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Matrimonial Event

"One of the most remarkable and sensational matrimonial events in the history of Omaha occurred about five o'clock yesterday afternoon at the office of Justice Hart," said the Omaha Republican on March 15, 1890. "The contracting parties were John Hendricks, one of the well known and wealthy Hendricks brothers who are prominent cattle dealers of Deadwood, South Dak., and Miss Bertie Caylor, better known as Bertie Mann, who is the acknowledged queen of Omaha's demi-monde."

According to the Republican, bride and groom had grown up in the same region of Kentucky some forty years before and "from the germs of childhood's friendship developed a case of genuine true love. The young couple were desirous of uniting their hands and hearts in marriage, but the match was prevented by the stringent opposition of the parents of both. . . . Hendricks and his brother left with their parents for the west, locating near Deadwood, where the parents soon after died.

"Life without her lover became day by day, more irksome to Bertie, and finally seemed unbearable, when she renounced home and friends and came west to pursue a life of ease and pleasure, leaving the sinfulness thereof closely hidden in the background of her imagination. While pursuing this avocation of shameful enjoyment she chanced to locate after a time in Deadwood, where she met her first love. The meeting was a shock to both, but the old affection was renewed and when the girl promised to renounce her course of sin, the wedding was again prevented, this time by the strong and bitter protest of Hendricks' brother and sister.

"Rendered more reckless by this second disappointment, Bertie left Deadwood and came to Omaha, where, being a good financier, she was soon able to reap sufficient from her lustful labors to embark in business as the proprietress of a first-class demi-monde establishment, which she has ever since maintained. She came to Omaha just seven years ago, and has never seen or heard of her affianced until night before last."

Hendricks, while in Omaha with a consignment of cattle enroute to Chicago, learned that Bertie was in the city. He was at once "surprised and shocked, but was nevertheless delighted" and went to her "famous resort on North Ninth street as soon as possible. The meeting was such a one as would be expected under the circumstances. The long separated lovers again met yesterday and went out for a drive. Hendricks drove the carriage to the office of Justice Hart, where everything had previously been arranged by him, and, after showing her the papers in which he had deeded to her half of all his real and personal property and effects, . . . proposed that they be married. Of course the surprise was a shock to the Fair Bertie, but she nevertheless gracefully acquiesced and the ceremony was performed by the justice." An evening reception at the home of the bride followed, and the pair left the next day for Chicago, "where the groom will dispose of the stock, after which they will return to Deadwood, to take up their residence on the ranch."

(November 2007)



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