Published Wilkes-Barre Record April 4, 1890

Published Wilkes-Barre Record April 4, 1890

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As today, April 1, is known as April Fool’s Day, this Look Back is no joke. It actually happened as confirmed by archive newspaper stories and information from

Dallas Township farmer James Brace walked 15 miles to the Luzerne County Courthouse on Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, for a marriage license on March 26, 1890.

Brace, 65, who lost his first wife, Hannah, on May 15, 1889, was turned away as his second bride-to-be was a minor, 17, and needed consent from the teenager’s parents.

No problem finding the parents of Edith Dymond. Brace’s farm was next to the Dymond farm as they were neighbors.

“James Brace is a prominent resident of Dallas Township. Although the snows of 65 winters have whited his hair, they have not chilled the blood that still courses through his veins with all the vigor of youth,” reported the Wilkes-Barre Record on April 4, 1890.

A 48 year age difference between Brace and Edith Dymond did not deter her father, Asa Dymond.

A day after Brace was turned away at the courthouse, Brace along with Asa Dymond walked to Public Square on March 27, 1890, when Asa Dymond gave parental consent to the marriage of his teenage daughter.

According to the U.S. Census, the average age of a bride in 1890 was 22 while the groom was 26. It is clear to say Brace and Edith Dymond deviated from the norm of 1890 marriage statistics.

Isaac G. Leek, a justice of the peace in Dallas, conducted the marriage ceremony held inside Brace’s farm house on April 5, 1890.

Imagine what those clerks thought in the courthouse register’s office when Brace first appeared on March 26, 1890, and again the day after with the teen’s father.

“The aged lover walked or rather rode on air from Dallas Township to Wilkes-Barre. He invaded the register’s office and demanded a license. But just here, a snarl was discovered in the matrimonial threat, which had to be combed out smooth before the hopes of the prospective bridegroom could be realized. The bride-elect was a minor, and the consent of her parents must be obtained before the license could be issued,” the Record reported.

No record could be retrieved if Brace’s 15 children he had with Hannah during their 43-years of marriage attended the marriage ceremony with Edith Dymond.

Brace and his young wife had a daughter of their own, Jessie, born Sept. 14, 1892, according to newspaper accounts and

Brace did not enjoy his second marriage for very long as he died at his farm house on Dec. 10, 1893. He was 68, Edith was 21.

In his last will and testament, Brace left $1,000, the farm house and furniture to his young wife, $1,000 to his youngest daughter, and divided other property among his 15 other children, according to

Three years after her husband died, Edith married William Hill on Jan. 6, 1897, in Wilkes-Barre and had eight children. Edith and her second-husband lived on Prospect Street, Wilkes-Barre, for a decade before moving to Washington, D.C., where they stayed for five years before settling near Sayre, Bradford County.