This article, courtesy of Heritage Sandy Springs, first ran in the Atlanta Constitution on June 18, 1918.

A runaway marriage in which a bride of 51 years of age and a groom who had seen 53 winters were the principals, drew a merry little party to the Hammond schoolhouse, near Sandy Springs, on Sunday morning, where the couple were wedded in the pretty grove surrounding the building.

James H. Sawyer, the groom, is an inspector for the street railway company, having lived in Atlanta for 20 years. The bride was Mrs. Emma E. Cates, who, with her mother made her home on a large plantation near Sandy Springs. On account of the serious objection said to be held by the mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy, to her daughter contracting a second marriage, Mrs. Cates packed her suitcase and quietly slipped away, presumably to attend church, being conveyed to the grove by friends of the groom, Mr. and Mrs. Prussell.

Mr. Sawyer is the father of five children, mostly grown, all of whom were present at the outdoor wedding, seeing their new step-mother for the first time when she arrived for the ceremony. After the wedding, Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer came on to the city, but they are planning an early return to the home of the bride’s mother to ask forgiveness, which no doubt will be granted.

The couple were married by W.W. West, candidate for city warden, who has been a life-long friend of the groom. Mr. West is a duly ordained minister, preaching once a month at the East Atlanta Primitive Baptist church on DeGress avenue. He says that if there are any more citizens who have the love of romance in their bosoms, and who are of mature age, that now is a mighty good time to secure his service.

Happy Valentine’s Day!