Mabel LaBarre Straub was born in 1878 in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, to parents David Walter Straub (1856-1922), a country doctor, and Laura Sherisky LaBarre (1858-1925), daughter of Jesse Labar of Slatington, Pennsylvania.
Mabel’s parents, David and Laura, scandalized society when they eloped about 1875 as announced in the following undated and unidentified newspaper clipping:
How a Bride Was Lost To A Preacher
A Romantic Marriage Near Slatington Last Week
A special correspondent from Slatington says: “Quite a romantic marriage took place in this locality a few days ago which has created a buzz in social circles. The parties are known in Reading and I will give you the facts. Miss Laura LaBar, that was, is a beautiful, highly respectable and accomplished young lady of Slatington, daughter of Mr. Jesse LaBar, one of the leading business men of the place, in the insurance business. Dr. D. W. Straup now resides in Millport, a few miles from Slatington. He was formerly a student with Dr. J. G. Grosscup, druggist of Reading. Several years ago Mr. Straup (he had not then graduated) and Miss LaBar were very intimate friends, and their acquaintances look forward to a pleasant wedding. The current of true love however met in Slatington and there it was that the young lady was induced to forsake her first love and keep company with the minister aged about 35 hailing from the coal regions. She was about 17. She did this to please her near relatives, she said. The young man went to Philadelphia with the idea that his affections had been forever blasted. Finally it was announced that the young lady was to be married to the minister and preparations were made for the wedding. Slowly and sadly the young lady made up her mind that she would not marry against her wishes to suit the caprice of others. She ascertained that the young man still loved her, and she had the wedding postponed. Finally, the young man graduated and came home. The young lady summoned all her courage and diplomacy and in a few days she secretly and without telling anyone about the house what she intended to do, she succeeded in getting her wedding clothes out of the house, piece by piece, and then at the proper time, her faithful lover met her and two ministers completed one of the happiest of marriages. They went to housekeeping at once. It was a great surprise to all their friends and relatives, but the young doctor and his beautiful bride have received the kindest congratulations of many dear friends. I suppose the minister has been informed of what has taken place. He expected to have been married in a few days.”
Other accounts say that Laura’s parents would prosecute the doctor.
Much excitement was caused at Slatington in the latter part of last week when it was announced that Miss Laura LaBar, daughter of Jesse LaBar, had eloped and married a young doctor by the name of Straub, residing at Millport, near the Lehigh Gap. Several years ago Mr. Straub came to Slatington as a medical student of Dr. Grosscup, then the homeopathic physician of that place. Miss LaBar, being a young lady of amiable disposition, charming in her manner and attractive in appearance, soon had more than usual attention paid to her by this medical student, and she, reciprocating his affection, caused a mutual love to grow up between, which strengthened as it grew older. Mr. Straub, after being under the tutorship of Dr. Grosscup for some time, let for the medical college of his persuasion in Philadelphia. The parents of Miss LaBar were not particularly averse to the love of this young man for their daughter, but when a clergyman made the acquaintance of Miss LaBar sometime after this, found her agreeable and offered her marriage, they kindly acquiesced. It seems the parents were under the impression that their daughter had entirely forgotten Mr. Straub, and therefore encouraged the suit of the new lover. But all this time, as events proved, the young lady and gentleman kept up a clandestine correspondence, aided by Miss Effie Williams, an intimate acquaintance of the former. The minister, confiding too much in human nature, was completely out-generaled in this affair, and, though it is said there was a distinct understanding between the old folks and the clerical gentleman, and that the day for celebrating the nuptials was appointed and a magnificent gift was on its way from across the deep waters, still appeared quite certain that Miss LaBar had not given the clinching work to this last contract that was to be. Well to make a long story short, Miss LaBar and Mr. Straub were of one mind, like “Two persons with but a single thought, Two hearts that beat as one;” and accordingly, made arrangements between themselves and some of their young friends (who so successfully aided them) to have Miss LaBar conveyed to Millport on Friday evening, at 11 o’clock at which place Mr. Straub, who now adds “M.D.” to his name, was waiting, when the marriage of the twain took place, and when the words were uttered “Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder,” they felt comparatively secure in their new relationship. Of course cruel Mama and Papa followed but it availed them nothing. There is considerable unpleasantness between this family and the other families who encouraged and aided this young lady in her enterprise and remains to be seen whether or not it was indeed a hasty step on the part of the young couple.
Despite the scandalous start to their marriage, Laura and David remained happily married for over 40 years. No word on what Laura’s “wedding clothes” looked like.
Mabel Labarre Straub
Laura and David Straub’s daughter Mabel, one of four children, attended the Boston Conservatory of Music where she studied piano. She also played the organ in the Moravian Church in Bethlehem. At some point, she met Edward Franklin Farquhar, an English professor, and became engaged.
The wedding took place on August 26, 1909, at the First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem.
The Bethlehem Globe Times, August 27, 1909, 1:3, describes the event.
In the presence of an assemblage of friends that completely filled the First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem, Miss Mabel Straub, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. D.W. Straub, East Market Street, and E. Franklin Farquhar, now assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky, were married at 6 o’clock last evening. Rev. James Robinson, pastor of both bride and groom, officiated, using the ring service of the Presbyterian Church. The ride was given away in marriage by her father, Dr. Straub. Weingartner’s Orchestra played the wedding music. The bride’s attendants were her sister, Miss Violet Straub, as bridesmaid, and a little niece, Miss Laura LaBarre Straub, as flower girl. The bride wore a handsome gown of white satin, hand embroidered, and trimmed with duchess lace. She carried a large bouquet of lilies of the valley and sweet peas. The bridesmaid was gowned in a white lace robe over yellow satin and carried yellow roses tied with yellow gauze ribbon. The little flower girl carried a gold basket bearing yellow and white daises and ferns, tied with white gauze ribbon. Mrs. Straub, mother of the bride, was attractive in a gown of white chiffon cloth over white satin, trimmed with silver crystals. George Green of Philadelphia was the groom’s best man. Garret Speris, Maxwell Padgett, William Shaner of Bethlehem and Raymond Wolfe of Shoemakersville were ushers. A reception followed at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Farquhar receiving in the parlor. The rooms were decorated in late Summer flowers, white astors, golden road, and with palms and ferns. Refreshments were served on the lawn by Kachel of Germantown to about 150 guests, including relatives and friends from the Bethlehems, Vancouver, British Columbia, Boston and Clinton, Mass., Denver, and Grand Junction, Col., New York, Boneton, N.J., Pottsville, Wilkes-Barre, Reading, Minersville, Glen Summit and Ashland. Pleasing music was rendered during the evening by Weingartner’s Orchestra, under acting Leader George Bilheimer. Mr. and Mrs. Farquhar left for New York on a wedding trip. They will be at home after Sept. 1 at Lexington, Ky.
Mabel and Frank had two children: Bruce Straub Farquhar and Franklin Frederick Farquhar.
The family moved to Lexington, Kentucky where Frank joined the English department at the University of Kentucky as an assistant professor. There, Frank and Mabel were members of the Second Presbyterian Church. Mabel was a member of the Woman’s Club of Central Kentucky and a director at the Public Health Center. She founded the Lexington chapter of the Needlework Guild of America.
Frank and Mabel’s first son, Bruce, earned a B.S. from the University of Kentucky in 1932 and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1936. In Cincinnati he met Katherine Elizabeth LeBlond.
Katherine Elizabeth LeBlond
Bruce and Katherine married on March 30, 1935.
Mabel, who had a domineering personality, insisted that her new daughter-in-law wear the wedding dress that Mabel had been married in. It was described in the newspaper as a “bridal robe of another day” that “is of heavy satin just the tint of old ivory.”
Following is the account of the ceremony from an unidentified newspaper clipping.
This afternoon, at 4:30 o’clock, in the presence only of the immediate family and a few intimate friends, the marriage of Miss Katherine LeBlond, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Arthur LeBlond, to Mr. Bruce Farquhar, son of Professor and Mrs. Edward Franklin Farquhar of Lexington, will, with dignified and beautiful simplicity, be solemnized at the residence of the bride’s parents on Russell Avenue, Rev. Charles Conover, of Calvary Presbyterian Church, officiating.
Masses of forced shrubs and white snapdragons will form a verdant background for the improvised altar, which will be placed before the handsome fireplace in the spacious drawing room.
The traditional music will be provided by Miss Alice Langdon, pianist, a lifelong friend of the bride and Mr. David Young, violinist, of Lexington, an intimate friend of the groom, who is a musician of more than amateur standing, having played with Mr. Young in a quartet which was broadcast over the radio several years ago.
The bride’s only attendant, Miss Alice Baldwin, of Adrian, Mich., arrived this morning for this joyful event and is the guest of Miss LeBlond and her parents. She was a classmate at Sweet Briar College. She will be becomingly gowned in a frock of Alice blue silk organza, with a long, full skirt, piquant puffed sleeves, and tiny buttons from collar to hem. This chic costume will be attractively set off with a sash of dark brown. She will carry a French bouquet of roses.
The bride, who is tall and very patrician in appearance, will wear the wedding gown of the groom’s mother, Mrs. Edward Franklin Farquhar. Long and full, this bridal robe of another day is of heavy satin just the tint of old ivory. The yoke and tiny collar which decorates the slim-fitting bodice will be of exquisite rose point lace. The only other ornamentation of this lovely toilette is the broad panel which is draped from the bottom of the yoke to the hem of this gown. This is entirely embossed in hand embroidery of a most delicate and intricate design. This lovely gown of a not so distant past will be almost concealed beneath the swirling tulle of her long veil, which will be caught at the nape of the neck by a halo arrangement of this same flimsy mesh which will frame her classic features.
The delicate frill which will outline her bouquet of roses and sweet peas will be the same as that which was used by Mrs. William H. Hessler (Lola Osmond) at the latter’s marriage a year or so ago. Miss LeBlond on this felicitous occasion caught the bride’s flowers as Mr. and Mrs. Hessler departed on their wedding journey. It has been since that time among her treasures until today, when it will again serve as a frame for another bridal bouquet.
Mr. Farquhar’s best man will be Mr. Jack Calloway, the ushers being Mr. Eric Bergman, and Mr. Robert N. LeBlond, a brother of the bride.
A small reception will follow the ceremony. Among the out-of-town guests will be Mr. and Mrs. Edward Franklin Farquhar, Mrs. LeBlond’s sister, Mrs. Gordon Richardson, and Mr. Richardson and Miss Judith Richardson of Reading, Pa., Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Stanton Good and their son Mr. John Good, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jackson Olmey, Mr. and Mrs. Lehre Dantzler and Miss Mary Dantzler of Lexington.
The bride and groom will leave immediately after the reception for their wedding journey, the destination of which has not been disclosed. For her going-away costume the bride has chosen a frock of light blue with navy blue accessories.
Here’s a bridal portrait:
Katherine was my grandmother. Neither of her daughters chose to wear the dress for their weddings! The wedding dress was kept in the family and passed down to me. I didn’t wear it either. But I did put her lucky sixpence in my shoe.