Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois has long been the destination of young couples wanting to marry quickly and secretly. This is especially true of those living in western Kentucky counties bordering the Ohio River. The following is one account of such a marriage and is from the Evansville, Indiana Courier of 31 July 1893.
Morganfield, July 30 – Quite a breeze of excitement was created on the street last night by the rumor that Tom Sales and Miss Minnie James had gone to Shawneetown for the purpose of getting married. It seems there was some opposition on the match on the part of the young people’s parents so they decided to steal a march on them and hied them to Gretna Green, where loves young dream might be consummated without let or hinder. Mr. Sales called at the Givens House, where his lady love was boarding with her mother about 7 o’clock, ostensibly for taking a moonlight drive. To disarm suspicion, they started out on the Sulphur Springs road, but turned about soon, came back by a street skirting the Givens House to the Shawneetown road.
They drove rapidly to the river opposite Shawneetown, were ferried over, and at 2 o’clock this morning were married by Justice Hart. The happy twain returned at once, arriving about 6 o’clock.
Mr. Sales is a popular young salesman in the dry goods firm of Newton, Robinson and Waller and the bride is the attractive daughter of Mrs. McIntire, formerly of Union City, Tenn., who has been a resident here several months, engaged in teaching music and dancing.