Livermore, California. Livermore, now part of Oakland, California was in the early 1900's a growing and bustling community. It was also the home for a number of former southwestern Ontario men who like Edward had left Canada.

Lloyd M. MacDonald from Stratford, Ontario had enjoyed a blossoming banking career in Hamilton, Ontario before settling in Livermore where he became the president of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Livermore. Also prominent was Thomas Elliot Knox, who like Edward was born in Seaforth but had settled in Livermore around 1875 where established a vineyard of 20 acres, became postmaster, then mayor, and finally county supervisor.

About five years after arriving in Livermore, Edward met and married Thomas E. Knox' daughter, Mattie Diona Knox. As the daughter of a prominent society member, Mattie herself was often the subject of the 'society pages' in the local newspapers. When Edward and Mattie got married the Oakland Tribune reported the acquisition of the marriage license and both the Livermore Herald and Livermore Echo reported on the wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon destination.

The Herald provided the greatest amount of detail, although they got some parts wrong in their November 17, 1906 edition, stating the groom to be 'Edwin' rather than Edward and that the wedding took place on Saturday, November 9th when, in fact, is was Saturday, November 10th. On most of the important details of the wedding, both newspapers agreed. The wedding ceremony commenced at 9:00 p.m. in the evening with the bridal party entering the smilax and chrysanthemum decorated dining room of the Knox residence to the strains of Mendelssohn's Wedding March. About fifty guests had gathered for the ceremony. The reception was held in the basement of the home where "an elaborate wedding supper was served." James Clark served as 'toast master' introducing a number of speakers that included the bride's maternal grandfather, John Squires. The music and dancing were enjoyed by all until about one o'clock in the morning.

Both newspapers reported that Mattie was going to be missed in Livermore where she 'had the esteem' of all who knew her as the couple were taking up residence elsewhere. As the Herald reported, "Mr and Mrs. Latimer left Sunday morning on the 9:30 train for their home in Canada, a large number of wedding guests gathering to see them depart... Mr Latimer has prepared a home for his bride in Orillia, Ontario, where he is a prominent young business man and associated with his brother in the hardware business. He made many friends during his brief stay and impressed all who met him as being an able and energetic young man."

Mattie and Edward had four children and ten grandchildren. They passed away and are buried in Orillia, Ontario, the town they came to call home.

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