Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grandma's Words

Reap In Joy
by Phoebe Carolina Swanson Johnson
June 1967

You say, It is useless?
Take heart... the Truth shall live!

Your precious seeds will send deep roots in time.

My dad's mother (farmor) was a poet and songwriter. I thought it was appropriate to have my first post connect to her words from the past. Seeds will send deep roots in time. Grandma wrote Poetry and had several poems published in Pasque Petals, the SD Poetry Magazine. She also has work in the Prairie Poet I, II, & III books. For many Christmas greetings she had cards printed with a new song or poem.

The Wedding Party. Front: Myrtle Carlson, Mable Swanson, Josephine Larson, Bride Phoebe Swanson Johnson, Robert Larson. Back: Edna Haglund (later became Elmer Swanson's wife), Elmer Swanson, Rev. R.A. Larson, Groom Joe Johnson, Emil Swanson, Betty Long (later became Gilmer Hildring's wife), and Carl Johnson.

Grandma and Grandpa's wedding write up in the Sioux Falls, SD newspaper:

(THE ARGUS LEADER, Thurs., 6/21/1923)
Wedding - Unique Old Fashioned Wedding is Feature of June Day at Granite, Miss Phoebe Swanson, of Larchwood, Married to Joseph E. Johnson, of Tea, With Country Ceremony and Group of Girls from Sioux Falls

What the bounty and hospitality of the old fashioned wedding used to mean to a whole countryside was recalled last evening in the unique ceremony held at Granite, Iowa, when Miss Phoebe C. Swanson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Swanson of Larchwood, Iowa, and Joseph Edward Johnson of Tea were united in marriage. (June 20, 1923)

Tent Reception
The crowds of friends and relatives from Iowa and South Dakota who were present were almost unlimited because of the size of the great tent where the wedding reception and program were held. As soon as the ceremony was finished in the Mission Church of Granite, the automobile loads of guests including many who could not get into the church arrived at the farmhouse, sixteen miles southeast of Sioux Falls. There, for days preparations had been made for the feast. Great pots of coffee were boiling on the stove and an abundance of meats, sandwiches, cakes and ice cream in many varieties were waiting to be served.
Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Johnson received their relatives and friends as they entered the tent, and soon the long tables were filled with guests. Following the blessing asked by Rev. R. A. Larson of Granite, Iowa, who had performed the ceremony, congratulatory speeches were made to the bride and groom, and those present expressed the hope that their table might always be filled with good things and that they might find happiness in their future home.
“I Love You Truly,” was sung by Miss Mabel Swanson, sister of the bride, and Miss Edna Hegland (Haglund) of Menominee, Michigan, played two piano solos. Rev. Larson and Rev. E. Begland (Bergland) living north of Brandon made short addresses. Mrs. Larson sang “Perfect Day”.

Friends from Sioux Falls
The flow of refreshments was not stopped by the program, however. Over twenty girls who had motored from Sioux Falls for the purpose served the crowds. Assisting were Elloa McLellan, Maude McLellan, Frances Howlin, Esther Thompson, Gladys Brandt, Alpha Hoyne, Athetha Meyers, Eleanor Martin, Thelma Carlberg, Martha Bradly, Rowena Bliss, Lois Allen, Florence McGilvray, Hazel Lundquist, Lucille Helfert, Helen Helfert, Hilda Carlson, Effie Straight, Vera Hodgins, Ruth Krumm, Mrs. L.A. Johnson, Alma Johnson.
Many went to the room filled with wedding presents for the young people. A piano was included among the gifts. Electric lights and candles illuminated the scene. The tables were arranged around the bridal table as a center and were decorated with peonies, roses of brilliant hues and pink candy baskets.
With little thought of the long distance many of those present would have to drive before they would have to reach their homes, the guests feasted and celebrated for hours. The little flower girls Josephine Larson and Myrtle Carlson and the small ring bearer Robert Larson were gay and sleepy at the same time as the evening advanced.

Church Ceremony
In the church ceremony the bride walked slowly down the isle on the arm of her father as the wedding march from ‘Lohengrin’ was played. She was gowned in white satin, softly draped and trimmed with pearl medallions. Her long veil of tulle was held in place with a band of orange blossoms. She carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley and pink roses. Miss Mabel Swanson, the brides sister, was maid of honor. She wore a gown of pale yellow canton crepe and carried a bouquet of roses. Bridesmaids were Miss Betty Long of Larchwood and Miss Hegland (Haglund).
After an extended trip through the east and south for their honeymoon, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson will make their home on the bridegrooms farm four miles northeast of Tea.


Linda Ziulkowski said...

How fun. I really enjoy reading the blogs of people like yourself who muse about many of the things that interest me as well. I love the little bit of family history you included to begin your expressive journey. What a fun wedding write up. They sure aren't done that way today. It was a taste of home as well, I can nearly picture the whole thing!
Happy journaling to you!

Mom Z aka Linda

A.J. Swanson said...

Thanks for your work, Diane - I recognize Joe & Phoebe, of course, also Mable - and Emil and Elmer? Which one is Betty - who is the gent at top right (looks a lot like August) and who are all the rest? I'll check back often!

Diane Johnson said...

A.J. I labeled the photo so you can identify those in the wedding party. The guy who you thought looked like August is actually Uncle Carl, Joe's brother. But, I do agree with you that he does look a little like August. It only makes sense because Carl and August were first cousins. Carolina was a sister to the Johnson boys mother Albertina. Remember I need a computer to figure out all the connections in the family!
Thanks for checking on my blog.

Sherri Long said...


This is so Precious I am a great granddaughter of Betty and Gilmer Hildring and have been trying to research my family history. I so enjoy your stories about the area and travels and the pictures you may email me at my grandmother is Corrine Houg of Jasper and her daughter Lynette is my mother I am the oldest of her two girls.

Thank you for your wonders of history

Sherri Long
Ardmore Oklahoma


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