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    Part 3, Questions Answered, Questions Posed -- What I Learned Reading Between the Lines of The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards

    This is a continuation of the analysis of marriage records recently received from the Wyoming State Archives. Although I already held a decorative Marriage Certificate, I was surprised at how much more there was to learn from the primary documents.

    Read more Reading Between the Lines, The Marriage Records of Arline Paulen and Albert F. Edwards,

    Part  1, Introduction

    Part 2, The Documents


    "Mr. Edwards" and Arline. [note bride's gunbelt]

    I was delighted to learn several new things about Arline and Albert from examining the original documents. Because Arline was an attractive young woman with a history of flirtations and numerous beaus, I surmised that she would marry a young man. The one photograph which identifies “Mr. Edwards” shows a man who seemed older than I expected. I thought the photo was mislabeled, but I was clearly wrong. The marriage documents indicate that Edwards was 36 years old when the couple was married in 1917, confirming the likelihood that the photo identification was correct.

    I was also unsure where Arline might have met Edwards. I knew she was living and working in Salt Lake City at one time, but the Wyoming marriage hinted that Edwards might be from that state. The records show that both bride and groom claimed Salt Lake City as their residence, indicating that they probably met in Utah.

    The Marriage Certificate from the State of Wyoming, “Utah” County initially confused me, but I surmise that perhaps this was a clerical error related to the bride and groom’s hometown, Salt Lake City, Utah. I looked closely at the letter formations on all the documents and found that the handwriting on the original decorative Marriage Certificate signed by Sims is unlike that on any other document except the official Certificate of Marriage. Perhaps a busy Court Commissioner was more likely to write “Utah” when he meant “Uinta” than would be a County Clerk or Deputy accustomed to writing the county name many times each day.

    The county documents also reveal the county courthouse occupations of the two witnesses who signed the decorative Marriage Certificate. Undoubtedly, J.B. Martin, County Clerk, and M. I. McCraig, Deputy were pressed into service as witnesses for the matrimonial vows, and were not friends who tagged along for the nuptials.

    On all documents, Arline Paulen is represented as “Miss,” an unmarried woman. I know that Paulen was her married name and that she was served divorce papers by her first husband John L. Paulen in 10 March 1917. I need to determine the date when the divorce became final.

    Although, it is not of vital significance, my curiosity was also piqued by the notation of the date and time of day that the marriage and licensing took place. I began to wonder about the geographical location of Evanston, Wyoming in relation to Salt Lake City, and the motivation to leave Utah to be married. I know this marriage did not last long; why did they marry in the first place? More research is indicated for the answer to this question.

    Beyond names and dates, examining these documents has given me invaluable social background for writing a narrative life history. I now know the wedding took place miles from the couple’s homes, probably on a warm summer day. I know that they were most probably alone, and had to rely on the county employees to serve as witnesses. I can only imagine the reasons for this marriage, and why it dissolved so soon thereafter. Those are questions for further research, or for the imagination of Miss Penelope Dreadful.

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    Reader Comments (1)

    You may want to check out the book "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. The book is about a woman who homesteaded in that same corner of Wyoming in the 1910s. She had come from Denver, I believe, but the letters mention lots of people from different places in that part of the country. It might give you some insight into who was moving in and why, and what their experiences were like (and aside from that, it's a great read).

    I don't have any financial connection to the book or its author...I just picked it up at a yard sale a year or so ago and enjoyed reading it.

    February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKerry
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