Cora and Charley’s Courting Days

Cora McCauley Palmer’s Memoirs (written for her son, Charles) continue:

“The fall your father was 20 (in 1896), he bought 40 acres of land from your grandfather just about a mile south of Oakland Church. It joined the 40 acres your Uncle Edney had bought from him. It had no house on it, so he lived with Edney and Stella. He had his mare that your grandfather had given him, a sow, and pigs. He had bought another horse, so he had a team to tend his crops with. He came home real often when it rained because he couldn’t work outside. So, one afternoon he came through the kitchen where I was and, without saying a word, just pitched a little folded piece of paper at me. It landed on the back of the stove. ‘Course I grabbed it real quick and dropped it down the front of my dress ’til I could get away to my room to see what it was. There was no one in the kitchen at the time, and I am sure he knew the coast was clear, or he would not have taken a chance. That was in January 1897. So we kept up our ‘clandestine’ affair for about three months. We never said a word to anyone about it, just went on as usual whenever he came over. But one day, your grandmother was looking in my trunk for something and picked up a cap which I had hidden my little ‘billet-douxs’ in, and they tumbled out, of course. She took them to your grandfather to read (I was in school at the time). . . . By that time, I had promised to marry your father-to-be in the fall.

” . . . we had a nice courtship. Charley had the privilege of calling on me every Sunday afternoon from two ’til five o’clock!!! But, of course, he was there several times during the week and would get in a few words
of endearment that helped us a lot.

“We had planned to elope to ‘The Indian Territory’ (as it was then known; it’s Oklahoma now) to get married, as we were not sure if my father would consent to my marriage. He (George T. McCauley) was living at Harg at the time taking care of the ‘toll gate’ from Columbia to Fulton. So I wrote to him to come up one Sunday to see me. He came, and Charlie (Cora spelled it ‘Charley’ also) asked him for me. But when he came to talk to me, he said, ‘Cora, Cora, what will your grandma say?’ (‘Grandma’ was his mother, Margaret McCauley.) He gave us his blessing, and we were happy.

“The summer passed quickly. We went to Sunday School every Sunday, and Charley would ride home with me then. . . . we set our wedding date for September 1, 1897, at three o’clock at your grandparent’s home north of Columbia. (Cora was 13 and Charlie 20)”