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Last updated 2/24/04

Feature Story February 2004

50th wedding anniversary of Rueben and True Ulmer
(Lovingly written by their daughter Evelyn Ulmer)

It was a beautiful wedding day - cool and bright (in a year much like 1965). There was rain the day before and the day after. The wedding took place at the home of the bride in Brownville - high on a hill over looking the town and the river, which was bank full from the rains.

The bride had taught 40 pupils in the primary room at Dawson for two years, walking a mile to school and back. At the end of the school year she went to the Brownville home of her parents to sew her wedding dress and plan the wedding.

During the winter of 1914 the groom had dug a well on the farm two miles north of Dawson, built big hay and stock barn, a chicken house for the 24 hens his mother gave him. In the early spring of 1915 he and a carpenter began work on the house.

Automobiles were few so it was most unusual for the groom to make so long a trip. His brother Nelson Ulmer drove him to Brownville. It was the farthest he had been from home - in his 22 years he had been to Falls City only twice.

He arrived in Brownville on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday he helped pick strawberries and made a daylong trip with the bride's father to Auburn by train for the marriage license.

The wedding was on Wednesday - a simple ceremony at noon, followed by dinner. Guests were parents, brothers, and sisters and their families, the bride's grandmother and the Rev. H. S. Tool family (the Dawson minister who performed the ceremony).

On Wednesday evening the guests returned home in their two autos. The bride and groom returned to Dawson by train on Friday, stayed a few days in the home of the groom's parents, and then went to live in a part of their just enclosed new house. The bride cooked for the carpenters, the groom helped with the building work, reserving much of the finishing work for himself.

Now tall elms, maples and coffee trees surround the house. There are six children, four sons-law, and thirteen grandchildren. There have been drought and two world wars. The house has survived lightening and a small tornado. The pumping and carrying of buckets of water have changed to a turn of a faucet. The single walking plow and two horses with which Reuben broke the sod on the south twenty are as obsolete as the horse and buggy, which took them to church. The autos, which could not travel after heavy rain and were drained and put on blocks for the winter, have gone, and now night and day the year around the highway is filled with the noise of cars and thundering trucks.

In retirement years True teaches piano and organ, serves as church organist and keeps up a voluminous correspondence with her scattered children and friends. Rueben, a Sunday school superintendent, orchestra and choir director, spends long days at work as carpenter and painter - a careful and artistic workman. Their concerns have been home, church, and community, and to these they have given themselves generously and well.

(Rueben and True Ulmer lived in the house where Wayne and Marian Ulmer Leatherman now make their home and rest in the Heim Cemetery at Dawson. They are the grandparents of new Penn Colony Historical Society Board Member, Gary Leatherman of Pawnee City, Nebraska)

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