Letter from Valerie Jane Donahue Boucher of 17 Mar 2009
The Charleston Daily Mail of the 25 Nov 1951 ran a story on Hiram and Ire ne for being the couple married the longest in Kanawha County. They claimed to have married on 20 Mar 1885, remembering the year by it having been the following year after the explosion of the steamboat "Bob Henry". This boat which was built by Henry Whitteker and Bob Wilson actually exploded on 26 May 1888. Hiram and Irene also used their daughter's birth as a reference point for the date of their wedding. Now, I do not know if they really meant their first daughter, Nora (still living), or if they meant their daughter, Della, born in 1891.
At any rate, they told a very interesting story of how Hiram had been aboard the Bob Henry when it had exploded on the Elk River; and, that Irene had been called, as his intended, to help nurse him back to health. They both agreed that then they had decided to go ahead and get married the very next year. Memories get a little foggy in old age; and, it is obvious that they actually got married nearly three years after the accident.
I am sure that the explosion of the Bob Henry was a news item of the day in every newspaper of the area; but, I was able to find that it had been an item in the Clarksburg Telegram and the date was truly 26 May 1888 when the accident happened. Several men were killed outright during the explosion, a few died of their injuries later; but most, including Capt. Henry Whitteker and Hiram B. Donahue survived.
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