Ada’s Wedding Hanky and Pin

ADA MAY PARMENTER, DAUGHTER OF ALICE ELVIRA WILSON AND HER HUSBAND MILO DAVID PARMENTER, was born in Beatrice, Nebraska on May 5, 1880. She was with her parents at the opening of the new town of Lamar, Colorado. Alice and Milo were originally from Boston, Massachusetts.

Milo, among other businesses, did business with a sheep man, George Washington May, who was originally from New York City. When George would come to Lamar, he was often invited to eat with Milo and Alice. George was about 17 years older than Ada, so she was just a girl when they first met. Ada told her granddaughter, Catherine Shumaker Brinson, that “he talked funny and I sat across the table from him and giggled at his speech.”

I always believed that she thought he talked funny because he was from New York and sounded so different from the Parmenter family, who were very proper Bostonians. But my grandmother, Catherine Edna May Shumaker, said that her father “lisped”.

Ada and George were married on September 1, 1898 in the Methodist Church in Lamar, Colorado. Her parents, Milo and Alice, had been a major part of the founding of both the town and the church.

In those days, all ladies (and gentlemen) always kept a hanky with them, and Ada had a special hanky for her wedding day. Made of fine linen and silk lace, it measured just less than eleven inches square, and she carried it with her wedding bouquet and a tiny white Bible.

Ada May Parmenter May's Wedding Hanky
Ada’s Wedding Hanky

Shortly before or after their wedding, George gave her a pretty “bar pin” made of silver with a central pearl, her favorite gem. It was about one and a half inches long, and was the latest fashion at the time – Ladies liked to wear a bar pin on the center of their high lace collars. This pretty pin became Ada’s signature piece that she wore for every special occasion throughout her life.

Ada May Parmenter May's Pearl Bar Pin
Ada’s Pearl Bar Pin

They lived in Lamar until the summer of 1910. During their time in Lamar they had five children, Catherine Edna, Charles Bayard, Walter Parmenter, Florence Alpha, and Frances Alice.

Then they moved to Ann, near Mountain Grove, Missouri. While living in Ann, Missouri, they had two more children, George Lincoln and Bert David. In Missouri, George W.’s health became bad, and a Kansas City doctor advised that they should move somewhere that the water was better.

As they traveled south from Missouri, Ada loved the rolling hills of western-central Mississippi and didn’t want to go any farther. After settling down in Bovina, Mississippi, their eighth and last child was born, Mary Louise.

Ada May Parmenter May
Ada May Parmenter May, my “Grandma May” about 70 years old.
Ada May Parmenter May
Catherine Shumaker Brinson’s notation on the back of the photo.

After Ada’s death at age 88, her wedding hanky and pearl bar pin was given to her granddaughter Catherine Shumaker Brinson.

And at almost every family wedding after that, Catherine pinned the wedding hanky and pearl pin to the underskirt of the bride’s dress, for the bride’s “something old”, and “something borrowed”.

Ada's Wedding Hanky and Pearl Pin were pinned to the underskirt of my wedding gown.
Ada’s Wedding Hanky and Pearl Pin were pinned to the underskirt of my wedding gown, and to those of other family brides, folded and pinned just like this.

I’m now the protective custodian of our family heirloom, Ada’s wedding hanky and pearl bar pin. Be sure and let me know if there’s a wedding coming up!  🙂

There’s a lot more to George and Ada’s story, and when I have it all prepared to publish, I’ll let you know through our Facebook Genealogy group, and through my genealogy mailing list.

Here’s how to join both:

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