Carroll County Times

Reconciliation not in the cards for couple who married in Westminster [Eagle Archive]

On Aug. 17, 1895, the Westminster newspaper, the American Sentinel, carried a story about love, life, family and marriage that sounds like a plot from a William Shakespeare play.

Now, to be certain; maybe it would be more like "The Merry Wives of Windsor," as opposed to "Richard III," — as retold these days in the popular Netflix drama, "House of Cards." Maybe not.


The American Sentinel article reported that, "Mr. R. Frank Caples, a young grocer and farmer, of Cockeysville, and Miss Stella Parks, a daughter of Mr. George Parks, a farmer near that place, eloped to this city on Tuesday, spent the night at the Montour House and were married on Wednesday morning, by Rev. A. D. Melvin, pastor of the M. P. (Methodist Protestant) Church."

This approach to getting married in the late nineteenth century was certainly in contrast to the wedding traditions of this time in history, according to an examination for the Historical Society of Carroll County by historian Mary Ann Ashcraft.


Ashcraft noted, for example, that the month of June, and the Christmas season were both popular choices for couples choosing a time for weddings.

It was popular because, according to a June 11, 1898 article in the Democratic Advocate, it was "a time for the reunion … Wanderers return to the parental roof …"

According to the report in August, 1895, life under such a roof may not have been the most pleasant, at least that's how the Caples-Parks couple may have felt.

"The father and brother of the bride, accompanied by a detective, it is said, arrived here shortly after the marriage ceremony was performed. Mr. Caples and his bride were walking along West Main street, between the Montour House and the railroad, when they spied Mr. Parks on the opposite side of the street. Not caring to encounter the irate parent, they turned into the side entrance to one of the residences of that point, passed out the back way and walked two miles to Spring Mills Station, where they boarded a train and went on their way rejoicing.

"The amusing feature of this latter incident is that Mr. Parks was seeking his daughter and her husband for the purpose of assuring them of his forgiveness and to invite them to return home…"

Of course, at this point in the story; if Mr. Parks were the "House of Cards" character, Frank Underwood, things may have turned out differently.

The Huffington Post, explained in "9 Things 'House of Cards' took from Shakespeare," "characters that are, essentially, villains … say funny things and create a rapport with us. They make us feel like they're our close friends. But be careful! If you let your guard down, they might just … push you in front of a moving train..."

After all, Underwood, "has no patience for useless things."