My paternal great-great-uncle Benjamin Lafayette ORRICK chose to marry Medora Frances WHITE on Christmas Day in 1870 in the town of White Rock, Franklin County, Arkansas where her family lived. Perhaps they really loved Christmas and thought that getting married on this special holiday would further bless their commitment to one another. Or perhaps it was a practical decision and they needed to seize the opportunity when family and friends were already visiting or available. It was already a festive season. Funds may not have been plentiful. I would have thought that celebrating two such important occasions on the same day would detract from one another, but perhaps the added excitement was welcomed in these harder times. Certainly a Christmas day wedding would guarantee they would remember their anniversary in years to come! As the choice of date was theirs, I hope Benjamin and Medora had a doubly happy wedding day.
Benjamin Lafayette ORRICK was their fifth child, born on 11 November 1850 in Frog Bayou, Crawford County, Arkansas near Fort Smith and Van Buren near the western border with Oklahoma. (I notice that his birthday was on Remembrance Day, although it wouldn’t be celebrated as such until 1918.) Benjamin's middle name “Lafayette" may have come from the Arkansas county by that name (although it is quite a distance south from where they lived). Or he could have been named directly after the Revolutionary War general Marquis de Lafayette who sided with the American colonies and who gave his name to the county and to the towns of Fayetteville in Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina. In 1848, two years before Ben was born, his father purchased 40 acres of public land in Mountain Township, Crawford County, Arkansas, part of the Fayetteville lands district (later in 1882 William bought another 116 acres in the same area). Perhaps it was this early land transaction in Fayetteville that prompted the naming of his next son. Mountain Township no longer exists, but from coordinates found online, I believe that it was located just south west of the current Mountainburg Township.
Benjamin ORRICK and Medora WHITE Locations
Benjamin's parents were born in South Carolina and North Carolina and married in Arkansas.
Medora'a parents were born in Illinois and Missouri. Two of their children were born in Texas, but Medora was born in Arkansas.
Somehow the two met. These are their life's landmarks in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
I may have found Benjamin in the 1890 census living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Territory in a boarding house. He was 38 (only 2 years off) and born in Arkansas. But there's no sign of his family, so maybe it’s not the right guy. By 1900, Benjamin, Maddie and their six children were living and farming in Davis Oklahoma, so we know that they moved to this neighboring state. Perhaps Ben went to Oklahoma ahead of the rest to test the waters and prepare the way. While this shuffling of locations was going on, Ben lost both his parents back in Arkansas; William died in 1893 and Rebecca died in 1900.
Ben's venture in Oklahoma appears to have been short lived; some of his older children had trouble getting work there. By 1910 the family had moved back to Arkansas, this time settling in Boone, Logan County. Ben was age 60 by then, and they had three of their children and Medora’s elderly widowed mother living with them. When Ben was only 66 he passed away on 10 Feb 1917 in Booneville, and was buried there in Oak Hill Cemetery. After his death, Medora lived a further 12 years under the care of her oldest daughter Ida HARDIN and family. She died on 13 Jan 1929 and was buried beside her husband.
Benjamin and Medora ORRICK celebrated 46 Christmas day anniversaries together. I'll remember to give a toast to them this coming Christmas.
Crawford County, Arkansas History and Genealogy - roots web
Township of Mountain (historical) in Crawford County Arkansas - hometown locator site
Locations for Benjamin ORRICK and Medora WHITE - custom Google Map
This includes descendants of Sarah Elmira ORRICK and John HENSON.
"52 Ancestors" is a reference to the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge I am participating in.
Reference the No Story Too Small blog by genealogist Amy Johnson Crow for more details.
It is giving me the much needed incentive to write and publish my family stories.