Matters of courting

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

During this period, that is, after he was old enough to own a horse and buggy, Dad kept company with a number of girls — one was a school teacher, one was a German girl named Rachel Riel. He might perhaps have married her, if he had been ready to settle down and there had not been so much opposition from her clannish German kinfolk. He came close to a shoot-out with an uncle of hers. When he brought her home one night, the uncle threatened him with a shotgun. He had his pistol drawn and the girl got between them and ordered her uncle in no uncertain terms into the house. He met the man she finally married a good many years later. He seemed convinced that Dad and Rachel had been intimate but did not seem to hold any grudge. Dad asked what made him think so, he was sure Rachel never told him anything like that.

There was another girl that he took out a few times, chiefly because she was eminently respectable — someone had spread the story that no ‘good’ girl would go out with him.

Dad was very fond of square dancing. The school teacher was the only person he ever tried “round” dancing with. [I think the teacher’s name was Jenny Reel.]

At about the time he met Mom, he had decided he would never get married. After meeting her, he suddenly changed his mind and was never quite sure why he did. It was customary in those days to ask the parents for the daughter’s hand but Dad refused to do that so they both went to her parents and simply told them. Her parents were somewhat miffed about it.

Grandfather Elias was somewhat peeved merely because he had got married and assumed the financial responsibility of a wife. I don’t know just what he [Elias] was doing during this period. He lived on farms altogether, I think, and did various moving around — renting and sharecropping. Dad thought of him as being neither too practical or too energetic but those were the days before welfare programs and he could not have raised five children and kept a wife without considerable effort on his part even with Dad’s help. The three girls — Hattie. Emma and Ruby — eventually married.


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