Jessie and Percy Marry

On September 6, 1924, Jessie wrote in her diary,”I’m so excited I haven’t good sense for I’ve decided to marry Percy real soon, perhaps next month. We have been planning everything for a long time but I love him so much I don’t see any use waiting any longer.” And from that moment the preparations began. On September 10th Percy took Jessie to Goodman’s jewelers and bought her “the most beautiful ring there.” Next up were photos for the papers, the Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Press Scimitar. The engagement announcement appeared in both papers on Sunday, September 21 with the date of the service (October 23, 1924) and the location (Evergreen Presbyterian Church).

Jessie’s engagement announcement in the ‘Commercial Appeal’
Jessie’s engagement announcement in the ‘Press Scimitar’
This is the photo that my grandmother (Jessie) always had in her bedroom and said was her engagement picture. Also taken by Moore’s for the ‘Commercial Appeal’.

As the date of the marriage grew closer there were declarations of love. “[Percy] seems so surprised that he loves me more every day. I tell him that’s the way it should be. I didn’t know I could love anyone like I do him.”  There were many, many parties all crammed into a month. Parties almost every day, and close to the date, twice a day. Also, all the bridesmaids dresses had to be made by a professional seamstress, and at the same time Jessie’s trousseau was being sewn by Jessie and other friends and family at home.

Finally the day of Jessie and Percy’s marriage arrived. Relatives  and gifts began arriving first thing in the morning. Before the wedding Jessie had to go by the photo studios to have her picture taken again in her wedding gown and veil. At 8:30pm the “grand event” took place. Here is Jessie’s description of her gown.

My bridal bouquet was beautiful – a world of brides roses and valley lilies. My dress was white satin with a breadth of rose point lace and pearl garniture. I wore a corant of rose point lace and a veil of tulle trimmed with orange blossoms. My groom looked so wonderful and handsome and we got through the service without fainting. Then home with my husband. All the bridal party and family were there. Then we soon slipped off honeymooning but they all followed us to the station and showered us with rice. The sweetest husband in the world have I. A happy night with him.

Jessie’s wedding announcement in the ‘Commercial Appeal’



Dr. Percy Augustus Perkins

If you have kept up with Jessie’s diary, you will have noticed that Jessie has a serious beau. Her first date with Percy Perkins was on December 8, 1919.  She saw him a couple of times through the years, but starting on November 9, 1922 (the Debutante Ball) they began to go out more regularly.

This is the way Jessie felt about Dr. Percy Perkins at the beginning of 1923:  “Percy is a very interesting talker. Tells interesting tales. He may make them up though.” And, “Percy and I had quite a talk when we got home. I like him, though sometimes I wonder if he is conceited. Still I don’t think he meant to be bragging tonight when he said he never had asked a girl to marry him. I like to be with him and I guess I don’t know just what I think of him yet.” (January 7 & 8, 1923). Then on February 5, 1923 Jessie made an amusing entry.  “Percy and I had a long talk when we got home. I don’t know just what to think of him. He wanted to know if he should start coming constantly or just every once in awhile. Well I do like him but….”  That made me laugh.

Compare that to the way Jessie writes about Percy in her diary on October 7, 1923:  “Had a date with Percy tonight. Perfectly happy just staying at home with him. He is a darling and every time I’m with him I realize it more and more. Just such a satisfied feeling when he is near. Don’t want any body or any thing else. Guess it must be the real thing.” And again at the end of 1923 she wrote:  “Had a date with Percy tonight. I do believe if he came at day light and stayed ’til midnight I’d feel as tho’ I’d hardly seen him and so hate for him to go. He’s just about the sweetest thing I know and I just love to be with him. Did nothing particular tonight but had a very happy time.” (December 30, 1923) As Jessie wrote on New Years Eve 1923, after dancing with Percy until the early morning hours, “1923 was surely a ‘Percy year.‘”

Love is in the air.

Major Percy Perkins during WWI.
Percy Perkins with his first bicycle.