A love story for the ages
106-year-old marriage license discovered behind picture frame
VIENNA — Cupid endures on a special, though long-lost, anniversary.
A large, decorative marriage certificate dated Feb. 16, 1915, was found behind a picture frame by a Howland resident, and will be sent to Florida where a relative of the Trumbull County couple whose names are on the document now live.
The certificate has colorful flowers, a cupid with an arrow and heart among other decorations.
Vienna resident Jeff Ford, who is a Vienna Historical Society board member, said he was contacted by Howland resident Thomas Starr, who was taking an old picture frame apart when he found the ornate marriage certificate stuck in the back. It had been used as the backing for the picture inside the frame. It’s about 16-by-20 inches.
The names on the marriage certificate are Frank Pierce Peters and Pearl Florence Carter, who were both from the Vienna area and are buried in the township cemetery.
Ford said the certificate will be 106 years old on Tuesday — the day the couple was married.
“The certificate will be returned to the family just in time for Frank and Pearl Peters’ 106th wedding anniversary,” he said.
HOW THIS HAPPENED
“He (Starr) wanted to know if we wanted it. We usually don’t display items like that, but said we would take it and try and find the owner of it or a relative,” Ford said.
Due to its genealogical nature, the historical society decided to get this item back to the Peters family. Using Ancestry.com, findagrave.com and Facebook, Ford was able to locate Courtney Meacham in the Columbus area and reached out to her on Facebook to tell her who he is and what he has.
“She responded back that it was a relative of hers and was interested in what we had. She got us in touch with her aunt, Sally Peters, who is from Masury but living in Florida. They were Sally’s husband’s (Al) grandparents,” Ford said.
Christine Novicky, president of the Vienna Historical Society, said Pearl Carter Peters died of cancer in 1945 and Frank Peters died in a mobile home fire along with their daughter in October 1971 in Fowler.
“Thomas Starr said he had no use for the marriage certificate and wanted us to have it. He said they were not relatives of his and it was part of the picture when he got it. We wanted to find the family and give it to them,” she said.
Ford and Novicky spoke to Peters, reaching her in Florida, after Meacham told her about what was found.
“I put the certificate on Facebook so she could see it. Sally called me after seeing the Facebook post and told me it was her husband’s relatives,” Ford said.
Peters told the newspaper she has her in-laws’ marriage certificate and thought his grandparents’ certificate would be a nice addition for the family tree she has.
“They were my husband’s grandparents. When Courtney, my husband’s niece, called me I was just a little bit hesitant and skeptical and asked her how she found out about it. When she told me it was Jeff, I pulled him up on Facebook and saw one of my cousin’s names on his Facebook and I knew he was OK,” Peters said.
“My youngest daughter made me a family tree blanket and now on each side of it I can hang the in-laws’ marriage certificates and this one,” Peters said.
Peters wondered if the marriage certificate was hanging on a wall at one time.
“It is so interesting about the whole situation and where the picture came from. The paper they make today will not last as long as the paper they used years ago, which seems to hold up better,” Peters said.
Ford said the certificate is in good condition for being a century old.
Novicky said she looked up information and found that the couple is buried in the township cemetery.
Novicky said Pearl Carter Peters’ sister was Ella Mae Farnsworth who died in 1925 after a stove caught fire and she died while trying to put it out.
“We had already done research on the family and then we get a call about the marriage certificate, which was a surprise,” Ford said.
Larry and Valerie Peters of Vienna met with Novicky and Ford on Friday to get a copy of the certificate. Larry said the Peters’ are his grandparents.
He wonders if his grandparents may have put the certificate behind a picture in a frame and the picture may have ended up at a garage sale.
“I was surprised how good a condition it is in. I have other pictures and items that are not as old that are more tattered,” Larry said.
Larry said Al Peters was his cousin, who is married to Sally. Larry’s father was Elmer Peters and Al’s father was Albert Peters.
Ford said they wanted Larry to have the original and will send a copy of the certificate to Sally.