Sunday, December 2, 2012

2 December 1904: Love Locked Up

On this day in 1904, the Weekly Banner published news of a recent local marriage that required some persuasion of the bride's parents:

Up Young Bride, But Parents
Finally Give Blessings
to Happy Couple.

   Love laughs at locksmiths is true but sometimes love forgets and gets locked up again.
   The first part of the aphorism was proven true on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Pink Hilyard and Miss Ophelia Hughes were married at the home of a friend near Winterville.
   Mr. Hilyard brought his bride back to the city and they went to the home of the bride's parents. A stormy scene followed and the parents refused to let Mr. Hilyard see his wife.
   Later during the evening the refusal was still adhered to and not until yesterday morning did the parents of Mrs. Hilyard relent and give the young couple their blessing.
--Weekly Banner, 2 December 1904, p. 5, col. 7.

Alas, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes had good instincts. Robert Pink Hilliard was well known in town for being arrested as drunk or disorderly (or both) rather than for being an industrious young man with a bright future. He was also only 18 years old, and Ophelia had only turned 16 a month earlier. In the 1904 Athens City Directory, his profession is listed as painter.

(click to enlarge image)

According to the 1910 U.S. Census, Ophelia and Pink were living with his parents on Lumpkin Street, with Ophelia at home, caring for their two sons, Hughes, age 4, and Douglas, age 2, and Pink listed as now working as a "hackman," or public carriage driver. 

However, the 1909 Athens City Directory lists Ophelia as living with her sister on Oconee Street, indicating the marriage was already showing signs of strain. Pink continued to rack up fines from his frequent appearances the Mayor's Court, to account for his for disorderly drunken behavior, at a cost of $2.50 to $30.00 per conviction. In 1912, he and two of his friends were convicted of robbery and sent to prison. Pink was pardoned and released in 1915.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, Pink is found living in a boarding house in Augusta, Georgia, with an occupation of "painter" and marital status of "married." Ophelia and her boys are still living with her older sister, Alma, who worked as a bookkeeper for Bernstein Brothers Furniture Store and was active in the Y.W.C.A. Extension Club. Though Ophelia lists her marital status as "divorced," she would not officially file for divorce from Pink until August, 1928. 

Neither Ophelia nor Pink would ever remarry. Pink would live out his days in boarding houses and Y.M.C.A. rooms in Augusta, dying in 1958 at the age of 70. Ophelia spent her life in Clarke County, dying in 1965 at the age of 77.

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