State Historic Site

Trail End

Rosa-Maye Kendrick Harmon's wedding table (Kendrick Collection, TESHS)

The American Wedding

Courtship & Marriage Rituals, 1889-1929

A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site

August 1996 - December 1996

SOMETIMES A GIRL married the boy next door and stayed close within the circle of family and friends she'd known all her life. Other times, however, a bride's new home was far away from familiar surroundings. Homesickness was not unusual and many a bride longed for the familiar comforts of her childhood home. Comfort had to be taken where it was found, however, as Rosa-Maye Kendrick Harmon discovered when she moved to London right after her wedding:

Speaking of the meadowlark, I thought I heard one the other day and a wave of longing for home engulfed me. I couldn't get rid of it, or the imagined smell of sage, and finally resorting to [driving] out into the country aimlessly. … England isn't Wyoming, but I found that the countryside, the world over, steals into the senses with a "mild and healing sympathy."

Such separation was hard on the families as well. When Eula Wulfjen married John Kendrick in 1891, she moved from the bright lights of Greeley, Colorado, to the blue skies of southern Montana – a move her father found particularly difficult to accept. Although they knew she was happy in her marriage, Charles and Ida Peeler Wulfjen truly missed their daughter, as expressed by Ida in 1891:

I hope you will stay east as long as John feels he can spare the time, on account of the change. I know you need it. You have been a good little girl to write so often. Pop says tell you he misses you awfully. His throat fills up when we speak of his little snooks. 

Author and family friend Frances Parkinson Keyes brought the tale of Kendrick brides full circle when John and Eula's son Manville married and moved his bride from Washington to Wyoming:

[The bouquets] are as fresh and as fragrant as spring – the spring which this bride will find blooming about her when, her wedding trip to Panama and the West Indies over, she and her husband, Manville Kendrick, reach the ranch in Wyoming where years ago his father … also took his bride.

 (Kendrick & Hoff collections, TESHS)

Homesick Blues