|Sisters from 1882 edition of Matrimonial News|
Miss Eleanor Barry, a schoolteacher, did. At 22, she was approaching spinsterhood and longed for a husband and family. After a brief correspondence, she accepted Mr. Dreibelbis’s long-distance proposal and traveled to California to live in wedded bliss.
When the happy couple signed the marriage certificate after saying their vows, Eleanor noticed a scar on her new husband’s hand. At that moment she was struck by an unfortunate realization: Her groom was the bandit who had robbed the stagecoach upon which she arrived.
“He was not as well-fixed as I expected to find him,” she wrote to friends.
Despite the less-than-happy ending of poor Eleanor’s adventure, many mail-order brides in the 1800s did find enduring matches. In fact, between 1870 and 1900, 2,600 couples entered lifelong marriages thanks to the Matrimonial News, a weekly journal containing personal ads from men and women seeking mates. For $1.50 a word, lonely hearts could describe themselves and what they sought in a companion.
A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23, and one who could make home a paradise.Well, he’s got a job...at least until he marries a beautiful girl with money.
I am fat, fair, and 48, 5 feet high. Am a No. 1 lady, well fixed with no encumbrance: am in business in the city, but want a partner who lives in the West. Want an energetic man that has some means, not under 40 years of age and weight not less that 180. Of good habits. A Christian gentleman preferred.There is something to be said for a woman who knows what she wants.
A young man, about twenty-four years of age, elegant in appearance and pleasing address, wishes to form the acquaintance of a charming young lady, from sixteen to twenty-two years of age; skin like alabaster, teeth as pearls, hair black as the raven, eyes large and lustrous, of the same dark hue, whose magic glance at once thrills and electrifies the soul. Such a one will meet an ardent lover and, in all probability, an affectionate husband.Is he going to marry her or paint her?
What would convince a man to advertise for a wife? What would convince a woman to travel to parts unknown to marry a stranger? Those are the questions Prairie Rose Publications authors answered in a passel of stories released today, just in time for our third-birthday celebration. Each story is only 99 cents or free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber!
Kissing Until Christmas, by Livia J. Washburn
Shawn Killian and his young son Wes came to Briar Hill, Texas, looking to escape their past. The last thing Shawn wanted to complicate his life was a mail-order bride. But because of some mysterious mix-up, that's what he found himself having to deal with when Abby Demarest showed up. Shawn knows the smart thing to do would be to send her back where she came from, but that would have been easier to do if she wasn’t so smart, pretty, and determined. What Shawn doesn’t know is that Abby has some secrets of her own that threaten the life he has planned for him and Wes, and it may be that love is the only thing that will save all of them!
Store-Bought Ornaments, by Patti Sherry-Crews
When Caleb sees Ella step off the train, it is love at first sight. Only, Caleb is not the groom Ella has traveled halfway across the country to marry. Caleb is a quiet man who always tries to do the right thing, so when he and his brother’s wife give into temptation, he leaves the family ranch for good. Only a cryptic letter from Ella asking him to come home to Montana for Christmas can bring him back.
Seeing signs the woman he loves is being mistreated and the broken beauty of her STORE-BOUGHT ORNAMENTS triggers a series of dark memories to surface, steeling him for action. Can Caleb stand up to the brother who has bullied him his whole life in order to save Ella?
Her Holiday Husband, by Tanya Hanson
Now a respectable rancher, the outlaw formerly known as Black Ankles doubts any decent woman would wed him…hence, a mail-order bride set up by his well-meaning brother arrives, believing her wedding will soon take place. Indeed, Ronnie Heisler’s whole family expects him to speak vows with an unknown woman come Christmas Eve.
Set up by her meddling sister, Phoebe Pierce has fallen in love with the tintype of her intended’s twin brother. But has she too many secrets of her own to keep HER HOLIDAY HUSBAND?
Holiday Hoax, by Meg Mims
Widow Vera Sanders agrees to “switch” grooms with younger and prettier Adele MacIntyre, another mail-order bride heading to Holliday, Nebraska. They’re both in for rude surprises, however, after trying to pull a HOLIDAY HOAX on two very different grooms before Christmas. Will they ruin their chances for happiness, or end up in love?
I Heard the Brides on Christmas Day, by Jacquie Rogers
The Murdock brothers have a fine ranch in Owyhee County, Idaho. The only things missing are wives and kids, so Hec orders a couple of brides for Christmas. The catch is, woman-shy Zeke doesn’t know about it. Dinah and Stella have a plan: If the grooms don’t work out, they’ll start a restaurant. Farm chores are hard enough, but a peckish chicken and a raging blizzard don’t help matters. Can Hec and Zeke capture their hearts?
A Marriage of Convenience, by Cheryl Pierson
Beautiful heiress Melanie duBois is running for her life—halfway across the continent. Marriage to a man she’s never met is preferable to what her stepfather has planned for her. Thank goodness for the mail-order bride offer she received from a handsome officer of the law—even if he is in wild Indian Territory.
Lawman Rocky Taylor is expecting a “surprise” to arrive on the stagecoach, never dreaming it will be a young woman. She’s here as his mail-order bride, she says. Trouble is, he never sent for her, and he’s sworn off women after a disastrous first marriage.
With her stepfather’s man hot on her trail, Melanie vows she’ll not return to West Virginia to a monstrous fate. Can A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE keep her safe and open the door to love?