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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Cousins at a wedding

In September of 1914, a highlight of the early autumn social season in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was the wedding of Bertha Jason and John Silberman. It made the front page of the Lebanon Daily News on 9 September (immediately below a headline of “German Army Claims Great Victory in the Fall of Maubeuge, France”). The reporter noted the “Nearly 200 Guests”, “Striking Gowns” and “Elaborately Decorated” Sons of America Hall.[1]


Bertha was the “charming and accomplished” eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Isaac Jason, and worked as a stenographer. She was “widely known throughout the city”. Her groom was “a prominent iron and steel broker of Middletown”. Guests came from New York City, Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Middletown and Chicago.


What caught my eye was the mention of some of my cousins in the description of the bridal party. One of the bridesmaids was Miss Mollie Solomon of Asbury Park, and another was Bertha Bangser of Lebanon, who had attended Lebanon High School with the bride. A newspaper report of Bertha Jason’s linen shower on 3 September opened by saying that “Miss Bertha Bangser, of 24 North Sixth street, last evening tendered a linen shower to Miss Bertha Jason. … The prospective bride received a large number of handsome pieces of linen, and excellent refreshments were served.”[2]


I checked my tree to see how Mollie and Bertha were related, and found that they were second cousins twice over, as their grandmothers had been sisters and their grandfathers had been brothers.

The groomsmen at the wedding were William and Adolph Bangser of New York, Bertha’s brothers. Adolph also acted as the master of ceremonies. Guests included “Mr and Mrs Benjamin Bangser, of New York City” (Benjamin was another of Bertha’s brothers).


After the ceremony, supper was served: “Caterer Newman, of Philadelphia, had charge of the supper arrangements” and “immense pink and white streamers were festooned about the ceiling”. This was followed by dancing, which carried on into the early morning hours. “Tyrrell’s orchestra was hidden behind a huge bank of palms. … The floral decorations were provided by Mish, and required a large force of men working practically all of yesterday”.


The bride and groom had slipped away after the reception to start on their wedding trip, “the itinerary of which is being kept a complete secret”. They would be away for a week and would then return to Middletown where they would be “housekeeping in their newly furnished home”.


I noticed that another bridesmaid was “Dorothy Finestine of New York city", and among “the more prominent of the out-of-town guests” were “Mrs Samuel Finestein and daughter, Miss Dora Finestein, of New York City” but it turned out that I had already researched this family and discovered that their name was originally Kuzmann and they came from Kyiv, Ukraine. So not related.


Mollie Solomon married Morris Pill in 1921 in Lincoln, Nebraska, but sadly died in 1923. Bertha Bangser married George Cane in Manhattan in 1918.

[1] Daily News, 9 Sep 1914, p. 1, p. 10.

[2] Daily News, 4 Sep 1914, p. 23.

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