I am such a history junkie that I can’t resist bit of history with an odd twist or two. Today is one of those historical days that I find interesting and a little odd. One hundred years ago the Secret Service and the Washington DC police department were called upon to block off the streets around the White House for the christening of President Wilson’s first grandchild, Ellen Wilson McAdoo.
The President was godfather and little Ellen’s aunt Mrs. Francis Sayre and her cousin Miss Helen Woodrow Bones were chosen as godmothers. The baby was named after her maternal grandmother, the late First Lady Ellen Axton Wilson in a private ceremony in the Blue Room with members of the Wilson family and Secretary McAdoo’s family in attendance.
Being born the daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury and granddaughter/goddaughter of the President means that security was very tight for the Christening. Secret Service members had to extend protection to the guests and inspect christening gifts from hundreds of well-wishers.
After this, you might think the Secret Service could breathe a sigh of relief, but the day was just getting started. The president attended to personal business at his bank, then returned to the White House for dinner with the family members who remained in town for his wedding. Yes, the President was married the same day his first grandchild was christened.
After dinner, streets were blocked off and the motorcade proceeded in the home of Mrs. Edith Bolling Galt where she and the President were married. The bride was 43 and he was 56.
This was a second marriage for both parties and they tried to keep the fanfare to a minimum. No matter how low key the President wants to keep his marriage to a direct descendent of Pocahontas, though, it isn’t going to be ignored. Wedding gifts filled an entire room of Mrs. Galt’s home and it took valiant efforts of the Capitol Police and the Secret Service to prevent crowds breaking through the barricades to get a glimpse of the couple.
For the twist to what makes this date in history a little odd as Wilson’s choice of wedding days has to do with little Ellen’s grandmother, Ellen Axton: the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, who married a young professor at Bryn Mawr College on December 18, 1885. That’s right, on the thirtieth anniversary of his first marriage, Wilson married his second wife.