After a slightly cruel delay of
forty-eight hours, caused by the bursting of the bridal
balloon that was to carry them aloft, Mr. Charles M. Colton
and Miss Mary E. Walsh, two young and blooming attaches of
Barnum's Roman Hippodrome, became man and wife yesterday, at
4:40 P.M., at the altitude of one mile above the western
edge of the city. The balloon ascended at 4:30 P.M.,
at the altitude of one mile about the western edge of the
city. The balloon ascended at 4:30 o'clock, and landed
in perfect safety at 5:10, in a vacant lot just south of the
Widows' Home, Mt. Auburn. At 6 P.M. the bridal party
was back in the city, the journey from first to last having
been one of uninterrupted enjoyment.
The opinion of the public
generally in regard to the extent of splendid humbug that
Barnum can accomplish amounts to a superstition.
He is supposed to be able to dazzle the judgment and confuse
the vision to a degree almost supernatural. It strikes
us that he is giving the people this time a magnificent show
for a very reasonable price, and we do not hesitate to say
that the Hippodrome performances are quite beyond parallel.
Yet some persons imagine that they are getting mysteriously
humbugged after all.
The balloon wedding was
pronounced by these knowing ones to be a mere advertising
device, just as if the good looking young men and women
around a Hippodrome could not love and wish to marry with
all the eclat attainable. The match yesterday
was one of affection, and would have occurred in commonplace
fashion but for the fact that the press agent of the
Hippodrome, Mr. D. S. Thomas, wanted it to take place in a
balloon. Through his efforts the consent of the young
people was obtained, and he met with hearty co-operation
from Mr. Barnum, his captains, and the entire company.
This was the first wedding in a
liberated balloon on record. A couple were married at
San Francisco a few years ago in a balloon, which was
secured to earth, however, by a rope. Cincinnati has
there fore another event of novel interest to be placed in
Mr. Barnum has so large a talent
for organization that he does not spend much of his time "at
the front." He forms his departments, and over each of
them places a tried subordinate.
A constant flow of telegrams
keeps him informed of the condition of affairs with the
The news of the collapse of the
balloon Saturday did not sunt him. He took the first
train for Cincinnati, accompanied by the young English wife
he married aboard about two months ago. Mr. and Mrs.
Barnum occupied seats yesterday afternoon in the front row
of chairs nearest the judge's stand. The veteran
showman looks hale and active, though he is now in his
sixty-fifth year, and forty years have elapsed since he
printed his first posers about Joice Heth. Mr. Barnum
is rather portly, has a fresh though not florid complexion,
and is moderately bald. His hair retains enough of the
original light brown to make the gray a little doubtful.
He shaves clean, and dresses in spotless black, ruffled
shirt and drab kids. His jewelry yesterday was a
medium sized diamond cluster pin and a net gold vest
watch-chain. His eyes are rather prominent and of a
grayish-blue color. His teeth-well, his teeth are
faultlessly regular, you know. He has a cordial smile,
an attentive manner, and sprinkles his conversation with
harmless humorous sallies. The famous Phineas is
as well preserved an autumnal gentleman as could be found
the country over. His young wife, apparently aged
about twenty-four, looks like a lady of amiability and
refinement. She is short in stature, inclining to
plumpness. Her complexion is blonde, and her features
are of a purely English type. The eyes are
The balloon, P.T. Barnum, the
same used in the press ascension last week, and that burst
on Saturday, having been repaired and revarnished, was taken
to the old rink lot on Freemath street yesterday morning.
The gas was turned into her from the street main at 10 A.M.
In five hours she was sufficiently inflated, and at 3 P.M.
she was taken to the northeastern corner of the Hippodrome
lot, to a space inclosed by canvas walls. In the
center of this space was a ring, surrounded by ropes, from
the balloon, the bridal procession, the band and the
reporters. The remainder of the inclosed space was for
the audience, which was about five thousand strong.
The multitude in the park and vicinity was past enumerating.
Fifteen or twenty thousand would be a reasonable guess.
The afternoon was agreeably warm, and the sky, though free
from banks of clouds, was very hazy. The smoke hung
low and thick around the horizon. The balloon was held
down by the weight of several of Donaldson's assistants and
by a single rope. Beautiful bouquets were fastened to
the netting just above the car. The basket was covered
with green and white cloth, festooned with tricolors, and
covered with white muslin. Four flags on staffs
protruded from the basket, the American ensigns keeping
company with green flags embroidered in yellow with Irish
harps, the bride wishing to honor the island of her
ancestors, Soon after 4 P.M. the bridal procession
Enthusiastic waving of hats and
handkerchiefs which was cordially returned from the bridal
The ascension was in a line much
nearer the perpendicular than usual. The lower current
of wind blew toward the southwest. Donaldson had
expected to be carried in the direction. The clergyman
feared a rapid transit to the skies of Kentucky, and in
about three minutes after leaving earth he proceeded with
the marriage ceremony, conducting it, we are informed, very
impressively. The Swedenorgians have two marriage
services, one for important occasions about an hour in
length. The other does not occupy over five minutes.
Mr. Jeffries took the short route to wedlock yesterday.
He made an appropriate address to the couple, alluding to
their strange situation above the clouds. The
responses were made, and, of course, no ruffianly rival
broke in to forbid the bans. A feeling prayer was
offered, to which all listened with bowed heads, and then
Mr. and Mrs. Colton were presented to their attendants for
their congratulations. Mr. Coup, Mr. Thomas and Mr.
Donaldson all followed the bridegroom and clergyman in
kissing the bride. Then they kissed the bridesmaid.
The end of the ceremony was signaled to the crowds below by
dropping a parachute, which tumbled to the ground in a
leisurely way. The balloon had reached the
elevation of one mile before the ceremony ended, but it had
struck another current, which carried it slowly and
majestically eastward along the northern boundary of the
city toward Walnut Hills. The air ship seemed to
creep over this route so slowly........
In company with two
other press representatives, we took a
carriage.......................up the Avenue pike we should
have witnessed the landing. As it was, we were behind
time only three of four minutes. On nearing the earth
the balloon struck the original westerly current, and we had
to race after her in that direction. The drag-rope
trailed along Oak street, and passed near the Shillito
mansion. Once it caught on the roof of a house, but
the balloon pulled it loose.. Donaldson was looking
anxiously for a landing place, as the sun was setting.
He found what he wanted in a depression just southwest of
the Widow's Home, where a pond formerly existed, but now
quite dry, and almost level with the surrounding streets.
The balloon moved at a snail's pace, as only a faint breeze
was perceptible. It was an easy matter for a few
men below to bring her to an anchorage. When we
arrived upon the scene a thousand shouting men, women and
children, mainly Germans, pressed in upon the basket, which
rested upon the earth, some large stones having been added
to the cargo. The bride and bridesmaid were sitting on
the edge of the basket sipping glasses of champagne, the
first bottle having just been opened. The whole party
were in the gayest possible spirits, and all spoke
rapturously of the delights of the adventure. They
were eager to ascend again, but Professor Donaldson said no.
He asked for more stones, and as they were deposited in the
basket the bridal party disembarked and entered carriages
which had followed them out. Donaldson said that he
would have the balloon towed back to the city, saving as
much gas as possible for to-day's ascension. Mr.
Thomas remained with him to take care of the balloon.
The others were driven to the city.
At the Crawford House, which was
reached at 6 P.M., just one and a half hour after the
balloon sailed away from the Hippodrome grounds, the Rev.
Mr. Jeffries left the party, proposing to depart for
Pittsburg an hour later. Several of the lady riders
were waiting at the Crawford House for the bride's return.
They pounced out upon the sidewalk (it was dark by this
time) and darted at the bride in the carriage to get the
first kiss from her. The ladies kissed each other
furiously, and then they
"Marriage is of love, when imparts to the realities of life
all the charms of romance. The Creator has, in His
wisdom, so constituted humanity that the soul hungers and
thirsts for love-seeks affinity of soul-and when that is
found the two blend their identity, love their
individuality, and become one in thought, purpose and
affection. For the sanctifying of this union of souls
and to cement these ties God ordained and instituted
marriage, declaring that it was not good that the man should
be alone, wherefore He provided an help-mate for him-'male
and female, created He them'-sent them forth a single pair,
one husband and one wife, dedicating each wholly to the
other-together to enjoy the bliss of Eden, together to
suffer the woes of expulsion-to share the joys of holiness
or the miseries of sin."
Then followed the ceremony and benediction, and then the
minister made the following.
"Marriage is not an earthly, but a heavenly institution,
belonging to the higher realms of life, and as such is it
revered by the enlightened; the greater the enlightenment of
any country or community the greater the respect it accords
marriage. As an institution above those of the world
merely, it is, then, most fitting
that its solemnization should be cele-brated far about the
"May you, whose life-destinies have been joined together at
this altitude, be always lifted above the adversities of
life. Hence you look down upon the multitudes below,
who appear as pigmies from your elevation, and you see that
the sun is fast going down upon them; shadows lengthen, and
darkness will quickly enwrap them. Upon you the sun
shines with greater brilliancy that we have seen it any time
to-day; so may it be in life, and you be exempt from shadows
and darkness, though you see them fall upon others. As you
here serenely float above the hills. the rocks and the
roughness below, so may your united destinies bear you above
the rugged places of life; may you have no hills of sorrow
to scale, no valley of adversity to pass through, no rock no
valley of passion to stumble upon, no treacherous ditch of
contention to fall into.
"Soon we shall all descend to
earth. as we land shortly all go down to the grave." As upon
leaving this vessel you two will pass forward in company
while you live, so, when you have both crossed to that
Bourne from where the travels, may your united
the glorious paradise of
Article from The
Cincinnati Commercial - Tuesday Morning, October 20,