Friday, March 4, 2011

Fearless Females, March 4, 2011: James E. L.Keyes & Agnes Brown Marriage Record, 1877

Thank you to Lisa Alzo, of The Accidental Genealogist , for this always interesting and evocative month long series about the Fearless Females of our past.  The instructions for this day are as follows:


March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

James E. L. Keyes and Agnes Aurelia Brown 
Joined in Marriage, June 15, 1877 

Copy of the original 1877 marriage record;
  Wasco County Court House, The Dalles, Oregon


 Agnes Aurelia Brown was only 17 years old when she married 26-year-old, Tennessee-born James E.L.Keyes.  Agnes was the daughter of Sarah Almira and Jonathan Perry Brown,  early settlers in Oregon's eastern Wasco County.  The Brown family  came to the remote hills along the Snake river sometime around 1867.  In fact for a few years, Sarah and her daughters were the only white women in the area.  In the early 1870s, James and his cousin Zachary had been staked to a herd of 600 Cotswold ewe lambs, which they drove from their Benton County home, near Corvallis, across the mountains and to what is now Wheeler County.

The marriage of the two vibrant and attractive  young people must have been quite an event.  The area's meager pioneer population considered weddings, births, and funerals as major social occasions.  James and Agnes were undoubtedly the recipient of many good wishes for a long and happy married life.  But that was not to be.  Four years later, James E. L. Keyes buried his 21- year-old wife, who died a week after the birth of their third child - my grandmother, Agnes Laura Keyes.

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Other posts about Agnes Aurelia Brown Keyes:

Fearless Females #11: A Death Too Soon

Agnes Aurelia Brown Keyes; An Incomplete Life

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