Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Chance Weddings

Angie here: Second chance weddings are quite romantic...

Meet Birchard Rutherford Nelson (my grandpa) and Maybelle Dorothy Holmgren (my grandma).

 Birt was born in 1883 to an old Americana family. He married Rose Peterson, his first wife, a Swedish immigrant. Married 15 years, they were very happy. Through a tragedy, both his wife and his mother caught a devastating illness on or near Christmas Eve. His wife died that day, childless, after complications with pneumonia. His mother followed around Easter. She'd lingered a long time very sick.

Maybelle was born in 1904, first generation born in America after her entire family emigrated from Sweden. She'd been a little girl when her cousin Rose married handsome Birt Nelson. They'd been together at many family functions. Maybelle went off to school to become a nurse. But after writing many consoling letters, she returned to help after the family tragedy.

 (By the way, Grandpa didn't speak Swedish and that drove him crazy because he travelled across the plains in a covered wagon ending in a Swedish community.)

Maybelle helped with the common family businesses, Birt's general store and the family farm. Her close association with Birt caused town gossip according to old family friends. So to combat the gossip, and with 21 years difference in their ages, Birt and Maybelle married in 1930. They produced 3 children and remained married for 54 years! 

Grandpa was able to have children with his second wife. What an awesome result of a second chance wedding.
Birt & Maybelle Nelson 1930 Wedding Photo
& Later with Family from their Second Chance Wedding.
Fun note: In their wedding picture above, Ruth was a dear friend and cousin to my grandma. Cecil is my grandpa's nephew. I met him a few years ago just prior to his 100th birthday. He and his sister, Margie, were delightful hosts allowing my hubby and I to come and connect.

Another fun note: The wedding picture. Notice the bride is not wearing a long, white gown? Why do you suppose that is?

Okay, one more thing: Yep, that's my mom in the family photo below the wedding photo. My grandfather was 59 when she was born and 81 when I was born. How thankful I am for second chance weddings.

My grandparents not only had a long, happy marriage but they also lived to very old ages. Grandpa was 99 1/2 and Grandma was 92. Not bad when this is the norm in my family line :) Looking forward to a long life.

Do you know or have a second chance love?


  1. I love these wedding stories from long ago--and the pictures. Will have to dig into the family tree and albums to see what was in my family's wedding history.

  2. I agree. I am planning a fun historical fiction with their story line in the future.

  3. I love this story. And I'm a firm believer in second chances.

  4. How fun! Great photos, Angie.

    I have a friend whose husband died a couple of years ago. She's found love again and is marrying this month. :)