Who doesn’t love a good love story? While I seem to be destined for a life of single-hood, that does not mean that I don’t love stories about how people met their forever person. I especially love the stories that are unusual. Either they met by random circumstance or maybe they had whirlwind romance. Whatever the case may be, I love to hear them!
I especially loved learning the story of my 1st cousin, 5x removed, Alice Disney. Alice was born on Jun 25, 1869 in Knox County, Kentucky to Thomas Balton and Rebecca Donaldson Disney. She was one of eight children born to Thomas and Rebecca. Alice was considered one of the more popular girls in Knox County, however this didn’t translate to finding herself a husband. She watched many of her friends and family become married and still did not have that special someone.
At the age of 21, Alice decided to take things into her own hand when it came to marriage and took a bit of a risk. She wrote an advertisement for a gentleman correspondent and placed it in a matrimonial newspaper based out of Chicago. She did it for fun more than anything else, but if something were to come of it, even better! Alice received numerous responses, but the one that stood out the most was from a gentleman who lived in Texas, Clarence Van Ness.
Alice and Clarence began writing each other and continued to do so for about six years. Through the years they developed a friendship which blossomed into a romantic relationship. Not long after reaching the six-year mark, Clarence wrote Alice a letter proposing marriage. Alice was now creeping closer to her 30th birthday (she was about 28 years old at this point) and was eager to settle down. She happily accepted Clarence’s proposal.
For some reason, Alice decided to keep this proposal a secret from her parents. It’s unknown the reason why, but she came up with a plan to marry Clarence without her parents knowing. How exactly does a single lady in the late 1800s get herself to Texas to marry a stranger? Alice called upon the assistance of her brother, George Madison Disney, who at the time lived in Oklahoma. Now, if George really knew what was going on, nobody knows. What we do know is that Alice contacted her him to arrange for her to come visit him.
Alice made her way to Oklahoma to her brother, and then made her way down to Texas to marry Clarence. Alice and Clarence were married in Canadian, Texas in May 1897. This was the first time they had ever met! Clarence owned 600 acres of land and had numerous herds of cattle. Not too shabby of a pick! After they married, Alice and Clarence moved to Tecumseh, Oklahoma where they had three children. Alice passed away on April 17, 1944 in Tecumseh.
I’m sure at some point, Alice’s parents found out about her secret marriage. It’s unknown how they reacted. It can be assumed that once Alice made her way out west that she never returned, at least to live, to Kentucky. I think it’s safe to say that Alice knew, without a doubt, that Clarence was the one for her!