A Spiritualist Wedding 1890–Jennie Hagen

On Saturday July 11th, Miss Jennie B. Hagen, arrived and was greeted with one united

Jennie Jackson Brown

impulse of warm and tender affection.

On Sunday morning, the 12th, Mrs. R. S. Lillie gave her usual discourse, upon the platform were the Chairman, Mr. H. D. Barrett, Miss Jennie B. Hagen, Mrs. Clara Watson, of Jamestown and Mrs. Lyman (a speaker and medium who is en route for the East, where she has engagements for the season).

At the conclusion of her discourse, Mrs. Lillie very considerately dismissed Miss Hagen, and communicated to us the fact (which was no news to many of us) that Miss Hagen was contemplating matrimony, which was to have taken place very quietly in Buffalo the next morning  – the newly married pair to proceed from thence directly to Jennie’s home in North Framingham, Mass., her mother being to sensitive at the prospect of giving her beloved only child to the keeping of another.  Though unquestionably a man in every way worthy of her, to feel that she could witness the nuptials.  But we of Cassadaga Camp, feeling that we are next to her mother in affection and Spiritual relationship to Jennie, she being in a spiritual sense the child of our adoption had persuaded her to change her plans and be married here in this big family of salacious and loving hearts.  The plan was approved and warmly responded to and on Monday was carried out to perfection.

There was only a single day in which to make preparations for the marriage and give her such as “send off” as our hearts desired.  But on Monday every hand and every heart entered into the work as with a single impulse of love.  Water lilies were gathered from the lakes and the fields, woods and lawns were rifled of their flowers and foliage and by a little past noon the rostrum and vicinity constituted a bower of tint and odor.  A bell composed of pure white flowers on the outside and of green leaves and ferns inside, hung from the ceiling over the bride and groom; a table made of beautiful bright clover blossoms in the center of which were two white lilies, representative of the two pure lives about to be united, stood in front of the rostrum; wreaths, hearts and other ingenious and pretty devices of flowers and ferns were overhead and in every nook and corner.

Some little time before the appointed hour (2:30 o’clock) the auditorium was filled with beaming expectant faces.  Miss Porter of Corry, Pa., presided at the piano, and as she struck up the wedding march the wedding party proceeded from the cottage of R. S. Lillie, down Cottage Avenue to the Auditorium.  At the head was Mrs. Gaston (wife of President A. Gaston).  Mrs. Lillie came next. Mr. Lillie and the groom, Mr. Bradford D. Jackson, whose bearing was that of a noble and manly man. Then the two bridesmaids, little Jessie Darte and Maude Calhoun arrayed in white and carrying bouquets of flowers.  Mr. A. Gaston with the bride elect upon his arm brought up the rear.  Mrs. Gaston and Mrs. Lillie came first upon the rostrum.  The latter, whose face beamed with the inspiration of the hour, stepped forward, and gave a brief speech upon “Marriage as Viewed In The Light Of Our Spiritual Philosophy”.

To a few notes of the wedding march the bride and bridegroom stepped forward, and Mr. Gaston performed the office of giving away the bride.  As we looked upon her in robes of spotless white, the fleecy folds of the bridal veil falling about her with no adornments save those of natural flowers, we thought: yea verily, thou art the child of spirit!  One whose face spreads a character of such loveliness, such purity and innocence, is a fitting companion and vicegerent of the angels, and we can but call them blessed.

As Mr. Gaston placed her hand in that of the groom he pronounced the following ceremony:

“Bradford D. Jackson: As a representative of Cassadaga Lake Free

Association; as a worker in the field of reform to which this Lady’s life has been dedicated: as a friend and acquaintance of hers in the years have passed; and in the name of the Spirit world, I give into your keeping Jennie B. Hagen and in giving I trust that you will not only cherish and protect her, but that you will aid in carrying forward this great work to which her life has been devoted; and as you assist her and the spirit-world in carrying out this may you be blessed in the union”.

Then followed the spiritual part of the ceremony given inspirationally by Mrs. Lillie.  One who had watched over Jennie from her childhood and opened with the following lines:

“By the powers that watch above you

your hands are placed together

to tread the pathway of earth-life,

In storms and pleasant weather”.

and broadened into a poetic portrayal of life, as we find it, and the magical power of love  in increasing the joys and lessening the ill which are the common inheritance of humanity.  She then said:

“We shall not adhere to the old custom of exacting promises of obedience except by saying to you jointly: Will you in the presence of these witness and the Spirit-world promise to fulfill the obligations of husband and wife in accordance with the laws of this state?”

This being assented to by both, Mrs. Lillie continued:  “Should we exact a promise of obedience from you, Jennie we should exact it equally of both; but, in your case, obedience to a higher power is required of both of you”.

“Now don’t look so serious,” said, “Boy White” (a humorous control which most of us are familiar with) “you have, both of you, got to mind us.”

Then in a more serious vein the ceremony was concluded as follows:

“Now in the presence of these witness and the higher intelligence’s – in the name of love, the most divine power than which there is no higher – in the name of the Spirit world and of the intelligence’s which control your organism, and in the name of the Infinite Spirit, I pronounce you husband and wife”.

Mr. Gaston Then stepped forward and said: “By the power vested in me by the law; I also pronounce you husband and wife”.

Mrs. Lillie remarked jocosity that they were now tied together in a double bowknot.  Congratulations were extended to the happy pair, and the entire company proceeded to the hotel, where a sumptuous repast was served in the most approved and gratifying manner.  Mr. and Mrs. Gaston occupied the seat of honor at the head of the table, with Mr. and Mrs. Skidmore on the right, the bride and groom at the left, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Lillie, Mrs. Judge Lott, Mrs. Rathburn and other notable workers in the cause of truth.

excerpt from “The Spirits of Lily Dale by Ron Nagy

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