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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage September 29, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Monday, November 11, 2013

1892: CAMP VERDE WEDDING, November 9.

Glenda Farley


"Married at Camp Verde, November 9th, 1892, by the Rev. J. M. Green, Charles H. Harbeson to Lulu Osborn. The invitation was public, and the popularity of the young couple and the high estimation in which they were held by their neighbors was the cause of the largest gathering that has ever taken place in the Verde Valley since it was settled by the white people, in 1865."

"The main ward room, which is 30 x 80 feet, in the Hoopeoe building was selected as the place for the ceremony. The hall was beautifully decorated. At 8 o'clock p.m., the people formed a circle around the hall, when Miss Calister Woods played the 'Wedding March' on the organ, during which time the couple entered the room, with Mr. John Bristow as best man for the groom, and Miss Emma Shull as best lady for the bride. The couple took their places under a beautiful floral arch, when the Rev. Mr. Green, in a very short but appropriate ceremony said the words which made them man and wife. After which they received the congratulations of their friends. There were over 200 people present, and in extending to them the hand of fellowship expressed the sincere wish of every one present, that they may have a long life full of happiness."

"At nine o'clock the string band, consisting of Walter Van Deerin and Lee Hawkins, with Miss Woods at the organ, played the Grand March, when the people formed on the floor and marched to the grandest supper ever served in the Verde Valley."

"After supper dancing was commenced and kept up until daylight. For fear of getting in too deep water, I shall not try to describe the elegant costume of the bride, which was of a cream-colored satin, while the groom was dressed in a dark suit."

"Charley Harbeson has been a resident of this part of Arizona for about ten years, and is an honorable young man in every sense of the word. Lulu Osborn was raised and educated in the Verde Valley. She is one of Arizona's pretty and best girls, and is loved and highly respected by all her companions for her many excellent qualities."

"Walter Van Deeren and Lee Hawkins with violin and guitar, with Miss Woods and other ladies as organists, furnished most excellent music, and taking it all in all it was the most pleasant and enjoyable affair I have ever witnessed in Arizona."

"G. W. H., Camp Verde, Nov. 10. 1892."

(Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; November 16, 1892; page 2.)

Charlie Harbeson, foreman, and the cowboys of the "Diamond S" ranch had agreed that the first one who married would provide a free supper and dance. The others in their turn, were to put money together and buy a fine wedding suit for the lucky grooms.

Grandma Young (Mrs. Elizabeth Young came to Camp Verde with her 2 sons during the summer of 1871, as Hospital Matron with the 5th U. S. Cavalry. She served in that capacity for 16 years) and her sons George and Lennie, were in charge of preparing the supper.

The old "Hospital building" was decorated with evergreens by the young people of the community. The ceremony was performed under an arch decorated with evegreens and a bell.

"The bride wore a cream-colored dress trimmed with satin and lace and made with a long train." The groom wore a black suit purchased by his cowboy friends. Bridesmaids were Emily Shull and Jennie Lay. The groom's best men were John Bristow and Lennie Young.

Charlie Wingfield had cleaned the borrowed organ, but in returning the reeds he got them a little scrambled, but no one minded in the least. The musicians were Walt Van Deren, Ettie Van Deren and Lee Hawkins.

"Mr. John Davis contributed a cask of old wine for the occasion."

Charles and Lulu Harbeson raised a family of 5 chldren.

"In 1920 the Harbeson's "big barn, with their summer's crop garnered in it, burned to the ground. So word was passed among their old friends to meet Nov. 9 at the Harbeson's home and surprise them on their wedding anniversary. The men brought saws and hammers, the women, good things for the dinner served under the trees. While the men brought the new barn to completion, the women made comforters for Mr. Harbeson's niece's family, whose bedding had been burned in the fire. Which proves, dear friends, that the pioneer spirit of helpfulness and loyalty to friends is not dead in our beautiful Verde Valley."

(see: Pioneer Stories of Arizona's Verde Valley; 1933, 1954; The Verde Valley Pioneers Association; "Charlie Harbeson's Wedding;" pages 16, 95-96.)


"The Arizona Single Taxer, published at Camp Verde by N. A. Vyne, contains in its latest issue the following account of one of the old-time parties:"

"'A surprise party staged by valley folk at the thirty-first wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harbeson took place Friday night.'"

"'It recalled the first and most notable cowboy wedding in the valley with 200 guests coming from all parts of northern Arizona. Rodeo cooks were kept busy six days in advance and the celebration, including supper and dancing, took place in the old hospital building of the abandoned military post, a large building with a fine dance floor.'"

"'A cowboy cleaned the only organ, but failed to replace several reeds in their proper slots and the wedding march, played by the new Kansas schoolma'rm, Miss Calesta Wood, now Mrs. John Bristow, contained variations not in the original composition.'"

"'Not a person remained at home in the valley. The two guards of an Indian murderer attended with their handcuffed prisoner.'"

"'The jazz orchestra was still in the future, but the strains of the magicians were in the strings of the fiddlers and Cupid danced with the dancers while youth and old age chased time's flying hours with flying feet until the tired fiddlers fell from their chairs and slept where they fell. Some marathon dancers applied to the only storekeeper for enough whiskey to revive the musicians, but he had shut off the supply a week in advance to prevent a free-for-all and refused their demands. Babies and children slept during the festivities in adjoining rooms or in wagons while the old folks experienced the time of their lives, while new romance was born.'"

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Monday, December 24. 1923.)

CHARLES HENDERSON HARBESON (born in Missouri on March 29, 1858) is the son of Lyman Woodford Harbeson (born in Scotland) and Lorinda Ann Ray Harbeson (born in Pennsylvania.)

LULU GERTRUDE OSBORN (born in Benton, Saline Co., Arkansas, on October 23, 1872, is the daughter of Martin L. and Catherine (Strahan) Osborn, and granddaughter of Alexander and Malinda (Slagle) Strahan, settlers at "the cottonwoods."

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Article comment by: Bill Cowan

This is a great article as always Glenda. You do a great job.

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