A Heroic Bride in Brooklyn: 1906


sad victorian bride


Heroic New York Girl Compels Fiancée to Do Justice to Girl He Deserted.

Curtain Hides Changes in the Final Arrangements of Wedding

Bride Turns Bridesmaid.

New York, Sept. 23. A notice appeared in the Brooklyn newspapers the other day saying that on Sunday evening W.F. Thober of Newark, N.J., would marry Miss Mary MacDonald at her mother’s home, 249 Fifty-Ninth street, Brooklyn, and that the Rev. William T. McGuirl of St. Michael’s Church in Brooklyn would perform the ceremony. The florist engaged to decorate the parlors of the MacDonald home brought a wagonload of potted plants early Saturday morning.

The messengers were sent out to notify the guests to be on hand a day earlier. “Come Saturday,” they were told. Young Thober, who is in the diemaking business, was hurriedly summoned from Trenton, and reached Brooklyn soon before dusk Saturday.

He was in a happy mood and greeted Miss MacDonald cordially. She ushered him into the parlor. There many guests had already gathered. Each time a new guest arrived Thober was introduced. Miss MacDonald’s brother-in-law, B.H. Griffin, who lives at 867 East Thirty-fifth street, did the introducing.

In fact, Mr. Griffin was there as master of ceremonies, so when he stepped to the door to greet a pale-faced girl no one took any particular notice of it. The girl was accompanied by a veiled woman in black. They were ushered into a rear room, where Miss MacDonald sat chatting with some girl friends.

“Leave it all to me,” said Miss MacDonald, shaking hands with the pale-faced girl and taking her to a room upstairs. Returning to the reception room, Miss MacDonald’s friends found her a few minutes later arrayed in her wedding gown of white silk. She was weeping.

“Has any one sent for the minister?” she inquired, and Mrs. MacDonald replied that the minister would arrive in a few minutes.

“Minister,” repeated one of the guests, inquiringly, “I thought a priest was to perform the marriage ceremony.”

Plans Are Changed.

“The plans have been changed somewhat,” explained Mrs. MacDonald. “The Rev. H.C. A. Meyer of St. Jacobi’s Lutheran Church at Fourth Avenue and Forty-sixth street will officiate.”

“Do you feel nervous, Mary,” inquired another guest, turning to Miss MacDonald.

“No,” was the answer. “I’ve been schooling myself for the ordeal I must pass through.”

Out in the parlor Mr. Thober was laughing and joking with a group of men. Miss MacDonald’s brother-in-law, Griffin, stepped up to him and whispered something.

Thober later paled and moved toward the door. Griffin smiled.

“There is no chance of escape,” he said, taking Thober by the arm; “face the music. Miss MacDonald is to be a bridesmaid, not a bride tonight.”

“And I am to be the best man,” chimed in George Casey, a friend of the MacDonald family. “The bride will be Miss Viola Glover, of Newark, the girl you deserted several months ago. She is here with her mother.”

The curtains were brushed aside, and Miss Glover stepped forward. It was like a scene from Henry Arthur Jones’ new play, “The Hypocrites,” now at the Hudson Theater. The finger of scorn was pointed in the right direction. Miss MacDonald occupied the center of the stage. With her arm about the waist of the New Jersey girl, the Brooklyn girl stepped forward and said calmly:

“Marry her! She don’t want you, but she wants your name!”

Some of the guests wept. Others fanned themselves vigorously. All crowded about Thober. He stood open-mouthed staring into space. Brother-in-law Griffin called in the minister, who had just arrived. The Rev. Mr. Meyer was robed in black. Thober glanced at Miss MacDonald and then at Miss Glover.

He sighed and said, “All right,” when the minister asked him if he was prepared to marry Miss Glover. The ceremony lasted but a minute or two.

Mrs. Glover, mother of the bride, shook hands with Miss MacDonald and thanked her for the service she had rendered. The bridesmaid led the bride into the dining room, where the wedding feast had been prepared. The bridegroom followed sheepishly.

But he was not permitted to partake of the wedding feast. Mr. Griffith handed him his hat and pointed to the street door. Mrs. MacDonald opened the door.

“Go,” she said, “and go quickly.”

Thober went so rapidly that he has not been seen since. At the wedding feast the story was told. It was a sad one. Young Thober had made the acquaintance of Miss Glover back in December, 1905. She lived with her parents on Sumner street, Newark. He lived there on the same block. After paying attention to her for four months he left Newark and sought employment in Brooklyn.

There he made the acquaintance of Miss MacDonald. He fell in love with her.

Secret Discovered.

Miss Glover heard of him in Brooklyn and wrote, pleading with him to save her good name. Then he left Brooklyn and got employment in Trenton. Miss MacDonald was on a visit to Newark last Wednesday. Se happened to say to a friend that she was going to marry Frank Thober. The friend exclaimed:

“Frank Thober! Why, he was engaged to a girl in Newark, Miss Glover. Her father is a wealthy banker.”

Miss MacDonald had never heard of the other girl in the case, but began an investigation which led her mother to meet Miss Glover’s mother. Then one marriage engagement was broken and another one made. The plan to compel Thober to marry the girl he deserted was then formed. Miss MacDonald declaring that she thought herself lucky in losing him.

After the wedding feast, Mrs. Thober, as she is now known, returned with her mother to Newark. Miss MacDonald and the wedding guests made merry. Everybody congratulated Miss MacDonald on her bravery, and that she would have good luck for the remainder of her days. She said she simply did her duty. Those who witnessed the wedding of Thober and Viola Glover agreed to keep the matter a secret.

Yesterday some one sent notices to the Newark newspapers, saying that Miss Glover and Mr. Thober had been secretly married in December last, after eloping to Brooklyn. Friends of Miss MacDonald saw the notices, and began to ask questions. To settle the matter, Mrs. MacDonald sent this notice to a Brooklyn newspaper last night.

“MacDonald-Thober—Engagement of marriage between Miss Mary A. MacDonald and William Frank Thober is canceled, owing to the bridegroom having a wife in Newark. Trenton and Newark papers please copy.”

The Newark newspapers received copies of it and applied to Mrs. Glover for an explanation. She declared at first that the marriage had taken place in December last. Thober’s relatives backed up this statement, but when Mrs. Glover was informed that the true facts were known, she said she was simply trying to shield her daughter’s name in saying the marriage had taken place in December.

Thober did not return to Newark. One of his friends said he would probably never return. He is twenty-one years old. The girl he married is nineteen. The girl who refused to marry him, Miss MacDonald, is young, too. She is nineteen, pretty, and a heroine.

San Jose [CA] Mercury News 24 September 1906: p. 4, 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Henry Arthur Jones [1851-1929] was a popular English dramatist. He was sometimes accused of writing melodrama. Mrs Daffodil’s readers may judge for themselves by reading The Hypocrite. Ibsen it is not, but it does Grip. Oscar Wilde did not approve of Mr. Jones. He said, “There are three rules for writing plays. The first rule is not to write like Henry Arthur Jones; the second and third rules are the same.” Mr Jones perhaps should have taken a leaf from this family drama. One hopes that Miss MacDonald found happiness with a more worthy gentleman and that Mr Thober proved a better husband and father than his actions as a sweetheart would suggest. Mrs Daffodil is not sanguine.

4 thoughts on “A Heroic Bride in Brooklyn: 1906

  1. Ann

    Brooklyn records the marriage of William Thober and Viola Glover on 19 Sept 1906. However, Thober’s WWI draft card gives his mother as his next of kin. However, in 1920 he has a wife Helen (Bassford), an 8-year-old son, and a baby daughter. He died in January 1973.


    1. chriswoodyard Post author

      Most intriguing! One wonders: Was it death or divorce for poor Viola? And what happened to the child? Perhaps a death in childbirth. Miss MacDonald’s brother died very suddenly only a few days after the wedding, so her cup of sorrow was overflowing in 1906. Mr Thober seems to have moved on. Many thanks for this additional, fascinating information.
      Mrs Daffodil


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