The groom was none other than the “world’s greatest athlete” — “hero of scores of contests on the gridiron, diamond and track.”
His bride was a “laughing dark-eyed princess of the Cherokee tribe” whose “dusky beauty” was the inspiration of poets.
The wedding of Jim Thorpe and Margaret I. Miller was described in great detail in the Carlisle Arrow, a campus newspaper of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
This week’s Tour Through Time takes a close look at the ceremony that took place on Oct. 14, 1913, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Carlisle.
The Arrow reported that crowds of spectators had lined both sides of the street eager to catch a glimpse of the bridal party. Local police officers maintained order and kept the church entrance clear.
The church was “filled to the doors” when the first strains of the wedding march pealed from the organ signaling the bridal party to move from St. Katherine’s Hall to the entrance.
Eight ushers led the procession, all friends and Indian school alumni. They were followed by two ribbon boys and then by the ring bearer and personal attendant of the bride.
The maid of honor was next and then the flower girls. The bride was escorted into the building by Moses Friedman, superintendent of the school and a personal friend of the couple.
Leaning on his arm, Miller was led through the entrance arch and down a flower-strewn aisle bordered by white ribbon. “She wore a gown of white charmeuse beautifully decorated with lace, while a veil of cloud-like chiffon set off the attractive picture [she] presented.” Meanwhile, Thorpe waited by the altar attended by Gus Welch, captain of the Indian school football team.
A reception followed the ceremony at the superintendent’s home attended by 200 students and faculty. This was followed in the evening by another gathering in the school gymnasium. The couple left late that evening for New York City to join the Giants baseball team for their worldwide tour due to start on Oct. 18.
Tour Through Time runs every Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with staff at the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to offer a look at Cumberland County through the years.
Send any questions, future ideas or tips to Cress at firstname.lastname@example.org.