While we were in Farmer City, we were overwhelmed by the number of antique shops, and, unfortunately the fact that most of them were closed. As we browsed and peered through the windows of many of the stores, we were tempted to come back another day when they were open. Beautiful bottles, old license plates, medical equipment, signs – and a wedding dress.
**EDITORIAL NOTE: Please note it has come to our attention (March 2014), the below wedding dress was on display at the Farmer City Genealogical and Historical Society. Not on display at an antique shop. We apologize for this original error.
As we walked by one store, we were stopped in our tracks seeing an old wedding dress displayed in the window. As we got closer, we saw that there was a tag attached to the dress. The bride was married to her groom in 1917. With a horrible glare through the window, we tried to take the best photo we could of the dress, but also stood there for a good five minutes admiring the off white silk gown with intricate lace detail.
I (Cate), didn’t think much about the dress after that, until I started downloading my photos and found the above shot. The tag that was attached the dress.
Wedding Dress worn in
Keith Swigart and Jessie Saxton
August 15, 1917
Who were these people? Where they born and raised (and eventually passed on) in Farmer City? What was their love like? What was their wedding like? Did they have a family?
The curious and interested person that I am, I googled them. I googled their names, Farmer City, IL, their wedding date and kept googling for about an hour. I was amazed at what I found and wanted to share their story.
Keith and Jessie were married on August 15, 1917. They are believed to have had five children:
June Aidene, passed away at the age of 81 in 1999
Henrietta Alice, passed away at the age of 86 in 2006
James Carlton, passed away at the age of 78
Raymond M, believed to still be living
Franklin H., believed to still be living
Keith Wellington was born on March 13, 1984 in Farmer City and was a farmer in town until his retirement. He was the son of Bion Theodore and Sarah Evelenah and it appears that Bion’s family had political status.
Keith was also a member of the Weedman United Methodist Church, a member of Farmer City Masonic Lodge and a member of the Knights of Pythias for 78 years. In 1970, Keith was named Illinois Hereford “Man of the Year.”
Keith passed away at the age of 100 on November 6, 1994.
Jessie Agnes Saxton was born in 1896 and passed away in December of 1978. Unfortunately, not much was found on Jessie.
Their daughter, Henrietta, who is survived by her husband and family was “always on the go and blessed with energy.” A teacher and day care owner in Peoria, her obituary stated that she was an exceptional cook, baker and candy maker. She will be remembered for her sense of humor.
At the time of Keith’s death, they had 13 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren.
I would love to have seen a photo of Jessie and Keith, faces to this story and to the wedding dress that was worn on August 15th.
Further research shows that they are resting together for eternity in Farmer City. I hope you are dancing in the heavens and together and if you have internet up there, you are reading this and smiling down on my interest in your lives. I hope it was a beautiful one Keith and Jessie.