Monday, January 14, 2008

The Phillips-Piester Wedding

Today begins a week of focusing on marriage certificates. The UFO Team would love to hear from you, our readers, about any certificates or licenses that you would like to share. Was there an interesting story behind it? Did they marry outside their faith? Did they have a "shotgun" wedding? Let us know if you'd like to share a certificate from your collection and the story behind it.

While this document is no Declaration of Independence, it was eagerly sought after by many treasure hunters. Fortunately the UFO Team was alert and hasty in collecting this mini-treasure from the recent heirloom collection at Area 51.

This piece of paper was originally rolled and stuffed inside a paper towel tube. It has since been creased to some degree, making the unrolling difficult. If left to it's own devices, the paper will return to a rolled position. The ink is green for the hand-written portions while the pre-printed form is in black ink. The bottom right corner has been torn off but still remains with the original document. The bottom left corner has an embossed seal from the county court.

Unique Marks:
The document reads as follows (bold text is hand-written):

Certificate of Marriage
This is to certify that
I have this day joined in
George E. Phillips of Alliance State of Nebraska
and Jessie I. Piester of Gregory State of Nebraska
according to the laws of the State of Nebraska and that there were
present as witnesses W. Radaus of Hastings
and L. G. Cauter of Hyannis
Dated May 4th 1900 S. E. Stilson Co. Judge

George Phillips and Jessie (Irene) Piester were married May 4th, 1900 in Hyannis, Nebraska. The couple would go on to have several children before tragedy struck in the 1930s. George killed one of his daughters and spent the rest of his life in prison. Jessie would divorce George and continue to live on the family ranch before passing in 1960.

The County Judge officiating the wedding was S. E. Stilson. The Stilson family was of Scotch descent and came to Nebraska from La Salle, Illinois [editor's note: The Piester family also came from the La Salle area of Illinois]. Stilson is listed on numerous marriage certificates as the presiding judge.


- Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska, Page 276-277, Retrieved on January 12, 2008 from
- Nebraska State Genealogical Society, Volume III, no. 2, Fall 1980, Page 33, Retrieved on January 12, 2008 from
- Numerous facts were gathered from the private Richard Family Estate collection. These facts span numerous sources of information and contain genealogical data, photos, and newspaper articles.

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