Castle Garden as a Matrimonial Market - 1885
A Farmer from the Interior Seeking a Wife at Castle Garden, New York. Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, June 1885. GGA Image ID # 14bd0b013f
A new industry has recently been developed at Castle Garden, in New York city—that of wife-hunting among the emigrant girls. Almost every day, the Superintendent receives letters from persons desirous of securing wives without the trouble of a long courtship.
In these cases the girl seeking employment through the Labor Bureau have been summoned for review, the applicants taking their pick and then addressing themselves to the task of getting the consent of the favorites to an early marriage.
One person, George W. Dabler, writes from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., that he cannot find a suitable woman for a wife in all that neighborhood, and he regards Castle Garden as his last resort.
His entreaties that the names of one or more emigrant girls may be sent him, with whom he can correspond, are very touching. But he is a most fastidious suitor, and details very minutely the appearance and character of such a one as it would be possible for him to make Mrs. Dabler.
She must be a "full-blooded German, "and he denotes the height, weight, color of hair, eyes, etc., the woman of bis choice must possess.
A number of women having read of the unsuccessful search of applicants at Castle Garden, have written Superintendent Jackson, informing him that they can be had for the asking.
We append two of these letters as illustrations of the new style of literature which has developed in connection with this marriage bureau. One woman writes:
"Bondout, Aug 2Sth 1884. "Manager Connolly of the Labor Bureau Castle Garden
"Dear Sir—having read In the morning Journal of N Y the statement of Daniel Shugone the Farmer and others—also, looking for a wife and being refused by the Emigrant girls—I would say that If the Gentleman Is in Earnest in his request and really in search of a wife—and would like to secure a really good wife he might be suited up In this direction.
I would like to hear from Mr. Shugone—l am a respectable widow thirty-four years of age was raised on a farm and understand all the work belonging to the feminine part of the business—but am poor and It hard to make both ends meet some of the time.
I follow the trade of Dressmaking for a living—but am heartily tired of the struggle for Bread and lonely and nothing would suit me better than the free and happy life on a farm—If you would show my letter to Mr. Shugone—and tell him I should like to hear from him—I should be grateful—and if you would like my letter to be made I public you are at liberty to do so only please do not give my real name In It—I would not like my name to spear In the papers— hoping to hear from Mr. Shugone and with many thanks to you for what trouble this will be to you
"I am with much respect Mrs. Bondout Ulster Co N T."
Evidently determined that her application should not miscarry, the woman the next day wrote directly to the object of her interest, as follows:
"Bondout Aug 29th, 1884
"Mr. Daniel F. Shugone
"Dear Sir—Having read about you trying to secure the release of Miss Ella Laraboe the notorious Burglar of Brooklyn with the intention of making her your wife—I ventured to write to you to try and persuade you to think better of your resolve for believe me such a woman would never make a good wife for a farmer— and should you marry her you would be likely to repent of it In dust and ashes—I think that if you are In earnest and want a real good wife and one that is familiar with all work pertaining to a farm—you would not regret it if you should send me a letter. I shall be very glad to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
"Address Mrs. _____, "Rondout Lister Co N Y
"please do not alow this to be made public and oblige
"Dear Sir—Please be so kind and hand this to Mr. Daniel F Shugone and please do not make It Public"
"Castle Garden as a Matrimonial Market," in Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, New York: Frank Leslie's Publishing House, Vol. XVII, No. 6, June 1885, pp. 543-544.