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Spring Wedding and the Move to Charlotte
Map of Eastern United States
Dearest Jeanie: Highlights of the Wilkes-Smedberg Papers (1853-1913)
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•The families select April 20, 1854 for the day of the wedding 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 not it - & 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

On April 20, 1854, Jeanie and Jack were married in the Smedberg family home at  22 Beach St.,  by Dr. James W. Alexander of the Presbyterian Church in the Fifth Avenue at the Corner of Nineteenth Street.  The groomsmen was Jack's younger brother,  Edmund Wilkes and his cousin James R. Renwick. Bridesmaids who attended Jeanie were her cousin  Laura Renwick and her sister-in-law Janey Wilkes. The guests number around 60 of the couple's close friends and relatives. Jeanie remarks about the day focused on the weather,  "The early spring had been very forward, but a few days before the 20th, we had a heavy snow fall …I think that was the time your father (Jack) had to come over…in a sleigh, as the tunnels were so blocked with snow…" *

Marriage Announcement  Notices of Marriage and Deaths of Leading New York Families from 1836 to 1868, compiled by Elizabeth King, vol. II. Courtesy of the New York Society Library)


 * From the “Autobiography of Mrs. John Wilkes (nee Jane Renwick Smedberg) Charlotte, NC 1903.” (typescript in Wilkes-Smedberg Papers, Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room)


  * (This photograph appears in a now-defunct website