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A Wedding Interrupted

On this date 100 years ago the nuptials of George Triff and Mathilde Schwartz, two very recent immigrants from Hungary were interrupted by the Humane Officer. No, there was no abuse of animals occurring at this wedding -- but the bride was only fifteen and Father Guido of the German Church refused to marry the couple. It was also noted that neighbors had reported the incident to the police, another cause of the Humane Officer's appearance. (The photo here is of a young Hungarian bride in Cleveland, Ohio in 1915)

But on this date, Mathilde's father had applied for the wedding license, stating that his daughter was 17 years old. (George Triff was 29) Father Guido, however, thought she very young, too young to marry. Unfortunately, she was also very pregnant. In less than two weeks Mathilde would give birth to her first son, Ignatius George Joseph Triff. In June of 1916 Mathilde and George were married and went on to have three more children: George, Theresa and John. Before 1930 the family moved to Chicago to live on Orchard Street. The families on this street were almost one hundred percent foreign born, with parents from Hungry, Austria, Italy and Germany. The same was true of the area where George and Mathilde began their family in Bloomington. They lived on Western Ave, which was mostly home to other Hungarian, Polish and Irish families.

From a survey of articles noting the presence of the humane officers in central Illinois, the most common cause of action by the humane officer was animal abuse. He also intervened though in cases of family disputes and abandonment.

Although only a few instances of the humane officer being called for intervention in human affairs appeared in the Pantagraph, a report by the Associated Charities earlier in 1915 indicated that the Humane Officer had been called on 30 occasions in the past year to address problems between family members.

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