Saturday, June 26, 2021

From one extreme of Chariton society to the other

I've been stuck here for a day or two, taking a look at reports from The Chariton Herald of June 19, 1902, commencing with a detailed report of the shooting death on the Levee of young Belden Cook by Charles Zimmerman. That report reflected one extreme of life in Lucas County's seat at the time.

The other end was represented by a balancing report of the social event of the season --- the marriage of Sue Darlington Copeland (above) and Dr. Charles M. Whicher, celebrated on the evening of June 18 at St. Andrew's Church and the in home of the bride's parents, Darlington Heights. 

Chariton supported three weekly newspapers at the time --- The Herald, The Patriot and The Democrat (also known as The Leader). All gave the two events similar play on their front pages, but here's the Herald layout.

The locations no longer exist. Old St. Andrew's was demolished because of structural defects during 1955 and replaced by the parish's current building. Darlington Heights, located east of Chariton on the Auburn Avenue extension, continued as the home of the Copeland family into the 1920s, but housed mostly tenants after Howard Custer Copeland (only son of Howard Darlington Copeland) and his wife, Edith (Larimer) Copeland, moved into her family home at the intersection of Auburn Avenue and North 5th Street.

Here's The Herald's wedding report:


The wedding of Miss Sue Darlington Copeland and Dr. Charles M. Whicher occurred last evening. In the handsome church home of St. Andrews Episcopal parish, the interior beautified by banks of ferns, roses, potted plants and evergreens, an exceptionally pretty wedding was solemnized at eight o'clock.

As the guests arrived they were escorted to their seats by Messrs Howard Copeland, brother of the bride, Lloyd Penick, Will A. Eikenberry and Walter Dewey, while Mrs. Kate Wilcox Craig, of Kirksville, Missouri, at the organ and Mr. Mortimer Wilson, of the Nebraska State University, with violin, played softly.

At the appointed hour, the bride, Miss Sue Darlington Copeland, only daughter of Howard Darlington and Carrie Custer Copeland, appeared leaning upon the arm of her father. She was beautifully gowned in an ivory panne satin costume with applique trimming, bridal veil of tulle and carried a large spray bouquet of white sweet peas and lillies of the valley. Following were the four bridesmaids, Misses Hettie Lewis, Dorothy McCollough, Georgia Watts of Atlanta, Ga., and Carrie Custer, the matron of honor, Mrs. Jessie Mallory Thayer, and maid of honor, Miss Elizabeth Brant.

Then followed the bride and father, who gave away his only daughter in marriage to Dr. Whicher, a prominent physician of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The groom, attended by his brother, Attorney Frank Pierce Whicher of Ripley, New York, met the bride at the chancel arch, where the betrothal service occurred, then advanced to the altar. Before Rector Henry, the solemn vows were said, the ritualistic Episcopal service being the one employed.

Before the ceremony, the church choir, assisted by Mrs. Mahew and L.H. Busselle, sang the marriage hymn. The four bridesmaids were prettily attired in pink silk muslin, wearing pink roses in their hair and carrying dainty white fans, the bride's gift to each. They also carried La France rose buds. The matron of honor wore a white dotted Swiss gown with ecru applique, and the maid of honor was becomingly attired in embroidered lace over pink organdy, and both ladies carried La France roses.

The ceremony concluded, the bridal party marched out of the church to the strains of Mendelssohn's wedding march and went to the home of the bride's parents, Darlington Heights, where amid profuse floral decorations the large reception was held. The guests were greeted in the front parlor by Mr. and Mrs. Copeland, Mr. and Mrs. Odbert, Mrs. Florence R.Whicher, mother of the groom, and Mrs. J.B. Custer, grandmother of the bride.

On entering the back parlor, the bridal party graciously received the happy congregation of people who were pleased for an opportunity to extend congratulations to one of Chariton's fairest daughters and the husband of her choice. The sentiment of the occasion was beautifully brought out in all the decorations, both at the church and the home.

The bride has spent her life in our community. The consummation of this wedding unites in marriage an accomplished, refined, sensible young lady who has been prominent in the church and social life of our city, always imparting her beautiful character and culture as a ray of sunshine wherever she went. No young lady in Chariton was more universally loved and respected than the bride of yesterday. She possesses in an admiral degree all the qualities of mind and soul which attract and retain friends. Representing the best type of true womanhood, Mrs. Whicher will preside over her home with queenly grace, and in her new environments she has the wishes of her acquaintances from infancy for all the joy and happiness that can be gained in this life. Dr. Whicher is a stranger to Chariton, a rising young physician in Carlsbad, New Mexico, very prominent in his profession and locality, modest, unassuming and worthy of the bride he has won, and enjoys the respect and confidence of his acquaintances.

The bride received numerous presents combining rare beauty, usefulness and value.

Her maids treasure little jeweled gold golf club stick  pins, remembrances from Mrs. Whicher, while the ushers and groomsmen were the recipients also of stick pin novelties.

Dr. and Mrs. Whicher left last night at 12:49 for a short wedding trip through the east before going to their home.


Charles and Sue Whicher lived in Carlsbad until 1910, when they relocated to Des Moines, where the remainder of their lives were spent. He died on July 28, 1930, age 60, while serving as medical director for three major Des Moines-based insurance companies. She died on Oct. 11, 1942, age 64. They had no children.

The family continues to occupy a Chariton landmark, however --- the Copeland-Wischer mausoleum in the Chariton Cemetery. You'll find interred within Howard Darlington Copeland, Carrie Custer Copeland, Charles M. Wischer, Sue (Copeland) Wisher and Howard Custer Copeland. The younger Howard Copeland's wife, Edith, chose to be buried nearby with her parents --- within sight of but not within the family tomb.

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