What a Wedding

The city of Columbus, Ohio is celebrating it’s bicentennial this year, and they are digging through their archives to tell tales of yesteryear. Like this story: one of the most unlikely places for a wedding. It takes a lot of love to get married outside the Ohio Penitentiary,  but that was the first thing Nancy Jane Scott and Thomas Miles did after being released from prison.

In front of 1,100 prisoners and 500 Columbus citizens, the couple wed on January 31, 1875.  Several hundred more were turned away at the gates the morning of the wedding. The prison helped the couple by printing between 400-500 invitations, not nearly enough for the amount of people interested in attending.

It’s unclear why Nancy Jane Scott was imprisoned in the first place, but her husband was put behind bars for stealing hams while working as a deckhand on a canal boat. The two were able to shorten their sentences with good behavior, and decided they would celebrate by being wed on the day of their release in front of the prison.

As the story goes, the sun broke through the clouds right when the wedding ceremony ended, and the warden hoped that would be an omen for the rest of the couple’s life. There never was a reason given for the prison agreeing to host such an event, but it just goes to show that people had novel wedding ideas well before the 21st century!

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