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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Shivarees


A Waldo Serenade.
    But this excitement was nothing to the excitement on the night of the 31st, about eleven o'clock, by the report that one of the proprietors of the Logan House, G. Logan, was about to be married to Mrs. Gilman, formerly of your city. The ceremony had not been commenced when might be seen creeping from almost every house in town the inmates, with such musical instruments in the shape of cans, fry pans, tin kettles, bells, gongs &c., as a mining town only affords, to accompany him from the squire's to his own house, keeping up the noise until morning, but the best joke of all was on the squire who married them. He stood with downcast eyes to perform the ceremony, the personification of disappointed hopes, his conduct saying that the bride, the woman he loved, was now to be parted from him forever. But manfully he performed his duty, and in the twinkling of an eye the table in the room represented a battlefield, with all varieties of wine drawn up on one side, strong liquor on the other, and cigars for the temperate in the middle, although I am sorry to say there are no Dashaways here.
"Letter from Southern Oregon," Daily Alta California, San Francisco, September 13, 1859, page 1


    A crowd of the boys went up the valley from Ashland Wednesday evening to favor Danl. Walker and bride with a French serenade.

"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, February 5, 1886, page 3


    One of the lamented relics of barbarism that still offends modern civilization is the charivari. When the consummation of a marriage approaches, this modern organized society of bandits send a representative to the prospective bridegroom to inform him that he must supply them with whiskey, money or spend a night of hideous torture, to the discordant din and howl of the charivari. This ends in a drunken brawl at a free joint or brewery where oftentimes very small boys are led into it by the supposed harmlessness of the fun. How long will peaceable law-abiding citizens suffer these things? How long will official dignity transcend the sacred obligations of a public trust, by becoming silent witnesses to such things? Hasten the time when cometh the bridegroom who will hand the charivari over to offended justice, and the officer who will protect the morals of the youth by commanding the public peace.

"Jacksonville Items," Medford Mail, January 14, 1892, page 2


    Mr. and Mrs. Theising were the recipients of a lively serenade on Monday evening at the hands of the Jacksonville tin-can brigade. The boys were royally treated by the happy couple and drank to their health many times before retiring.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 29, 1892, page 3


    Boys, give up that chivaree business. Remember, it isn't dignified, and also remember that there are ripe eggs quite aplenty nowadays. We hope that every boy that attends one of these meetings will get a goodly number to himself.
"Griffin Creek Gatherings," Medford Mail, March 3, 1893, page 3


    Jacksonville was awakened last night by an old-fashioned charivari party, the first one which has made its appearance here in a long time.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 1, 1893, page 3


    'Squire Dunlap was decked out in his best "bib and tucker" last Wednesday and looked gorgeous when he tied the matrimonial knot which binds together Thos. Carr and Mrs. M. A. Laist, at the latter's residence. He officiated so nicely that the bride and groom felt even happier because his services had been secured. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Carr were treated to an old-fashioned charivari, and they responded in pioneer fashion. They have the congratulations and best wishes of numerous friends.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 8, 1893, page 3



    Last Monday night the good people of Gold Hill concluded to serenade Dr. and Mrs. Pryce on the event of their wedding. Accordingly, the band boys, headed by I. Deboy, leader; assisted by T. E. Hammersley, alto; Orris Crawford, baritone; Geo. Bryant, snare drum; Walter Bryant, first cornet; F. Bleven, second cornet; Bert Thomas, cornet; R. Fitzgerald, 2d tenor; Alec Carter, bass; Frank Parker, first alto; Henry Ray, bass drum; Geo. Carter, tenor, headed the procession. After the band came Mr. Ray, wife and daughter Lora, Mr. A. J. Barlow, wife and daughter Nellie, Mrs. Crawford, the Misses Katie Parker, Inez Fitzgerald, Maggie Hammersley and Ollie Marksberry, Messrs. Bart, Signorotti, H. Mansfield and last, but not least, W. P. Jacoby, who acted as master of ceremonies. On arriving at the premises the band struck up the wedding march and discoursed some excellent music. In fact, it may be said the boys fairly outstepped themselves. The doors were opened, and all invited into the spacious parlors. The doctor and his amiable wife were taken completely by surprise. The doctor, whose powers as a physician are acknowledged, was not a success as a parlor orator. He undertook to make a speech, but frankly confessed that he was not a speech maker. Mrs. Pryce, however, went to his rescue and said some very pleasant things. Mrs. Pryce was born and raised near Gold Hill, and on account of her womanly ways and genuine, true goodness has endeared herself to all who know her. The doctor presented the band boys with ten dollars for refreshment expenses, and after hearty congratulations and a pleasant good night, the crowd wended their way to their respective homes.
"Gold Hill Items," Ashland Tidings, September 15, 1893, page 2


    The Jacksonville tin can brigade was fooled once. They thought to treat Tom Clemmens to a first-class charivari last week, but he could not be found.
    The tin can brigade was in its glory last night. Another newly married couple and the entire neighborhood were inflicted with a charivari, which custom should be abolished instanter.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 22, 1893, page 3


    The tin pan brigade of Griffin Creek ran against a snag the other evening while serenading a newly married couple in that section. After they had made the night hideous for awhile, without eliciting any response, one of the number climbed up to look into a window. When he had reached the window and looked in, he found himself gazing into the muzzle of a revolver that looked as big as one of the turret guns on the Monterey. The company promptly broke ranks and departed.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 27, 1893, page 3


    Out on Griffin Creek last week the boys gave a newly married couple a tin pan serenade. Meeting with no response from the inside, one of the bold ones of the crowd ventured to raise a window which, unfortunately for him, was located immediately over the sleeping couch of the house's occupants. A white-robed form rose before him, and he was looking down the gleaming barrel of a large-sized revolver--he fell to the ground and was quickly hustled away by his comrades. The rattle-te-bang of tin pans didn't rattle-te-bang any more that night, and the young men of the neighborhood are now endeavoring to cultivate a little better sense of propriety.

"All the Local News," Medford Mail, October 27, 1893, page 3


    The tin-pan brigade, having snuffed that two marriages are on the tapis, was out in force last night, getting in trim for the next charivari. The music was serenely excruciating.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 24, 1893, page 3


    The residence of Hon. W. S. Crowell, at whose place are stopping his son and bride, was the scene of a merry serenade party last Friday evening. The house doors were thrown open and the serenaders invited to enter, which invitation was accepted, and the young couple together with the clever captain entertained their company in a most hospitable manner, and all were glad of the opportunity to be there.

"All the Local News," Medford Mail, December 15, 1893, page 3


Charivari Run Riot.
    The tin-pan brigade was on the rampage last Monday night and "made Rome howl." Anvil shooting was a new feature introduced, and pandemonium reigned supreme for some time. Even the marshal could not quell the disturbance. The boys forgot the sick and dying, or probably they would not have been so noisy. They should have been satisfied with a plain charivari under those circumstances. Such conduct will not bear repetition, for the strong arm of the law will be invoked.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 29, 1893, page 3



He Gave Them a Reception.
    Last week we mentioned the marriage of G. W. Williams. There was a little incident connected with it that we neglected to mention because of space. It seems that some of the boys about town had concluded that a charivari would be the one thing most proper to celebrate the occasion. They accordingly drew nigh unto Mr. W.'s place of residence, and at the first rattle-te-bang from their tin pans the gentleman opened his house door, and himself and son appeared on the scene with a basket of eggs which they hurled with unerring aim at the heads of the intruders. This quited their frolicsome notions, and they departed with great fleetness of foot, but unfortunately some of them collided with the embrace of Marshal Churchman, who had sauntered over that way to quiet any disturbance that might arise, but Mr. Williams, in the dusk of evening, knew not the difference between friend or foe, and the marshal felt a full-grown egg go ker-slam alongside of his hatband--and the marks are there yet. The serenade was brought to a very abrupt and sudden close, and to the credit of Mr. Williams, be it said he did himself proud. The only thing to be regretted is that the eggs were not back numbers. When the boys get funny and engage in sports of this nature a harmless, yet forcible, chastisement of this sort is the medicine they most need.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, April 20, 1894, page 3


    Mr. and Mrs. G. L. Schermerhorn came to Medford last Thursday, and from that day they dated their permanent residence in the city. Their residence, on North D Street, was not furnished entire, and the first night here they secured rooms at a neighbor's house, but the boys who met in that locality for a charivari didn't know this. Mr. S. had left a lamp burning in the house, which was the misleading evidence that led the boys to make not less than 700 gyrations about the house. By actual count there were eleven hundred and two instruments in the band that played to the amusement of an empty house. After several selections had been rendered there was a lull--to watch developments--but there didn't anything develop. Someone suggested that perhaps the newly married couple were not there. "Yes, they are," says another--"see that light." And there came another salute from the eleven hundred and two tin pans--but it didn't pan, and each of the serenaders went home by a back way.
Medford Mail, September 20, 1895, page 4


    It was a decidedly happy little party that was congregated in Medford on Wednesday of this week to witness the marriage ceremony which linked the hearts and hands of E. R. Peck, of Lake Creek, and Miss Susie Demmer, of this city. The ceremony took place in the Presbyterian Church and was performed by Rev. M. A. Williams. About fifty relatives and friends were present, and after the ceremony they all adjourned to the residence of the bride's father, Mr. M. Demmer, where the afternoon and evening were pleasantly spent in banqueting and making merry the occasion being celebrated. A dance was part of the evening program. A charivari party of about sixty young men, with Dan Waldroop as captain, organized about nine o'clock the same evening and very orderly marched to Mr. Demmer's residence, where two violins, a clarinet and other musical instruments were brought to good use in giving these people a lively serenade. After music and songs the party were invited in the house and given refreshments. A little more music, a few songs and three cheers for the newly married couple, and the serenaders came townward again. They were a happy, gentlemanly and entirely orderly crowd of boys. The young people who have occasioned this item are "just splendid" folks, and the celebration in their honor is but a fitting remembrance of their many virtues. The groom is a son of Henry Peck, of Lake Creek.
Medford Mail, September 27, 1895, page 8


    Medford people witnessed, or rather listened to, a good, old-fashioned charivari Thursday night, when a number of the boys who love fun, and who were under the guardianship of Sam Murray, gathered around the home of Ernest Elliott and his bride. Giant firecrackers, drums, tin cans and anything that would make a racket played an important part in the serenade. Anxious citizens were thrusting their heads out their bedroom windows in all parts of the city, but when the yell of triumph came which indicated that they had been invited inside to partake of delicious refreshments, the nervous people took a look under the bed and went back to pleasant dreams.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 23, 1899, page 5


    QUITE A DIFFERENCE.--Last Saturday night the Black Serenaders gave a performance in this city, and Wednesday night the "White Serenaders," armed with tin pans, horns and just any old thing to make a noise were out to serenade A. S. Rosenbaum and wife who were married in this city several months ago and slipped away, fooling the boys so nicely. The boys kept hammering away for some time and finally gave it up as a bad job, not being able to raise their man.
Gold Hill News, September 9, 1899, page 5


    P. B. O'Neil was given a charivari party this week by about twenty of his friends, in this city, who are at present undecided who the joke is on. It all came about by some suspicious conduct on the part of P.B. He acted for several days as if he were contemplating some sort of change in his mode of living, and at past the time when his friends had decided that Cupid had at last brought him to terms, he was seen driving to the county seat in company with the party to whom his troth was supposed to have been plighted. This was taken as proof positive by the knowing ones that they had struck the right lead, and in order to convince him that they approved of his matrimonial venture, the friends above mentioned produced a supply of tin horns, cow bells, tin cans and other modern instruments of torture, and marching with stately tread to the East Side home of W. B. Roberts, where the supposed bride and groom were stopping, proceeded to make the welkin ring with music not at all like that produced by the soul-stirring and sainted Wagner. But Mr. O'Neil is still numbered among the "eligibles," and smiles blandly at the discomfiture of his serenaders.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 7


    A charivari party of young boys about town, who were gathering with their tin pans and other instruments for an invasion of the west side, had their plans rudely broken into by Officer Long, who made a raid upon a party and landed three of the youngsters in the city bastille. They were afterward released after a short incarceration. Several others pleaded so hard that they were let off with a lecture.--[Tidings.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 27, 1901, page 7


CHARIVARI WAKES JACKSONVILLE ECHOES
    Jacksonville has a habit of giving an old-fashioned "charivari" whenever a resident of the town becomes a benedict. A particularly elaborate celebration occurred Monday night in observance of the wedding of Richard Gaskins and Maud E. Tucker. The groom was taken possession of by a number of the village cut-ups, placed astride a diminutive burro and induced to visit every refreshment parlor in town.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, April 14, 1910, page 1


MR. AND MRS. CHAS. NUNAN SERENADED AT HOME
    Although Charles Nunan, son of the pioneer Jacksonville merchant, had been married for nearly a year, upon his first appearance at hs home after his wedding, the charivari club got busy.
    One of the traditions of the old town is that no native son, whatever his age or whatever the number of years have elapsed since his departure, can return with a bride without being given one of those receptions.
    The usual ceremonies were observed and Charlie, realizing that the charivari was more in the nature of a welcome to his old home than anything else, entered into the spirit of the crowd and was finally returned safe and sound.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, May 26, 1910, page 3


FREE RIDE
On Long-Eared Steed Given Roy Ulrich--
Bridegroom Put Through Usual Process
    Tuesday evening Roy Ulrich and bride were serenaded by the band, and at the conclusion of the serenade the usual fantastic procession was formed: the bridegroom was furnished with a mount (a donkey) and, escorted by the fun-loving crowd, was steered up town, where he squared the account by "setting up" to old and young the goods usually in demand upon such occasions, after which he was escorted home with due ceremony.
    These "joy rides" have become an essential part of the festivities attending weddings celebrated in this city and are looked forward to with pleasure (?) and sometimes a little anxiety by the prospective bridegroom.
Jacksonville Post, July 2, 1910, page 1


    The residents of Court Street were awakened from their slumbers Tuesday night by a charivari party. There was commotion of all kinds, the firing of guns, beating of tin pans, discord of voices and a general hurrah, but investigation fails to find a newly wedded couple or a wake.

"Personal and Local," Medford Mail Tribune, December 21, 1910, page 7



HOSE CART USED [AS] WEDDING CHAISE
Medford Fire Department Meets Jack Dent and His Bride,
Who Was Formerly Miss Margaret Ewbank, on Their Return from Eugene.
    Wednesday afternoon a telegram was received by the fire boys that Jack Dent [Wells Fargo agent John E. Dent] and bride would be on the 11:20 express from Eugene. The boys forthwith proceeded to get busy. The boys were all notified to be "on deck" in uniform to receive their brother fireman and bride. But for fear that Jack would give the boys the slip at Gold Hill or Central Point, an auto was hired and Harry Ling, Henry Haswell and Frank Lindley rode to Gold Hill to meet them and ensure a safe delivery at Medford. In the meantime the boys at home took a two-wheeled hand hose cart and fixed up a comfortable seat thereon with plenty of cushions and robes, decorated the wheels with the national colors, also bells, and waited for the train. It came, and with it Jack and his bride and their escorts from Gold Hill. As Jack came in sight of the hose cart he was heard to exclaim, "Gee! This is where Frank Lindley gets even with me." Jack was assisted into the cart, and when Mrs. Dent was invited to take a seat beside him she threw up her hands and said, "Oh My, No," but Jack said, "Come on," and like a good sensible little wife she "came."
    The lead rope was run out, and the boys grabbed hold and the procession started. Harry Ling and Alix Wright were the leaders, and the way they bowed their necks and pranced would have made an old stage driver weep for joy. "Sody Pop" Bigham and Baz Gorgary were the heavyweight wheelers, and Chief Amann, Henry Haswell, Harry Wilson, Claude Metz, Doc Damilson and others worked in the swing. They went carefully down North Front Street until they swung into East Main, and then the leaders became unmanageable and away they went for East Medford.
    Chief Amann used to be a square-gaited trotter when the boys had to haul a hose cart to the fires, but since our city dads furnished him that fine auto runabout he has got out of practice somewhat, and when the leaders struck their stride it would have been difficult for a racehorse man to decide whether Gene was a "side wheeler" or a "diagonal trotter." He trotted and he paced, and when the wheelers stepped on his heels he went up in the air and run like everything. It is about one mile from the depot to Mr. Dent's residence [at 317 Howard], and when the boys had delivered them safely at their home, the chief said in a faint whisper, "Boys, here is where I ride," and proceeded to get into the cart, and the boys hauled him back to the fire hall.
    "Whew," said Sody Pop. "That was the poppinest run that I ever made." Lawton took them all back into the horse parlor to the wash rack and gave them a cold shower bath, and they all went home happy.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 20, 1911, page 8


NEWLYWEDS ARE PARADED
Blushing Medford Couple Tied to Truck and Driven on Street.
    MEDFORD, Or., Oct. 28.--(Special.)--A blushing bride and bridegroom were tied with ropes to a hosecart from the Medford fire department and paraded through the streets of the city yesterday afternoon while their friends made snapshots of them at street corners and cheered and applauded them as they drove along the streets.
    Claud H. Metz, a member of the volunteer brigade, was married Sunday afternoon to Miss Hewilta Normide, and as the happy couple left Rev. W. T. Goulder's parsonage they were kidnapped by the "fire boys" and roped side by side on the truck.
    Flowers were strewn over the hosecart and the bell was sounded at regular intervals until the Palace of Sweets was reached, when the newly married couple were given a shower of coca cola.
    Mr. Metz and his bride, who are both well known in Medford, received the unusual performance good-naturedly and after they were released the bridegroom bought cigars for the crowd.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 29, 1912, page 1


NOISY CHARIVARI DISTURBS PEACE OF NEIGHBORHOOD
    Friends and acquaintances of Miss Maude Bratney and Scott Beghtol of Omaha, Neb. gave them an old-fashioned charivari when they were married at the home of the bride's mother on West Fourteenth Street on Wednesday night. Guns were shot off, horns tooted, cowbells rung and tin pans beaten, until residents of that section thought a premature celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal was being held. The noise subsided when the groom appeared and paid the customary tribute to the noisy delegation.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 10, 1913, page 3


BRIDE AND GROOM VICTIMS OF HOLDUP
    A genius with paint and brush one time drew a picture called "The Hold Up." It pictured Dan Cupid standing in the road, masked, demanding that an auto containing a loving pair halt. What the famous artist put on canvas was enacted on the Jacksonville road Monday night, when James Schlinsog and bride, Miss Effie Oliver, of Griffin Creek, were "held up" by two "highwaymen" on serenading bent. The bride fainted. The auto they were in with a party of friends rushed to Medford for the police--but never arrived.
    The bride and groom and party of friends were driving down the road when two figures loomed ahead. They demanded a halt, which was complied with. Then in the middle of the road they parleyed. The groom implored a search, but no harm, while his mate fainted in his arms. After bickering the "desperadoes" fled, and the auto sped to this city, presumably for aid.
    All of the party except the married pair knew a holdup was coming. It was the Griffin Creek idea of a charivari.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 2, 1914, page 6



WE SUGGEST TRY CHARIVARI FOR AIR RAID
    Medford is in the same boat with San Francisco, Portland and the rest of Pacific coast cities, as regards getting a siren loud enough to be heard as an air raid warning.
    The Medford News suggests that the air raid wardens organize a warning corps out of the next batch of young fry to put on a charivari. When the young folks charivari some pal, it is heard in the most remote parts of the city, and all they have is a few horns and tin cans. Half the auto horns on high school jalopies make more noise than a $1000 siren anyway, and if you put two or three of them together, you've got something.
Medford News, January 9, 1942, page 2



Last revised May 12, 2017