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Nov 29

Wedding Postponed Due to Snow and Cold

Florence & Herbert Miller, 3 December 1950.

Florence & Herbert Miller, 3 December 1950.

It was supposed to be a nice Sunday afternoon wedding, scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend,1950.

Months of preparations and details were finally completed. The beautiful satin wedding gown from Fort Wayne had been fitted, pressed, and delivered. The Reverend Werner Von Kuhlberg and organist Velma Schumm were ready for the ceremony. The wedding cake was decorated and the flower arrangements were made.

Everything was ready for the late autumn wedding at Zion Lutheran Church in Schumm. It was to be the wedding of my parents, Herbert Miller and Florence Schumm

My parents’ wedding was scheduled for 26 November 1950, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. But the weather did not cooperate. It started to snow on Saturday and it snowed and blowed the whole weekend. And the snow piled up and drifted.

Late Saturday afternoon my dad left his home north of Chatt in his Studebaker Starlight to visit his fiancé, who lived a couple miles east of Willshire. It was only about an eight mile drive to the Schumm home.

But my dad never made it to the Schumm residence that afternoon, the day before his wedding. He did not even make it half way to Willshire. He got about two miles from his home, as far as Duck Creek Cemetery on State Route 49, when his car got stuck in the snow. He was driving in one of the worst blizzards Ohio had experienced in many years.

My dad could not get his Studebaker out of the snow drift and there was no other traffic on the road that afternoon to help get him out. So he hunkered down and spent the night in his car, stranded by the cemetery.

It was a long cold night, but the conditions were not as bitter as those he experienced a few years earlier in Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. He did not see the inside of a building for nearly 30 days during that time. At least he had his car for shelter during the Ohio blizzard.

The next morning my dad headed home—on foot. Farrel Krall remembers seeing my dad walk past their house that Sunday morning, walking toward the Miller farm house. It was supposed to be their wedding day but no one was able to get out onto the roads. No one was going anywhere that day.

As a result of that winter storm, my parents had to postpone their wedding one week. Grandma Schumm froze the wedding cake and the minister had to fill out a new marriage certificate.

Rev. Von Kulhlburg did not think the weather would get that bad that weekend and so he filled out my parents’ Certificate of Marriage ahead of time. He wrote the 26 November date on the certificate and had to void that certificate when the wedding was postponed. To void that certificate he inserted a couple words: Herbert Melvin Miller and Florence Elizabeth Schumm “were supposed” to be united by me…  He also wrote at the bottom, “Wedding was postponed due to deep snow and cold weather.”

Certificate of Marriage: Wedding was postponed due to deep snow and cold weather." 26 November 1950.

Certificate of Marriage: “Wedding was postponed due to deep snow and cold weather.” 26 November 1950.

Rev. Von Kulhberg prepared another Certificate of Marriage the next Sunday, 3 December 1950, the day my parents finally were married. Their second marriage certificate has the correct date and it is embossed with the seal of Zion Lutheran Schumm, which the first certificate did not have. My mom has both certificates.

Certificate of Marriage, 3 December 1950, with embossed seal of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm.

Certificate of Marriage, 3 December 1950, with embossed seal of Zion Lutheran Church, Schumm.

According to newspaper accounts, few Ohio roads were passable that Thanksgiving weekend. The following Monday Lima reported that 15 inches of snow fell during the three-day blizzard and that many private cars were abandoned beginning early Saturday evening. [1]

Governor Lausche called for a state of emergency and requested that people stay off the highways. Snow drifts were as high as ten feet in some areas of the state. Transportation was nearly paralyzed across the state, including Mercer and Van Wert Counties. [2]

Miller/Schumm wedding, 3 December 1950.

Miller/Schumm wedding, 3 December 1950.

My parents’ wedding was not the only event affected by the blizzard of 1950. The Ohio State/Michigan football game was played on 25 November 1950 in Columbus and is still known as the “Snow Bowl.” The complete game was played during the snow storm, with five inches of snow on the ground and wind gusts of 29 miles-per-hour. It was the worst blizzard in 37 years in Columbus. Unfortunately, Ohio State lost to Michigan 3-9. [3]

The teams punted 45 times, sometimes on first down, hoping the opponent would fumble a slippery ball near the end zone. The win earned Michigan the Big Ten Conference championship and a trip to the 1952 Rose Bowl. [4] You Tube has an interesting video of the 1950 OSU/Michigan game, The Snow Bowl.

Just about everyone that was around in 1950 still remembers the blizzard that hit that Thanksgiving weekend. Some of my patients even attended The Snow Bowl in Columbus. Some made it back home to Mercer County that night while others had to stay in Columbus overnight.

My parents were married nearly 61½ years when my dad passed away in 2012. They would have been married 63 years this coming Tuesday. Today, 29 November, my dad would have been 88 years old. Today I remember their anniversary and his birthday.

 

[1] The Lima News, Monday 27 November 1950, p.1; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 November 2013).

[2] Delphos Daily Herald, Delphos, Ohio, 27 November 1950, p.1 & 2; digital image by subscription, Newspapers.com ( www.newspapers.com : accessed 23 November 2013).

[3] “1950 Snow Bowl,” Ohio State University Libraries , The Ohio State University Libraries (www. Library.osu.edu : accessed 23 November 2013).

[4] “Snow Bowl (1950),” Snow Bowl (1950) Wikipedia , Wikipedia, (www.wikipedia.com : accessed 23 November 2013).

 

16 comments

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  1. Waldo

    Very interesting, particularly since I was born in 1950, possibly very near that same cemetery. I say possibly because I am told that my mother gave birth in the car on the way to the doctor. My folks were in the car on Ohio State Route 49 (which is the road going past the Duck Creek Cemetery), and they lived just up the road from the cemetery at the time.. Since I was born in Feb., I was technically there for the blizzard that you describe, but do not remember a thing. Never heard my folks even mention it, but it does put this Thanksgiving in a very different light as we are being bombblasted with tales of global warming and weather changes of terrifying consequences. Those fear mongers would point to the unusual “snow” and cold this week, saying it has been decades since such things happened. Yet a true history shows it may have been rare, but certainly not drastic or even all that unusual for this part of the country.

    I hope this Thanksgiving did not prove a time of great sorry for your mother, but rather a solemn time of pride and joy of the life that she shared and brought forth a wonderful daughter.

  2. Farrel Krall

    Karen, what a neat article! Yes, I still remember your father walking south on route 49 early the following morning. It was my recollection that your father was driving a Studebaker Star Light Coupe and not a pickup truck. Larry Caffee says he can remember my brother Don Krall riding his bicycle in the snow on rte 49 at that time. As I recall, Don Caffee also drove a Studebaker Star Light Coupe at about that time.

    Further to Waldo’s comment you can indeed be proud of your Miller/Schumm heritage and your family’s steadfast contribution to the Zion congregation and community.

    1. Karen

      Thank you for the additional information about the vehicle my dad was driving, Farrel! After taking with you this morning at church about the whether it was a car or a truck, I changed that detail in the post a few minutes ago, to make it more accurate. My mom also said he was driving a car and not a truck. I appreciate the information you provided as well as your good memory!

  3. Waldo

    Since I was less than a year old in 1950, my memory is pretty poor, but Farrel what not exactly an old man then either. Guessing from the history the Farrel and my old brother Leon were buddies for a short time, that Farrel is about the same age as Leon, that would have made him maybe 12 in 1950. The Krall homestead is maybe a little bit over a mile from the Duckcreek cemetery, so perhaps halfway to the Miller Farm. There were 3 other homes in that 1 mile before the Krall place, all neighbors and friends. The closest to Duckcreek cemetery being the Meyer place. Johny Meyer should be about the same age, maybe a year or two older than Farrel, I expect. While I did not know John’s folks, he is a really good chap, so I would expect nothing less of his folks. The question is, why would anyone sit in their car in a snow drift all night when that close to home and surrounded by good neighbors? Just knowing that you were stuck, any of them would have offered shelter, a ride home or probably even get the tractor out and pull you out.

    I can certainly understand Herb not wanting to bother anyone or be a burden, or cause them risk in the bad weather, etc. But sitting in the car all night seems rather odd. Had he not been back from the service very long and not yet comfortable with the neighbors?

    1. Karen

      I always heard that these were blizzard conditions in 1950. It was dark with visibility near zero. The safest thing would have been to stay in the car. Even today safety experts advise to stay in your car if stuck in a blizzard, unless help is visible within 100 yards.

  4. Joe

    Having had the honor of being Herb’s son-in-law I don’t find his actions the least bit odd.
    Herb was a capable and self sufficient man and would not have caused anyone to get out in a blizzard if it wasn’t necessary. Like most people in this area Herb prided himself in his ability to take care of himself. I am sure after the weather conditions that he and his comrades-in-arms withstood in Belgium the ‘little blizzard’ in Ohio was nothing more than an inconvenience.

    1. Farrel Krall

      Joe, I certainly concur with your kind comments about your father-in-law Herb. As you probably know I grew up just around the corner from the Carl and Gertrude homeplace; and therefore knew Herb and his younger siblings Kate, Vernie, Kenny and Anna Lou. I knew Kenny the best in that he and I were going to engineering school at about the same time and ocassionally compared notes. He was the same age as my brother Bernard.

      I remember Herb as being a good electrician. He re-wired the variety store on the corner of 33 & 81 that Sharon and I purchased in 1976 from Doc Osborn. I remember Herb as being a very safety-minded electrician never taking any chances of accidently contacting a “hot wire.”

  5. Deborah Tomasetti Perham

    Hi Karen. I just read your wonderful interview on Geneabloggers. I’m laughing about this post…wedding postponed. My aunt’s wedding (1958) was postponed for the same reason. My dad owned a construction company and picked my aunt up in a bulldozer. She got to the church, but no one else could. I got married in the month of February and my aunt was so sure the wedding would be snowed out, like hers was. (Turned out to be a sunny 54 degrees!)

    I’ll regularly visit your blog. There are plenty of posts here I’m sure I’ll enjoy.
    Warm regards, Deb
    http://ALifetimeLegacy.blogspot.com

    1. Karen

      A ride to the church on a bulldozer on her wedding day! Great story, too. We were married in November and my dad also worried we would have to cancel the wedding due to bad weather. We had very nice weather for our wedding, too, but I’m sure they never forgot those heavy snows they experienced. Thanks for writing!

  6. Phyllis Goodwin Brockmyer

    Who are the attendants in your parents wedding picture? I remember some of them, from growing up in the Willshire area, but not all.

    1. Karen

      Left to right: Betty [Hockemeyer] Allmandinger, Elmer Schumm, Esther [Schumm] Krueckeberg, Florence & Herb, Alvin Krueckeberg, Kate [Miller] Eichler, Kenny Miller. Esther is my mom’s sister and she married Alvin Krueckeberg. Kate and Kenny are my dad’s sister and brother. Elmer Schumm is my mom’s cousin. Betty Hockemeyer married Louis Allmandinger, my mom’s cousin.

  7. Waldo

    How easy it is to be oblivious of relatives. I just thought Kate Eichler was a great lady, now I see she is my cousin too. Guess that explains why she comments on your blog so frequently!

  8. Waldo

    Anybody you know planning to get married this weekend? Sounds like they may need ice skates or at least some long johns.

  9. Lee (Leon) Kallenberger

    I remember the snow of 1950. The snow started on Thanksgiving day. Used to have pictures of the snow that year, but guess they were lost over the years. I don’t think I would have wanted to try to walk even the half mile or so back to the Meyer’s place either. That is a open stretch where the winds and snow would have been ugly. Think your Dad was helped with his experience in the service. Doubt that your Dad had any problem ever being ‘comfortable’ with anyone in that neighborhood. For that matter, it wasn’t that much farther to your Grandparents home on a nice day. Would have been brutal in that snow storm.

    Thanks Karen for sharing their story about the wedding. Brought back some good memories from that time.
    Hadn’t checked your site for a while. Waldo sent me a reminder..

  10. Janet Goodwin James

    Now I can put you with the right family. I remember your mom and also others in the wedding party. You get your prettiness from your family. I remember ridiing the bus during that year of the blizzard, The Goodwins lived out east of Willshire at the Kelly farmhouse. and we always thought Fred Schumn was so cute. Us 4 sisters noticed things like that!. Dad also got stuck in the snow coming home and Phyllis, John & Mary walked a mile or so through the fields to bring back some groceries out of the car. Mary brought back bananas which had turned black in the cold.

    1. Karen

      So you must have lived near where my mom grew up. Love hearing your memories of the people, area, and time period.

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