- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - The first marriage license issued in Cass County was in 1829, the same year the county was founded.

In flowing cursive on the weathered page of “Marriage Record 1” in the archives of the county clerk’s office, the register recognizes the marriage of Alexander Wilson and Matilda Tharp, officiated by Circuit Court Judge Hiram Todd.

Today, computers and printers have replaced the handwritten cursive and metal-ringed binders have replaced the leather-bound books. While the particulars have changed, remaining constant over the past 188 years are the enamored Cass County couples seeking the services of government officials to tie the knot.

Kirt Bonnell, Logansport, and Courtney Burnside, formerly of Kendalville, are set to do just that this Valentine’s Day afternoon in Cass County Circuit Court.

They met on the social networking service MeetMe in October before Bonnell posed what he described as a casual wedding proposal about a month ago.



“We get along good, we communicate well,” he said. “She’s the first woman where we can do just the simplest things and both enjoy each other’s company. You don’t have to go out and spend money to enjoy each other.”

Bonnell said they chose to wed at the Cass County Government Building, describing himself as “a simple guy.”

“To me, it don’t matter how you get married, just as long as you get married,” he said.

Burnside agreed.

“It’s just easy and I don’t have to plan anything,” she said with a laugh.

Bonnell wanted to set the date for Valentine’s Day to mark what would have been his late grandparents’ 80th wedding anniversary. Lonnie and Nelly Powell met in their teens before passing away 16 months apart in their 90s, he said.

“Years and years ago I asked my grandfather, it was in the summertime, I was helping him do a garage roof, and I said, ‘How do you know when you meet the right one?’” Bonnell recalled. “And he said, ‘Well, you just do.’”

Bonnell went on to say he hopes to achieve the kind of marriage his grandparents and parents had.

“My grandparents, they always worked together on everything,” he said. “The same thing with my mom and dad when my dad was alive - they worked together and made it work. Nowadays it’s harder to really find that.”

When it comes to marriage, Burnside said she was inspired by her late grandparents as well.

“I told my grandma, I said I’m going to find a guy just like Grandpa,” she said.

Cass County Clerk Beth Liming said couples can start their marriage license applications online at in.gov/judiciary/2605.htm before bringing all the necessary documents with them to finish the process in the clerk’s office. If everything’s in order, they can then schedule an appointment to be wed at the government building.

Cass County Circuit Court Judge Leo Burns provides that service, just as his predecessor separated by nearly two centuries did.

“I’m a public servant, all judges are public servants,” Burns said. “There are very few people by statute, in addition to clergy, who are empowered to marry people.”

He’s been officiating marriages in his court for the past 10 years and while numbers ebb and flow, he said it’s averaged to about one a week.

Sometimes just the couple is present while on other occasions visitors come to watch, although Indiana law no longer requires witnesses for marriages, Burns said.

“Other times people make a little celebration out of it,” he added. “I always invite the friends and family to come in to cross the bar, come in and stand with the couple around the bench.”

He said he uses the same ceremony he wrote over a decade ago to marry couples, which includes an exchange of rings.

“As part of the ceremony, I get assurances from the bride and groom that they are going to take this seriously, then I have them exchange vows,” he said.

Most of the time that consists of the betrothed repeating the vows he delivers, he said, but added couples occasionally recite their own, which he adapts his ceremony for.

“It’s a short, to-the-point ceremony that takes about five minutes,” he said. “At the end, I usually lead a round of applause.”

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, https://bit.ly/2lLMFdY

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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