Last Saturday I had the honor of presenting a history of the Piollet family for the grand opening of the Dandy Mini Mart’s location in Wysox. The mart is in the former Piollet Mansion in the heart of Bradford County at the junction of Routes 6 and 187. What a splendid job Randy Williams and his team did merging the stately home and the mini mart. The library, which goes from the first floor to the roof with a glass cupola, is breathtaking to say the least. I came across the following while doing research for the presentation and thought folks would enjoy reading its much as I did.
September 3, 1875:
Do you know anything about Pennsylvania hospitality? Are you acquainted with the manner in which our neighbors over the line do up a wedding day and feast? If yes, then you are happy on the consciousness of some delightful knowledge. If no, then a portion of our social education is unfinished and when you have an opportunity to graduate therein with full honors seize upon it by all means and you will never regret it.
Col. Victor E. Piollet lives at Wysox, a few miles below Towanda on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He has just finished a new residence that in many points may excel any house in the valley of the Susquehanna. It covers a large amount of ground, is of brick and is three stories in height, surmounted by a cupola that lights a handsome library on the ground floor in the center of the building. The rooms are all large, with high ceilings and deep windows, the halls being wide and open. Indeed, the whole house is just such a one as one would expect such a great hearted, warm souled man as Col. Victor Piollet would plan and build.
The new house is a beauty and looks out on the valley on each side of it that smile upon one as paradise must have looked to Adam just about the same time when he was driven from it.
It was beautifully and tastefully decorated yesterday with evergreens so profusely laid over the doorways and windows, up and down the balustrades and around the columns in the library rotunda, that the whole seemed almost an arbor of growing vines and pines. These should be typical of the memory of an event which transpired there yesterday — the marriage of the only daughter of Col. Piollet, Emilie Victoriene Piollet, as she was, a charming young woman of great personal attractions, and an intelligence highly cultured. The groom was Robert A. Packer, oldest son of Hon. Asa Packer of Mauch Chunk.
There were many guests present, but the house being large the number did not seem as great as it really was.
The ceremony was performed by Rev. C. L. Mitchell, the pastor of the Presbyterian church, Wysauking, assisted by Rev. Dr. Samuel Marks of Huron, Ohio,
Forty-eight years ago, Dr. Marks married Asa Packer and Sarah Minerva Blakesley at Springville, Susquehanna County, PA. Soon after, he moved west.
The wedding ceremony of yesterday was a very beautiful one. In the library under the strong light of the cupola stood on one side Col. Piollet and his wife, the father and mother of the bride, on the other Hon. and Mrs. Asa Packer, father and mother of the groom. About forming a circle, were the relatives many deep, while on the balconies of the two stories above were other friends and guests. At one o’clock, the hour appointed, Misses Nellie M. Collins, Fannie P. Skeer, Sallie Wierman, and Lizzie H. Coolbaugh entered by way of the front hall. They were speedily followed by the bride and groom arm-in-arm. The bride was most beautifully and richly dressed, but would have been attractive, even lovely, in the most inexpensive material, as she was in a garb that must have exercised the best taste of the most approved artists upon materials which great wealth prompted by the tenderest affection could procure.
Rev. C. L. Mitchell read the first of the service which was concluded by Dr. Marks, it being in the Episcopal ritual.
The Lin-ta Band of Towanda, W. Dittrich, leader, was stationed on the balcony just off the library. On the entrance of the bridal party they had played a beautiful march, and at the conclusion of the ceremony during the congratulations they struck in with another exquisite piece most charmingly and effectively played. The Lin-ta Band is one of the best musical organizations in the country. The character of their selections is very fine and the manner of their execution almost perfect. They are uniformed superbly and both as to their music and appearance make a pleasing sensation wherever they go.
The dining tables which were, very soon after the ceremony, exposed to view and for use, were such as an epicure might dream of and be satisfied. They were laden with everything that could be thought of in the culinary or pastry line, and with a profusion that would make even prodigality hide its head. The company large as it was hardly seemed to make an impression on them.
The presents were plentiful and beautiful, all of them displaying a design on the part of the givers to show how much the fair bride was appreciated by her many friends.
The groom was by no means forgotten here either, one of his gifts attracting much attention. A complete hunting and fishing outfit. To be sure the gun was one that had been used in Queen Anne’s time.
The flowers many of which were gifts, were profuse and very elegant, some being specimens rarely seen in this climate. A basket of large size, in which were the initials of the bride’s name in different colored flowers, was very beautiful. It came from Mr. J. Hixson of the Geneva, Ithaca and Auburn Railroad.
The bridal party and many of the guests left on the afternoon express for the north, and the whole company came down from the house, but a short distance to see them off. As the train started, the cheers given were many and hearty, the band played their most inspiring strains, and the old shoe, symbol of good luck was flung at the beginning of the journey that all will hope will be as full of happiness and joy to the end as are all of its promises.
The guests present were from far and near among them being the following: Mr. Howard Elmer and wife of Waverly; Hon. J. Powell and wife, Col. J. F. Means and wife, James M. Ward and wife, Clark B. Porter and wife, R. F. Goodman and wife, John D. Montanye and wife, C. M. Sanderson and wife, J. M. Rahm and wife, M. H. Lanning, R. H. Lanning, Mrs. Bishop, Miss Annie Miller, Miss Jessie Ward, all of Towanda; Judge Asa Packer and wife of Mauch Chunk; Robert H. Sayre and wife, Bethlehem; Harry E. Packer and wife, Robert Lockhart, Mrs. Rathbun, E P. Wilbur and wife, G. B. Linderman and wife, C. O. Skeer and wife, Miss Fanny Skeer, of Mauch Chunk; Al Lewis and wife of White Haven; Mrs. F. T. Dewing, of Warren, PA; F. T. Wierman and wife, T. T. Wierman, Jr., W. P. Ely of Harrisburg; Col. Chas. F. Dorrance of Wilkes-Barre; H. B. Morgan and wife, George Smith and wife, N. L. Parks, Dr. T. F. Madill wife and daughter, Miss Fanny Minardi, D. Meehan of Wysox; W. B. Storrs and wife of Standing Stone; Ausburn Towner of Elmira.
The whole event was one that has excited much interest throughout the valley for many days, and its culmination was quite in agreement with the expectations aroused. It was a beautiful wedding and feast throughout.
Mr. Joseph Piollet, a nephew of the Col. was the Master of Ceremonies of the day, and to his credit to be placed much of the success that followed upon the generosity and hospitality that fills the heart of Col. Piollet.
Henry Farley is President of the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda.