|Happy Couple: Howard Caldwell and a beaming Elsie Felt posed on her porch at 64 North Irvington Avenue. The couple married on March 23 of that year.|
Elsie Felt was the daughter of Judge Edward and Martha Felt. Her father served as a justice on the Indiana Court of Appeals. The family had previously lived in Greenfield, but moved to Irvington 1910 so that Judge Felt could be nearer to his office in downtown Indianapolis and so that the Felt children could attend Butler University. The Felts lived in a large home on Irvington Avenue and the residence would serve as perfect place for a marriage.
|The Felt family lived in Greenfield, Indiana for many years before moving to 64 North Irvington Avenue in 1910. Mr. Felt served as a judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals. Their oldest son, Edward, Jr., died in 1909.|
|Elsie Felt dressed for cooler weather in 1918. In this photo, she stood in her backyard at 64 North Avenue.|
|Dashing Howard Caldwell smiles for the photographer in 1918 in the front yard of the Felt home at 64 North Irvington Avenue.|
Howard and Elsie selected March 23, 1918, as their wedding date. It was a cool day with a high temperature of only 43 degrees, but at least there was no rain. Headlines in the Indianapolis News likely worried the family as the slaughter of the Great War continued in Europe. Truman Felt, the brother of Elsie, was stationed in France and could not be home for the big event.
The Felts filled the residence with fragrant flowers. Sweet peas and pink tapers greeted the guests as they walked into the home. The wedding was held in the early evening so the house was lit by candle light. A harpist strummed as people found their seats in the living and music rooms. Mable Felt, the sister of Elsie served as her maid of honor. Howard, an only child, chose a fraternity brother, Robert Masters, as his best man. The Reverend W.B. Farmer of the Irvington Methodist Church performed the ceremony as the Felts were very active participants in the Methodist church. In fact, Judge Felt led an adult Sunday school course at the church for many years. Several of the guests were Butler University graduates.
The ceremony began when three children walked down the aisle while Mrs. Mansur Oaks sang three songs, including "A Birthday," "At Dawning," and "Adoration." The little maid of honor, Elizabeth Carr, held a french basket filled with roses. The Felts had placed an altar in the music room where the ceremony was to be conducted. They rented an electric fountain and surrounded it with pink and white lilies. The groom and his best man waited while Mable Felt, the maid of honor, walked down the aisle wearing a pale green chiffon dress and holding a bouquet of sweet peas. At the appropriate moment, Elsie Felt appeared and walked down the aisle flanked by a garland of smilax vines. Her beautiful white gown was in the georgette fashion, from France. She wore a tulle over her hair fastened with a silver head band.
|Elsie Felt Caldwell on her wedding day on March 23, 1918|
After the ceremony, the guests gathered in the dining room for a reception although they likely could not all fit in that room. Judge Felt was a strict believer in temperance so it is unlikely that alcohol of any kind would have been allowed at the reception. Howard and Elsie went off on their honeymoon and then moved to Kokomo although Elsie moved back in with her parents while Howard was away for officer training. Fortunately, the war ended before he could be shipped overseas. Truman Felt survived the war but was injured. Mable Felt, an active member of the YWCA, traveled to Europe in 1919 to assist with the French chapter.
|Mable Felt, the daughter of Edward and Martha Felt, traveled to Europe just as World War I ended to assist with YWCA activities.|
|64 North Irvington Avenue is still just as beautiful in 2019 as when the Felts dwelled there.|
Howard and Elsie would not live in Kokomo for very long and soon they welcomed their first child, Martha Virginia in 1919. They took up residence with his mother, Martha Caldwell, at 30 North Bosart Avenue.
To listen to a rendition of the song "At Dawning" performed at the wedding, click on the link below:
Sources: Wedding: "Caldwell-Felt," Indianapolis News, March 25, 1918, 7; "Marriage of Former Greenfield Girl," Hancock Democrat, March 28, 1918, 1; Truman and Mable Felt: "Boys in France Enjoy Thrills, Indianapolis Star, August 28, 1918, 16; "Truman Felt, Son of Judge, Injured," The Times (Munster, Indiana), December 27, 1918; "Indianapolis Girl Returns After 19 Months Overseas," Indianapolis Star, November 12, 1920, 11.
I am indebted to Ginny Hingst, the granddaughter of Howard and Elsie Felt Caldwell, for her stories and photographs.