Missy Jones tells me that according to the dictionary a shivaree is “a noisy mock serenade for a newly married couple.” It’s first recorded use was in 1843.
Now, in case that didn’t tell you anything, and in case you didn’t watch every episode of every old western including Little House on the Prairie, a shivaree is designed to interrupt the wedding night of the bride and groom and quite often involves the “stealing” of the groom away from the bride!
Apparently in 1936, the young people of the Creamer Community knew exactly what a shivaree was, and according to Missy, they planned one for the night that Alton Mercer wed her sister, Geneva Cox.
Unfortunately, (at least for the young tricksters) the group did not have the last laugh…at least not that night!
I was just about six-years-old when Geneva and Alton married in December of 1936. No, they didn’t catch a plane after the wedding for the beaches of Mexico or anywhere else for that matter. There was no money for that kind of thing during the Great Depression so their first night as a married couple was spent at our house.
I was too young to be able to remember this, but my daddy and mother laughed about it a lot. Before their own marriage, another area couple married and on their wedding night a group of young people came to their house, kidnapped the groom, carried him miles away where they left him to make his own way back home.
Now, I never thought that sounded like much fun!
When Geneva and Alton married, there was talk about a shivaree. Everyone in the community was familiar with our house and knew which room my parents slept in, and Mama and Daddy knew what to expect.
That night, Daddy suggested that the newlyweds should spend the night in the room where he and his wife slept and the two of them would sleep in the guest room.
Of course, in the dark of the night….here came the young people…into the house and into the room where they knew Geneva and Alton would be sleeping.
Lo and behold! Out of the bed came my daddy, all 6’2″ of him. He was quite a man in those days! There was quite a bit of laughing and carrying on, but the bride and groom were not bothered in any way. – Missy Jones