Contributed by barbara-dave
Description: Fowle Marriage Page A8
Newspaper published in: Washington, D. C.
Washington Post March 2, 1913 Fowle Marriage Page A8
WED IN HOUSE IN 1863
Aged Massachusetts Pair Enjoy Novel Distinction.
CHAPLAIN TIED THE "KNOT"
Mr. and Mrs. John A. Fowle, Only Couple Ever Married in Representatives' Chamber, Celebrate Golden Wedding. Given Reception in Boston - Nursed and Sang Together.
Special to The Washington Post.
Boston, Mass., Mar. 1. - Mr. and Mrs. John A. FOWLE, of 654 Columbia road, Dorchester, who were married in the hall of the House of Representatives at Washington 50 years ago, celebrated their golden wedding today, and were given a reception by the Massachusetts G. A. R. in the Hall of Flags at the statehouse.
The FOWLES are the only couple ever married in the House of Representatives by the chaplain of the House.
The romance of the FOWLES is of the most unusual character. Mrs. FOWLES, who was Miss Elida RUMSEY, daughter of a shopkeeper in the Bowery, New York, was trained when a young girl as a singer. With the outbreak of the civil war the call to help was heard by this girl of twenty, and she went to Washington, where in the camps of the Union soldiers about the city she became a second Florence Nightingale, nursing the wounded soldiers, and with her sweet voice bringing comfort and peace to the battle scarred veterans from the front.
Both Friends of Lincoln.
At the same time Mr. FOWLE, a clerk in the Navy Department, who also possessed a good voice, was during his spare time doing a similar work. Both were friends of Abraham Lincoln, and it was at a hospital one day when the President was present that the two met.
A little later the choir of the House of Representatives was formed and Miss RUMSEY was chosen as its soprano, while Mr. FOWLE sang the tenor parts. It was during the acquaintance begun in this way that the couple became in love with each other, and their approaching marriage was announced.
When it became known among the men of the Union army encamped near Washington that these two were to be married there was an immediate demand for a public wedding big enough to include their many friends among the soldiers. Accordingly, by a special act, the chamber of the House of Representatives was placed at their disposal, and the chaplain of the House, the Rev. J. W. STOCKTON, a brother of the late Frank R. STOCKTON, the author, offered to marry them. The ceremony was performed in the presence of 4,000 soldiers and friends of the couple.
After the ceremony and while the bride was standing ready to receive congratulations a voice from the gallery shouted, "Sing us something."
Mrs. FOWLE faced the audience of 4,000, and, standing by the desk of the Speaker in her wedding veil and orange blossoms, and with her husband by her side, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Mrs. FOWLE was the first person to sing in public Julia Ward Howe's then new hymn, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Mr. FOWLE was born on Copps Hill, Boston, April 4, 1826. His wife was born in New York, June 6, 1842.