June 2, 1908
Neither age nor circumstance can stand before the will of Dan Cupid. Among the twenty-one women in Kansas City who became brides yesterday, the earliest June bride of them allow as Mrs. William Thomas Meads, 76 years old, who, as Mrs. Eliza Anderson, eloped from the county poor farm with the groom in the early morning and was married at the court house at 10 o'clock by Justice Mike Ross. And among the twenty-one none is more happy or more thrilled with dreams of the future.
"The county court wouldn't let us marry at the farm," she explained last evening in the room at 727 Harrison street, which she and the groom rented for a week. "There is absolutely no sense in them not allowing us to get married, but since they wouldn't , we up and ran away. We were up at 5 o'clock, for it takes William a long time to get over the two miles to the station. The other women there bade me goodby last night.
"Now that we are here and married, we are ready to face the world again. We fled from it once. But William has saved his salary as librarian, and I have many friends in Kansas City. We are going to open a little confectionery store and live in a room in the back. We are certain that we can make a living and are never going back to the poor farm.
"They never treated William right out at the farm. He had charge of the library and had to be on his feet day and night to answer two telephones. And they only gave him $5 a month. He can make lots more than that in Kansas City."
The bride, who had been standing back of Meads's chair, here stopped her flow of talk to push her spectacles back on her forehead, stoop, put an arm around Meads's neck and kiss him on the brow. The old man petted her with his one able hand.
"She's a mighty good little woman," he put in. "Don't you dare to poke fun of her in your paper."
"No," interrupted the bride, straightening suddenly. "It is an outrage the way we have been treated. People seem to think our running away is a joke. I've just as much right to get married as I had fifty years ago. I'm an old settler in Kansas City. I have been here forty years. My husband died twenty years ago and I went to work for Bullene, Moore, Emery & Company. I was with them a long time until I got the asthma so that I couldn't work nor live in the city. So I went out to the farm where the air is pure. I know some of the finest people in Kansas City. Two members of the grand jury, who visited the home, recognized me and were astonished. I told them it is no disgrace to be on the poor farm. It's no crime to be poor, after one has worked hard for years and years, as I did. It's just inconvenient.
"William and I are going to start life all over again, aren't we, William?"
The groom gave a "yes" pat with his hand.
That is about all -- Oh, yes, there is the groom. William Meads is 66 years old and paralyzed on one side. He fought during the entire civil war under General Joseph Shelby. After the rebellion he was employed for fifteen years on a Kansas City evening newspaper During the latter part of the period he was foreman of the composing room. When he was stricken with paralysis he went to the poor farm. He has better use of his right arm and leg now than he had ten years ago, but his general health has been worn down by the passing of years. he did not attempt to rise from his chair either to greet or bid farewell to his visitor.