Announcements and News

Auburn, Indiana, January 2. –

Two wedding ceremonies were performed at the Methodist parsonage Wednesday afternoon by the Rev. H. L. Overdeer, pastor of the First Methodist Church.

Leroy Campbell, of Butler was married to Maude Enid Bridges, of De Kalb County. They were attended by a young couple friends of the bride and groom.  They will reside on a farm near Butler.

The other wedding by agreement is to be a secret held for a week or two.  On Thursday morning at 8:30 o’clock Sylvester A. Miser, of north Main Street, 30 and Mrs. Irene Thomas, 41 of North Indiana Avenue, were united in marriage at the First Methodist Church parsonage by Rev H. L. Overdeer.  Both the bride and groom are well known in Auburn.  Mr. Miser is a carpenter.They expect to make their home on North Indiana Avenue in the bride’s home for the present.

Fort Wayne News Sentinel - December 31, 1919
Transcribed and contributed by:  Frances Cooley
Wedded Fifteen Hundred Couples

Rev. William Messe, familiarly known to the people of De Kalb County, Indiana, for fifty years as “Uncle Billy,” is arranging for a unique reunion.  He is now 70 years old and in feeble health.  Some time ago he expressed a wish that he could meet all the people whom he had married.

His parishioners began to discuss the reunion, and the returns in the county clerk’s office were consulted with a view of getting the names.  The list was found to embrace the names of more than 1,000 couples in De Kalb and adjoining counties.

Such of these as are living will be asked to join in a reunion, to be held near Auburn this month.

Mr. Messe has united more than 1,500 couples during his ministry.

Daily Inter Ocean - August 7, 1896
Transcribed and contributed by:  Frances Cooley
A Novel Reunion

A Pastor Calls Together 1500 Couples That He Has United

One of the queerest reunions in the history of Indiana will take place at Auburn, De Kalb County, Indiana, on August 20, says a Huntington, (Indiana), correspondent of the Chicago Record.

It is to be composed of the men and women who have been united in marriage by the Rev. W. L. Meese during his ministry there. 

They form a fair proportion of the population of De Kalb County, besides being represented in every other state in the Union.

This novel idea has taken immensely with them and the prospects are that there will be a gathering that will be memorable.

For years the Rev. William L. Meese, or “Uncle Billy,” as he is familiarly called, has presided at a large share of the matrimonial ceremonies held in that county.  Finally it developed into a popular impression that the thing was not properly done unless it has he pious sanction.  This has been especially the case among the rustics, until now the peace-loving man cannot put his finger on the county map without covering broad acres tilled by men who were made benedicts by him.  How many there are of them the parson does not know, and the records do not disclose, but he has officiated in that capacity more time than has any other minister now living in this section, and it is safe to say that the number will reach 1500.  Of these many have since attended distinction in different walks of life, and did is a fact of which the Rev. Meese is proud that very few of his marriages have been undone by the divorce courts.

The novel programme proposed for August 20 was brought about by the desire of Mr. Meese to round out his active ministry by a grand gathering of all those whom he has started out in life.  He announced the idea several weeks ago, and it met with instantaneous approval.  Letters of congratulation and offers of assistance came pouring in and at this early date it is an assured success.  Speakers of local prominence have been secured to address the gathering.  It will be an all day affair.  A brass band has been engaged to enliven the occasion with music and a grand chorus of voices will assist it.

The reunion will be held in a beautiful grove at the edge of town.  There will be hammocks and swings and enough good things to eat to make the hearts of visitors glad.  Intermingled with the music will be oratory and recitations and the finale will be a grand march led by the first couple to be married by the Rev. Mr. Meese.  They are George Swineford and wife (nee Belle Hornberger).  The newest couple will have the honor of the left of the line and no one will venture to guess who they will be, as Mr. Meese has announced that he will marry any one free on that day who will make application.

When the procession has reached the proper position it will about face and will be “taken” by a local photographer, who has been fortunate enough to secure the exclusive right of the job.

That is the programme as now made out for the first matrimonial reunion ever held in this county as far as known.

The man who is thus honored was born in Canal Fulton, Ohio, on December 14, 1828.

He was confirmed in the Catholic Church at Massilon in 1844.

He was towboy on the Wabash & Erie Canal from 1846 to 1858 and moved to Indiana in 1855. 

He joined the Methodist Church in 1856, and in the same year was licensed to preach. 

He was elected sheriff of De Kalb County in 1872 and again in 1874.

During the 40 years of his work as an exhorter and minister he has made the acquaintance of nearly every man, woman and child in the county.  His popularity in the country people is boundless.  He officiates at their marriages and funerals and is consulted in the naming the new born children.  It has been said that some of those people would refuse to die unless they were assured the “Uncle Billy” would officiate at their funerals.

Notwithstanding his life of activity and success as a minister he is poor.  He is charitably inclined and is a splendid type of the old time preacher.  He was never a politician in the popular sense of the word, yet when he ran for sheriff he overturned an enormous adverse majority without soliciting a vote.  It has been estimated that if only persons whom he had married, with their descendents, were to vote for him he could be elected to any office in the county.

Oregonian - August 9, 1896
Transcribed and contributed by:  Frances Cooley

Married, at the residence of Mr. King, DeKalb County, Ind., on Wednesday evening, June 5th, 1889, by Rev. H. M. Lamport, Mr. Edward M. Hilkey to Miss Addie C. Lightcap.

  The wedding was a quiet one, the ceremony being performed in the presence of the near relatives and a few of the most intimate friends of the bride and groom.  After the ceremony refreshments were served and the hours sped smoothly on, until about 10 o'clock, when, with a wish of long life to Mr. and Mrs. Hilkey, the quest took their departure. 

On Thursday the parents of the groom gave a reception at their spacious home in Jackson township.  By 10 o'clock the friends of both had arrived and a pleasant time was enjoyed by all.  At 1 o'clock the guest were invited to the dining-room, where an excellent dinner was served in Mrs. Hilkey's excellent style.  The happy couple start out on life's journey with flattering prospects and their many friends join in bidding the bon voyage.

  The lady in the part of bride is the daughter of Mrs. John Luppold, of Williamsport and resided with her grandparents, with whom she made her home from early childhood.

Auburn Dispatch.
Contributed by Caro Natschke Harner
The Edgerton Earth
Thursday, April 24, 1941


  The marriage of Mr. Dick Bercaw, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bercaw and Miss Lois Buttermore, both of Butler, was solemnized in the Methodist church  at Kendallville, Ind., Sunday, April 13.  The groom is the grandson of C.E. Bercaw, of Edgerton.
Submitted by Kate Watson
The Edgerton Earth
Edgerton, Williams County, Ohio, Thursday, December 15, 1938

    The Methodist church of Spencerville, Ind., was the scene of a pretty wedding Saturday, Dec. 10, 1938 at 2 pm when the Rev. L.E. Clayton  read the single ring ceremony which united in marriage Maurice C. Burkhart of Edgerton, Ohio and Miss E. Maxine David, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Zera David of Butler, Indiana.
    The bride wore a floor length dress of white satin with quilted bolero, a shoulder corsage, and black kid slippers and the groom wore a double-breasted blue-gray suit.
    They were attended by the bride's brother and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil David of Waterloo.
    The bride attended the Butler High School and was chosen Harvest Queen of Franklin and Wilmington townships in DeKalb county during the 1937 Auburn fair.
    The groom graduated from the Edgerton high school in the class of 1937.
    Following the ceremony a reception and six o'clock dinner was held at the home of the bride's parents for the immediate relatives.
Submitted by Kate Watson

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