LAFE MCPHERSON & MOLLY
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|Note: This is about a young man courting a girl. I thought it was pretty interesting, showing how people did things in the 1870s in western Missouri. I pulled the story from the memoirs of my great-uncle, Melville Lafayette "Lafe" McPherson. This story is in his own words, edited by Bertrand K. Macpherson.|
"In about 1877, while working
along the Mississippi River for a man named Pink Mead who lived in a small town seven
miles west of Hannibal, MO, I was given the afternoon off one day to attend a
barbecue picnic nearby."While watching the square dancers on a platform, I
spotted a guy I knew with the same name as mine, Henry McPherson. He was with
a friend, also watching the dancers. "I spotted a pretty slim girl with brown
hair and big brown eyes dancing with a big goodlooking blond man. I asked Henry who
she was. He then asked if I wanted to meet her".
"Henry introduced me to the blond man. He was Howard Maddox who lived in the vicinity. Henry then introduced me to the girl, Molly Christian, who smiled at our greeting. I lost no time going up to her and asking her for the next dance. I told her it was my first time to dance out of doors. She told me that next Thursday there would be a big political barbecue and dance at Palmyre, which was about 15 miles northeast of where we were then.I asked if she was going, she said, 'it's so far away, I don't expect I'll get a chance. Then I asked her to go with me and she said she would, and I had known her for about five minutes!""Later, when Maddox was taking Molly home, he asked her to go to Palmyre to the picnic, and when she told him that she had promised to go with me, he said that fellow is a quick and fast worker. Maddox had a brand new buggy and a good horse. He was handsome and well-dressed, but despite several attempts, he never took Molly out again"."Another time while I was working on a farm with Henry, his sister had planned a dance. Everyone expected me to take Molly, but it was after 9 pm, when we got off work. We went to the dance but I didn't bring Molly because of the hour. Maddox was there and offered me his buggy to get her. I declined, but Henry's sister insisted so I took the rig and drove it to Molly's house. At first, her mother wouldn't let me see her because it was nearly 10 pm. But Molly wanted to see me. She got dressed and said, it's late, don't you want to stay here with me? I said, no, I have to take you to the dance because everyone there wanted me to bring you, explaining about Maddox loaning me the buggy. She told me that she had turned down three boys asking her to go that night. But when I asked her, she went to the dance that night with me." "I was a poor farmhand and Molly lived dirt poor on a farm with her mother and brother. I had no money to marry her, so I knew I would never win her hand. But she cared about me until I decided to walk away. Not long after that, she started dating one of my friends, D. N. Gore. Within a few weeks, they were engaged. I don't know if they married because I left that part of the country to find new work."
Note: Three years later, in 1880, Lafe met and married (1882) another girl he loved, Rachael E. Nawman, in Arkansas City, KS. Their marriage lasted for 61 years. They had four children and many grandchildren. Lafe was my grandfather's older brother.