After weeks of preparation and anticipation, Ann Croghan married Thomas Jesup at Locust Grove on July 18, 2015. Of course, Ann and Thomas were actually married in 1822, but we at Locust Grove were delighted to have the opportunity to reenact the occasion. Normally at Locust Grove, our costumed interpreters spend time in the year 1816, so it was an especial treat to step forward into the future and discuss other events in the lives of the Croghan family. Many wonderful people worked together to make this event possible, despite the heat of the day, so in the spirit of that cooperation, for this post several members of our interpreter corps have shared their perspectives on the event, as they had a front row seat to the fun and frivolity of the proceedings.
From Brian Cushing, Locust Grove’s program manager: I am completely in awe of what the first person interpreter team was able to pull off with the recreation of the 1822 wedding of Ann Heron Croghan to General Thomas Sydney Jesup. Hannah Stoppel (Ann Croghan) and Brandon Vigliarolo (Thomas Jesup) hit the books to get an in-depth understanding of who these people were and what their lives were like leading up to their wedding. Their presentations to the interpreters prior to the event helped us all to achieve a more complete understanding of the history of the world of the Croghans. Melissa Alexander did special research on Mary Carson O’Hara, soon to be the wife of William Croghan, Jr., to additionally flesh out the world of Locust Grove in 1822.
Another huge credit for pulling this off on the ground goes to Keith Stevenson, usually our 1842 Dr. John Croghan, who chose to stay in plain clothes for this event and was indispensable in helping me get the organizational side of things and “heavy lifting” done throughout the day. Frank Jarboe, who Market Fair attendees will remember as “Parson John”- the traveling 18th Century minister, helped us out by providing the text for the ceremony. Kelly Stevenson implemented her expert calligraphy skills to make “Reserved” signs for the ceremony and also decorated the bride and groom’s table for the reception. Executive Director Carol Ely and Marketing Coordinator Bonny Wise made sure there was a piece of cake in the hands of all of the wedding guests at the reception. Mia Seitz made a special promotional sign for the upcoming 18th Century Market Fair in hopes of luring some of our guests back for another incredible experience. And, of course, the long list of Locust Grove staff, docents, gate/admission volunteers, concession volunteers, and an intrepid few who agreed to be all purpose. It was a real team effort to pull off what was a truly unique, spectacular day.
From Amy Liebert (Mrs. Emilia Clarke): As the theatrical director for this program, I was blown away by the dedication, energy, creativity and amazing performances our cast brought to this event.
In addition to the amount of work the cast put into their costumes, there was also an all cast rehearsal last wednesday as well as a rehearsal in the morning for the bride, groom, their attendants, Lucy and William, and the minister. This was in addition to the usual regular rehearsals and workshops where our cast members hone their skills.
This was also the first time out for one of our interpreters, Kendra McCubbin and the last appearance for some time of one of our seasoned alums, Julia Bache, who is going off to college in the fall. Julia usually plays Ann Croghan in 1816; however, for this event she was Mary Ann Bullitt.
Jason Hiner stepped in as William Croghan at the last minute and put on a fantastic performance all day.Albert Roberts, stepped into the role of minister for the ceremony (with very little advanced notice!).
From Sam Loomis (William Croghan, Jr.): Such a good turn out for the heat! Albert gave a lovely sermon on matrimony and sacred bonds, and included a very robust shout against fornication.
From Jason Hiner (William Croghan): The event last week was magnificent. It was similar to the Fourth of July event but with even more CIs and far more interactions since there was a much broader story for the day. And with lots of other Jane Austen Society members milling around in semi-regency attire, guests couldn’t help but be immersed in living history for the day.
Just as the bride and groom were finalizing their vows, a butterfly fluttered above them back-and-forth and then launched itself into the open air above the audience. Several people gasped and Mrs. Croghan pointed up at it and breathlessly exclaimed, “Look!”
I think the part the guests loved the best may have been the prepping of the bride and the groom. The men retired to the farm office and played cards (imploring the guests not to let Lucy know that the fish were out on the table) and the women gathered in the second floor parlor and actually made real preparations. It was glorious. One of the great things on the second floor was that Mrs. Emilia Clarke had to chase several men out of the room because of the state of undress of several of the ladies (multiple wardrobe malfunctions had to be dealt with). A couple of the men she beckoned to come back and then she doled out a punishment like a good school marm. She assigned them to go to their wives and tell them the things they loved about them. It being a day to celebrate nuptials and all…
In researching the wedding, it was discovered that a custom of the time was for the guests to take off their stockings, wad them up in a ball, and throw them at the bride and groom for good luck. I’m not making this up. Those 19th centuries crazies loved their dirty laundry apparently. This revelation plunged the CI core into at least 15 minutes of introspection about the scope for a reenactment of this glorious custom. Alas, there were concerns about the potency of sweat produced by the 100 degree heat and the decision was made for everyone to keep their stockings on. The event was the poorer for it, in my opinion.
From Melissa Alexander (Mary O’Hara): I am floored by both the preparations leading up to and their execution for this event. I had the honor of joining many different facets of the preparation team, since I ended up helping with logistics, stitching, and interpreting. I had the honor of portraying Mary O’Hara, William Croghan, Jr.’s wife, which I enjoyed very much. The most fun I had was sitting in the great parlor before the wedding with all of the ladies, especially when Hannah (Ann Croghan) donned her wedding veil. Oh, the squeals of delight! I am so proud of our whole team at Locust Grove for pulling this event off and I cannot express how honored I am to have been a part of it!
From Brandon Vigliarolo (Thomas Jesup): It was a great event. Despite the extreme weather I had a great time, especially during the ceremony. It was a neat experience to stand on the steps and take part in a recreation like ours. It was also great to be able to make the day double special for us since we got engaged too!
From Hannah Stoppel (Ann Croghan) : My favorite part of the day was getting ready with all the ladies in the great parlor…and getting engaged.
That’s right, folks! Hannah and Brandon became engaged themselves on the morning of the event! Their smiles on the steps are real! Best wishes to you both!
The wedding was a truly wonderful day–we certainly hope you enjoyed it, and we look forward to having you as our guests at Locust Grove again soon!
With warmest regards,