Husband-to-be Too Busy To Get Marriage License

First Woman to Buy Marriage License in
Davison County, South Dakota in 1918

While looking into the identity of one of the unknown persons in the collection of Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can, I searched for Ray POYER who had been identified as an Iowa Doughboy.

bride+groomI was surprised to find this article about the first woman to buy a marriage license in the county of Davison in South Dakota.

1919-02-05 Iowa City Citizen

South Dakota Bride-to-Be Buys Document,
Pays $1 for It, Then Hunts Up the Judge
Mitchell, S. D. – Cupid and woman suffrage have apparently formed a corporation here, Miss Marie Gipper, twenty-two years old, strode into the offices of the clerk of courts of Davison county one morning recently and planked a dollar on the desk to pay for the first marriage license that has ever been bought in this county by a woman. After she had procured the license she went out and found the municipal judge.
While obtaining the license Miss Gipper explained that her husband-to-be was “too busy to get the license.”
The apparent object of the purchase was inscribed on the clerk’s record as Ray Poyer, also of Mitchell.

“South Dakota, Marriages, 1905-2013,”, citing South Dakota Department of Health, Pierre, SD. Certificate no. 65786
Ray Poyer
Gender: Male
Age: 34
Birth Year: abt 1884
Residence Post Office: Mitchell
Residence Place: Davison
Marriage Date: 18 Nov 1918
Marriage Place: Davison, South Dakota, USA
Certificate: 65786
Registration Number: 2636
Spouse: Marie Gipper

The marriage record does not indicate who paid for the marriage license. The newspaper article makes this an out of the ordinary marriage. South Dakota gave women the right to vote on 5 November 1918 and less than two weeks later Marie strode into the offices of the clerk of courts….planked a dollar on the desk to pay for the first marriage license….bought in the county by a woman.

Further searches show Marie GIPPER was born in Iowa and Ray Hagerty POYER was born in Illinois.

About 1918 when the World War I draft registration card was filled out Ray, who was 34 years old, had his permanent residence in Ancona, Livingston County, Illinois, but was living and working in Davison County, South Dakota.

Marie was a waitress in a restaurant and Ray was a teamster for an ice company in 1920. They later moved to Livingston County, Illinois, where Marie worked as a waitress and later as a cook. When Ray died in 1939 his marital status was seen as divorced. Perhaps Marie liked being an independent woman!

Various searches did not prove or disprove the Iowa Doughboy was the husband-to-be who was too busy to get the license for his marriage.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey