On a warm sunny day in July, 1858, all was ready for the wedding of Miss Wagner and Mr. Pursely in Phoenix, Ore. The Justice of the Peace had provided all the appropriate preliminaries before the 60 guests. Miss Wagner stood before the groom in her best dress. Pursely was a little tipsy from alcoholic fortification.
Pursely had come to Phoenix less than a year earlier as a shoemaker, or a “son of Saint Crispin” as they were often called in those days. It had been difficult to make ends meet, but he was considered a respectable citizen.
As the couple stood before Justice Hays, he asked Pursely, “Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?” With little regard for proprieties he answered, “I don’t do nothin’ else, old hoss!”
With the guests struggling to keep from laughing out loud, Hays asked Miss Wagner the same question. She replied unequivocally, “No!” and sat down.
Pursely’s friends watched him drink even more, then took him to the millrace for a dunking, subjected him to many indignities, and sent him on his way out of town.
Thus ended the half-wedding.
Source: "The Amusing Account of a" Half Wedding"." Sacramento Daily Union, 21 July 1858, p. 1.