Saturday, January 3, 2015

Most Popular Memphis Belle Married Last Evening, Jan 3 1878

The most popular belle of Memphis--the universal favorite of society--was married last evening to a young man no less esteemed and admired by the entire community.  The Central Methodist church, No. 181 Union street, was besieged by an immense concourse of people, intent on catching a glimpse of Miss Ella Bolling, second daughter of Mr. R. Bolling, secretary of the Home Insurance company, and her intended husband, Mr. John Poston.  The marriage of this couple has been the universal topic of conversation in the social circle for the past two weeks.  The prominence of the parties induced everybody to indulge in confidential disquisitions on the all-absorbing theme, and the comments and conversation were complimentary in the highest degree, because the young lady was admired and beloved by all, and the young gentleman was well-known as an honored member of one of the oldest and most respectable families of the city.  It was therefore not surprising that the church was packed with invited guests, all anxious to secure prominent seats.  The crowd without was nearly as large as that within, while Union street, for a hundred yards, was blockaded with carriages.  Precisely at half-past three o'clock the bridal cortege reached the church, which they entered in the following order: Bride and groom, Mr. John Poston and Miss Ella Bolling.  Attendants:  Mr. Shall Poston and Miss Lizzie M'Combs, Mr. Louis Frierson and Miss Kate Poston, Mr. Will Anderson and Miss Blanche Speed, Mr. Branceh Martin and Miss Emma Etheridge, Mr. Samuel Pepper and Miss Mary Wormeley, and Mr. Hugh Pettit and Miss Emma M'Combs.  The ushers were Mr. Ralph Wormeley and Mr. Richard Wright.  Mr. and Mrs. Bolling, the father and mother of the bride, occupied a front seat, where was also seated the mother and many other relatives of the groom. Prof. Perring was at the organ.  As the bridal party presented themselves around the altar, they were met at the sanctuary rail by Rev. W.T. Bolling, the bride's uncle, who proceeded with the ceremony, uniting the couple for life with the symbolic rings.  Mr. Bolling, the officiating minister, is a stranger in Memphis, but his admirable and commanding appearance, and the impressive manner in which he performed the ceremony, occasioned much inquiry as to who is the elegant stranger.  The deportment of the bride was most graceful.  She carried to the marriage altar the manners which have made her a universal favorite--a highbred mein and queenly bearing, and yet plain and simple.  She was very tastily and becomingly attired.  Naturally of lovely appearance, she was, yesterday evening, a model of grace, gentleness, amiability and simplicity. The bridal presents were numerous, useful, beautiful and some of the costly.  It is useless for us to speak of the groom, John H. Poston.  He has a commanding person, ranks among the most popular, upright and promising young men of Memphis, and is every way worthy of the prize he has won, for which there were so many worthy contestants.  In an hour after their marriage, the young couple left on the train for Little Rock, where Mr. Poston was called on business, thereby blending a bridal tour with one of business, which certainly presages industry and success in life.  A more popular or promising couple were never before married in Memphis, and if they are not prosperous and happy in life it will not be for the want of the prayers of numerous friends.
Originally posted in the Memphis Daily Appeal January 3 1878

John Hamil Poston was born September 25 1851, the son of prominent Memphis attorney William King Poston and Mary Letitia Park.  During the Civil War, after the fall of Memphis, the Poston home was under Union control and often used for meetings.  According to stories the family silver was hidden on the second floor away from the Union soldiers.  William King Poston died in 1866. For more information about him and his colorful life be sure to visit his memorial at findagrave.

Ella Bolling was the daughter of Robert P. Bolling, a successful Insurance Agent, and Mary Wheless. His brother was Rev. Warner T. Bolling, a distinguished member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and though the article indicates he was a stranger to Memphis that was far from the truth. During the Civil War W.T. Bolling was first attached to the Harris Zouave Cadets, a company of the prestigious 154th Senior Tennessee Regiment out of Memphis.  After the war he joined the Memphis Conference in 1868 and was a distinguished representative for twenty years. During the later part of his life he was a regular contributor to the Sunday Commercial Appeal with a byline called "Reflections."  So he was definitely not a stranger to Memphis! You can read more about him on his findagrave memorial.

Among the bridal party was Emma Etheridge, the daughter of U.S. Congressman Emerson Etheridge who represented Tennessee's 9th District.  

Ella and John would have three children, Mary, Susie and John Jr.  Ella Bolling died June 10, 1891. John is still living in Memphis in 1900 and head of a large household:
John Poston, head, born 1851, widowed, storage merchant
Mary B. Poston, daughter, born 1880
Susie B. Poston, daughter, born 1882
John H. Jr., son, born 1885
Mary l. Bolling, sister-in-law, born 1866, works at a music studio
Mary W. Bolling, mother-in-law, age 67, widowed
Bolling, Sibley, nephew, born 1873, bank clerk

John Hamil Poston Sr died in El Paso Texas on April 29, 1918, at the Hendricks Sanatorium.  Cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis.  The Hendricks Sanatorium was established in January 1915 for "cases with reasonable chance of recovery.  Patients were charged $30-$50 a week and the occupancy was capped at 50.  His remains were brought back to Memphis and buried next to his wife in Elmwood Cemetery.





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