Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wedding Bells . . . Again

Even for someone like John Syme Hogue, with his checkered past, one must assume the possibility of settling down, eventually, to married life. Yes, I know he already had made that momentous "I do" promise back in Michigan before his many crimes caught up with him—and for the outcome of that commitment made back in 1915, I have no further information. One must presume that that bride had seen the handwriting on the wall and had done what she must do to preserve her own peace.

That was then. This is now 1940, and John Hogue has been back home in Charleston, presumably on his best behavior after all the trials he had endured. Likely, his family—what was left of them—made sure to encourage him to remain on the straight and narrow. Perhaps a parole officer stopped by to chime in on the chorus from time to time, although I doubt those Canadian and Michigan officials would be keen on keeping up such a long-distance relationship.

By this point, Hogue would have been gainfully employed, incorporated back into his community, and taking his place as a productive member of society. At least one would presume so, as such a staid lifestyle seldom elicits such blaring newspaper headlines as had followed him nearly twenty years prior. At least, there were no longer any eye-grabbing bulletins that I could find.

Still, although it would not seem out of the ordinary for someone in Hogue's shoes to decide to remarry, the little entry in the Boone County, West Virginia, marriage register caught me by surprise. Dated October 11, 1940, application was made for the forty five year old John S. Hogue of "Kan. Co."—presumably Kanawha County, where his home would have been located—to marry a nearby Boone County resident. The bride's name was Lucille, daughter of George and Ellen Epling of Ridgeview, West Virginia. At the time the license was issued, three days later on October 14, she was seventeen years of age.

After the fact, both The Charleston Gazette and The Charleston Daily Mail made similar note of the event in brief entries on their society pages. According to the Sunday, October 20, Daily Mail in an entry headlined, "Miss Epling and John Hogue Marry,"
     Miss Lucille Epling of Ridgeview, W. Va., and Mr. John S. Hogue of Mahan were married Saturday morning at the First Presbyterian church of Charleston. Rev. J. Blair Morton performed the ceremony.
     Mr. and Mrs. Hogue left for a trip to Washington and other eastern points and on their return in two weeks will make their home in Mahan. The bride wore a blue costume suit, matching accessories and a shoulder corsage of orchids.
     Mr. Hogue is employed as a mining engineer for the Christian Colliery Coal company.



  1. Mining engineer?!?! It's safe to say he knew something about blasting.

    1. You know how important experience is in getting that new job.

  2. She was 17????

    Jeepers - some of those backwoods W. Virginia / Tennessee / Kentucky "hicks" oddity shines through in this...

  3. In 1940 17 was quite old...but how old was he...45 or 50? So he was a Mining Engineer, self proclaimed or did he go to school:)

    1. I may have this wrong, Far Side, but from what I understand of the training of engineers in earlier eras, it wasn't so much the formality of higher education, but more of an apprenticeship process...learning by doing. His was certainly a family of engineers, both in his immediate and extended family.


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