Friday, May 13, 2005


Posted by Hello

In the years following World War II, thousands of couples ran off to get married. For many of them, the place they ran off to was Piggott.
Between 1945 and 1953 more than 28,000 couples were married in this Northeast Arkansas town, which even today has a population of only 3,700 residents. In 1950 alone, the number of marriages totaled 5,960.

Like other states after World War II, Arkansas had a three-day waiting rule for issuing marriage licenses. But unlike many other states, Arkansas also had a clause that allowed the county judge to waive the waiting period under special circumstances or emergencies.

In Clay County, Arkansas, the county judge at that time took the position that any wedding was a special circumstance, and couples flocked across the Arkansas state line into Piggott by the droves. Couples lined the hallways of the old two-story brick courthouse and spilled out the front doors and down the sidewalk, waiting for their turn for a quick wedding in the county clerk’s vault.

A pastime for Piggott residents became watching the couples lined up around the courthouse square, some in wedding finery, others ranging from work clothes to Sunday best. Some bought their wedding clothes after they arrived in Piggott, changing in the recesses of the courthouse. A florist on the square sold bouquets and boutonnieres to those waiting in line.

The above is a photo of the old courthouse where my parents ran off to get married 55 years ago. Tomorrow they are traveling back to Piggott for a special reception for those who were married at the court house.

In today's disposable society, it is rare to have a marriage that lasts that long. People may ask how my parents or my husband's parents (married 60 years) stayed together so long. The answer lies in a commitment to God and taking one's vows seriously.

Yes, our parents truly love each other, but anyone who has been in a long term relationship knows that sometimes feelings get hurt, tempers flair, and fleeting thoughts of a way out slip into our emotionally charged minds. It is, therefore, crucial that we teach our children to be true to their word and keep promises made - that means we must keep our promises to them. :) Our word should be our bond. Jesus said that we should let our "yes" mean yes and our "no" mean no. Vows and promises are something God takes seriously, and so should we.

How long have I been married? 18 short and happy years. :)


lottie said...

That's sweet! I love long marriages & wedding anniversaries...I get more excited about anniversaries than I do weddings! :)

God bless!
Happily married 17 years this year!

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Thank you for the history lesson; I had never heard any of that.

Married to my high school sweetheart 10 years and counting.