Sunday, June 10, 2018

52 Ancestors: Going to the Chapel

This week’s prompt is Going to the Chapel.  I’ve written about many marriages of my ancestors:  My parents, my paternal grandparents, and even my paternal great grandparents.  So with this prompt, I’ll focus on my maternal side of the family.

My mother’s parents, Clara Fitzgerald and Earle Martin, were married 23 June 1923.  While that marriage brought my mother, Geraldine Martin, into the world, it did not go well and somewhere in the late 1930’s, Clara and Earle divorced.  My mother didn’t talk about it much so I don’t know any of the details.

But then a new man, Sheldon Abb Hunter, came into her life and on 18 Feb 1942, the two traveled from Fresno to Las Vegas to be married.

Clara Martin Sheldon Hunter Marriage Fresno Bee Republican 18 Feb 1942 Page 6
The Fresno Bee Republican
18 Feb 1942, Wed – Page 6

Mrs. Clara M. Martin, who, with Sheldon A. Hunter, left today for Las Vegas, Nev., where they planned to be married late this afternoon.  They will establish their home here.

Late Afternoon Wedding Rites Planned by Mrs. Clara Martin, Sheldon A. Hunter

Mrs. Clara M. Martin and Sheldon A. Hunter left this morning for Las Vegas, Nev., where they planned to be married late this afternoon.

The couple, who motored (?) in Las Vegas, will have a wedding dinner in El Rancho Vegas after the ceremony.  They will remain in Las Vegas for the weekend, returning to Fresno Monday.  The couple will reside in The Californian temporarily. 

Mrs. Martin’s wedding attire is a navy bitte custom suit, trimmed at the neckline with a collar of white organdy.  Her hat, with a touch of white trim, and other accessories also are navy blue.  A corsage of white orchids wil complete the ensemble.

The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fitzgerald of Fresno.  She is afilliated with the Eastern Star and has been employed at The Californian as social hostess and secretary in G. Vorn Snorgrass, manager of the hotel.

Hunter, who has lived in Fresno for many years, has been local manager of the Western Union Telegraph Company for twenty two years.  He has been employed by the company for thirty five years.

The bridegroom is a member of the Fresno Rotary Club, the University-Sequoia and Sunnyside Country Clubs and is the treasurer of the Fresno Childrens Summer Camp.

My mother was not quite 14 at the time of their marriage.  Where was she?  Did she stay home with her father?  Her grandparents?  Also interesting that she wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper article.

Again, so many questions without any answers.  I’m happy, though, that I came across this newspaper article to learn more about their wedding.  Note to self:  send away for a copy of their marriage certificate.  Not sure what it will tell me that I didn’t learn about here but I’ll never know if I don’t see a copy.  (SWEET!  I just ordered it online while the draft of this post was processing!)

These photos are not necessarily from the exact time period but I think fairly close.  While Clara wasn’t the packrat that my paternal grandmother was, she was nice enough to put notes on the back of most of her photos.  Thanks, Grandma!

Sheldon Hunter Thinking
Sheldon Hunter
date unknown

Clara Fitzgerald c 1942
Mrs. Sheldon A. Hunter
date unknown

It’s always fun to learn about my ancestors getting married!


  1. It's sad that your mother wasn't comfortable sharing the story behind the divorce and second marriage. It must have been very painful for her.

  2. I agree with Amy. The reluctance to talk just increases the curiosity. In my experience, the earlier generations seemed not to talk about anything, painful or not.