BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
Among the earliest recorded weddings in North Ogden was that of Celestia Bailey and William Ward on January 7, 1891. We know this, thanks to a newspaper printed on January 13th that year. However, the historic nature of the event was overshadowed by the couple’s names being misspelled in print.
“The weather in this beautiful little settlement has been very fine for the past few days and the health of the citizens is good,” the article reads. “Last Friday a quiet wedding took place where the bride being Miss Cilesta (sic) Bailey, daughter of W. Bailey, and the bridegroom, William Wards (sic), son of bishop’s councilor (sic), James Wards. About one hundred guests were present, including Bishop Thomas Wallace and wife. The tables fairly groaned with their weight of dainties, and the presents were numerous and beautiful, everything a young housekeeper would want. In the evening the young folks enjoyed themselves in the dance and the older people looked on and had much pleasure watching their sons and daughters have a good time.”
Together, William and Celestia had three children, Florence, Ivan, and Raymond. The family liked to spend their Sunday afternoon riding through North Ogden Canyon in a horse and buggy to Liberty, visiting family. Namely, they saw other Baileys from their mother’s side.
Their happy marriage was short-lived. Their matriarch, Celestia, only lived to the age of 32. The Ogden Daily Standard recorded her unexpected death in their June 16, 1904 issue. This time, they corrected the record and spelled all names correctly.
“Our community was shocked yesterday by the sudden death of Mrs. Celestia Bailey Ward, daughter of William Bailey and Mary Montgomery Bailey, and beloved wife of William Ward,” the article read. “Mrs. Ward was a highly respected member of the community, an affectionate mother, and idolized by all who knew her as a perfect type of pure and noble womanhood.
She was born in North Ogden, January 18, 1872, and was baptized May 6th, by John Brown and confirmed by Richard Jones, Sr. She identified herself with the different societies and organizations of the ward and formed friendships thus beyond the powers of time or eternity to sever. She was doing her own work and assisting in house cleaning the day before her summons came, and it is thought that in a reaching attitude hurt herself, which started internal hemorrhage, the immediate cause of her death. She will be greatly missed by the community and especially by her husband and loving little children.”
According to her eldest daughter Florence’s autobiography, it was speculated that her injury was caused by a complication following a miscarriage. Her funeral services were held in the North Ogden meeting house. Despite her troubled childhood, Florence was very proud of the hometown her parents chose for her.
“If I could have chosen my own birth place, I’m sure it would have been North Ogden, which to me is a sacred spot and will always be ‘home,’” Florence wrote in her life story.
Only three years later, William died. As a result, Florence ran the household, and her Uncle Hyrum Bailey and her younger brothers took care of the farm and water well their father had started. Then, a man named Parley Spackman took over the property. Florence married and raised her brothers with her husband Emil Chatelain.
Do you know of a marriage that happened even earlier in North Ogden? We want to know about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-624-9652.