In June 1948, Jim Coulter and Jean Noe wanted to get married, but there was a problem. Jean was not of legal age to get married in Illinois without a parent’s consent. And Jean’s mother wouldn’t give her blessing.
Lauren Johnson, who married Brian Roe at the courthouse in Palmyra Wednesday morning, likes to tell her grandparents’ story.
“Grandpa went to pick her and her best friends up in the middle of the night,” and they drove from Princeton, Ill., to Quincy. They knew they could legally marry in Missouri, so they headed west from Quincy into Missouri. The first courthouse they found was in Palmyra, so that’s where they were married.
“They went back home and my great-grandmother couldn’t do anything about it,” Lauren said.
Somewhere along the road, they lost their marriage license. Throughout their long marriage, which produced five children, Jim and Jean Coulter couldn’t agree on what day they were married, June 7 or 8, 1948.
On June 7, he would wish her happy anniversary. “She would say, ‘No, no, honey, you’re a day early.’”
On June 8, she would wish him happy anniversary. “He would say, ‘No, no, honey, you’re a day late.’”
“They were both too stubborn to get another copy of their marriage license,” Lauren said.
Jim Coulter died in 1995, and Jean Coulter died in 2010.
Two years ago Christmas, Brian presented her with a big wrapped present.
“He found Grandma and Grandpa’s marriage certificate,” she said, and had a copy framed.
Ultimately, Jean Coulter was right. They were married on June 8, 1948. Harry J. Mitchell of Palmyra officiated at the courthouse ceremony.
After four years together, Brian proposed. They decided to follow in her grandparent’s footsteps, and marry at the courthouse in Palmyra.
Lauren still has family in Princeton, who came to the wedding ceremony Wednesday. Lauren and Brian make their home in Strasburg, Colo., about an hour’s drive from her parents. Her parents drove to Palmyra for the ceremony, too.
Lauren’s grandmother was a sentimental part of the ceremony. “Grandma was my best friend,” Lauren said. When Lauren was 6 or 7, her class made “boxes of love.” She presented the box she made, along with an accompanying poem, to her grandmother, who requested to be buried with that special gift.
Later, Jean Coulter found a box of love necklace in a magazine, with the same poem. She presented that gift to her granddaughter.
Lauren wore the necklace at her wedding, and during the ceremony, Brian placed Jean’s little gold wedding band onto the chain.
Friends and family circled around, under the dome, for the ceremony conducted by the Rev. Harold Maple.
After hugs and tears, those gathered dispersed.
“After we leave here we will grab some food and hit the road,” Lauren said, heading with her new husband back home to Colorado.
Colorado bride following in her grandmother's footsteps
Aug 6, 2014 at 8:54 PM