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The families agreed on April 20, 1854, in New York City for the wedding of John (Jack) Wilkes and Jane (Jeanie) Smedberg. Jack began the long journey from Charlotte in March. As the 20th grew alarmingly near, Jeanie counted on the latest communication technology of her time:
[I]f a telegraph can travel like lightening let us know where you are at that time & if you will surely be here. It would be rather awkward if you should be detained or meet with accidents after the notes [invitations] are out, would it not - & if it could be avoided I would prefer waiting till your arrival to send them; but from Monday to Thursday would be too short notice; too contrary to etiquette. - from her letter to Jack, April 3, 1854.