My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Thursday, September 15, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - Honeymoon at Mammoth Cave, Kentucky 1929

At the Entrance to Mammoth Cave 1929
Susie & Huber back row, 2nd and 3rd from right
On Thursday morning, June 27, 1929, John Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964) and Susan Elizabeth Flemming (1909-1999) were married at St. Paul's Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 25 at the time; she was 19. Huber and Susie are my grandparents.

Flemming-O'Donnell Announcement
Birmingham Age-Herald
June 28, 1929
The Birmingham Age-Herald announced their wedding the following day.
Susan Flemming Is Married To Mr. O'Donnell
"In the Presence of a large assemblage of friends and relatives, the marriage of Miss Susan Elizabeth Flemming, attractive daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Flemming, to J. Huber O'Donnell was solemnized Thursday morning at 9 o'clock in St. Paul's Church, with Father William A. Kerrigan officiating.
The church was decorated with a profusion of palms, ferns and smilax. Floor baskets held large clusters of Shasta daisies and yellow snapdragons. Against this background were placed seven branched candlesticks, in which burned cathedral candles.
The nuptial music was arranged by Mrs. O.W. Colgan and opened with a group of songs, presented by O.L. Horst, uncle of the bride. The wedding march was played by Mrs. Colgan.
The maid of honor, Miss O'Dolly (sic) Flemming, sister of the bride, entered first. She was lovely in a charming costume of orchid, with small hat and shoes to match. Her corsage was of lavender and pink sweet peas, tied with orchid tulle.
The bridesmaids, Miss Mary Agnes Flemming, Miss Margaret Cole and Miss Catherine Flemming, were gowned in two-piece ensembles in pastel shades. Miss Mary Agnes Flemming wearing yellow, Miss Cole, flesh, and Miss Catherine Flemming, green. Each wore a corsage of pink and lavender sweet peas, tied with ribbon to match their frocks.
The bride entered with her father Harry Clinton Flemming, Sr. She was lovely in an imported frock of aquamarine blue, with hat and shoes of a slightly deeper shade. Her flowers were white rosebuds and valley lilies in an effective corsage.
Charles O'Donnell served as best man. The groomsmen, Charles Moultis, Richard King and Jimmy Campbell, and the ushers, Anthony Montalbano and H.C. Flemming, Jr., completed the bridal group.
Immediately after this ceremony, the bridal party and parents of the bride and groom were entertained at a breakfast at the Tutwiler, with Mr. and Mrs. James B. Flemming as hosts.
Later in the day, Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell left for a wedding trip through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. After a two weeks' trip they will be at home in Birmingham.
The bride is a popular member of the younger set. She was graduated from "The Convent" and since that time has traveled extensively in the United States.
The groom is connected with the Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company. "

On their honeymoon they also visited Mammoth Cave, located north of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The photograph above was taken of their group waiting for their tour to begin.

Entrance to Mammoth Cave
ca. 1930
Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave is the world's longest cave, with over 390 miles explored. It has long been a popular tourist location and was a frequent honeymoon destination in the mid- to late- 1800's and the early 1900's. It was given the name "Mammoth" because of its enormous size - even before they knew exactly how big it really was. The cave became a part of the National Park Service in 1941 and a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Mammoth Cave Brochure
ca. 1930

The history of Mammoth Cave and human inhabitants span 6,000 years; remains of Native Americans buried intentionally and those who died in the cave have helped to date the first visitors. Legend has it that the first European to visit the cave was in 1797. The cave's saltpeter reserves became important during the War of 1812 with the British blockade of the United States' ports. The cave's ownership changed hands during this time and soon it was being mined for calcium nitrate. In 1839 a Louisville physician bought the cave to use as a tuberculosis hospital because of its constant air temperatures and its natural preservative qualities. Unfortunately this experiment was a failure and the doctor too would eventually die from this widespread and incurable disease.

Throughout the 19th century the cave earned national and international renown. With the opening in 1859 of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, tourists could be transported from the railroad stop, by stagecoach to the cave entrance. By 1886 the Mammoth Cave Railroad would provide service for the tens of thousands of tourists each year who came to see the cave. In 1906 tourists were also brought to the cave by steamboat after the construction of a lock and dam of the Green River in Brownsville. In the early 1920's new entrances were blasted open, creating new competition for the owners.
Visitors depart by Carriage from the Mammoth Cave Hotel (back)
Vintage Postcard ca. 1910
Motor Age magazine (December 1916) reported the total destruction of the Mammoth Cave Hotel which burned to the ground that month. The building, with its original structure dating from 1811, was visited by royalty and the famous, as well as thousands of ordinary tourists. "Many held a sentimental attachment to the primitive old structure because of memories associated with visitors to the cave. For many of the older persons Mammoth Caves was the scene of the bridal trip as it was a favorite center for honeymoons in earlier days when long trips were not so easily made. Countless numbers of antebellum bridal couples were its guests."
Bridal Altar at Mammoth Cave
Vintage Postcard 1908

Weddings were regularly held at the cave's "Bridal Altar", a natural formation of three stalactites, symbolizing the bride, the groom and the clergyman.

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