Cabin Fever
Breaking Ground
The Waldbillig Wedding

© 1989 Mildred Chaffin


A wedding of note, taken from Profile of Early Ovando compiled by Hazel Jacobsen, occurred in Ovando January 2,1896, the principals being Miss Cora Young and Henry J. Faust. The event as written up in the Montana Standard was described as “the greatest social event ever celebrated in the Big Blackfoot Valley”.

But some years later there was another wedding near Ovando that was just as enduring but not as widely publicized, the principals being Miss Ethel Lynn from Ovando and Joseph Waldbillig, formerly of Drummond.

The nuptials were held at the Lynn home on Christmas Eve, 1906 or 1907, but as luck would have it, the milk cows escaped and while the family was out chasing them, Oscar Lynn lost a shoe in a gopher hole. Oscar, a brother of the bride, was to be an escort for the bridal pair and no shoe could he find. He flabbergasted everyone by appearing among the wedding party wearing one shoe and one rubber irrigating boot pulled up over his knee outside his pants leg.

The astonished minister cast disapproving glances and uttered noises that sounded like “Ahem. Ahem!” When the minister brought forth “A-hem” Oscar reached behind him and brought forth a small pan of ashes, meaning to imply that the man of the cloth might be needing a spittoon. But he held the receptacle back so that only the guests could see. George Waldbillig, who was his brother’s best man, was so overcome by laughter that he dropped the ring and had to get down on the floor to recapture it.

The poor minister kept looking behind him to see what was causing the commotion but all that he saw was Oscar Lynn standing with his hands behind his back, looking very pious and innocent. Mother Lynn had worked hard to make a good impression. After all, her daughter was marrying one of the Waldbilligs of Drummond! Now she was burning with embarrassment and chagrin at the behavior of her unpredictable offspring.

But none of this affected young Oscar. He was taking advantage of one last chance to bedevil his sister who was having a hard time choking back her laughter. She managed to keep a straight face long enough to speak her wedding vows.

The bride’s sense of humor carried her through the ceremony, as it must have done many times after leaving a family of lively brothers and sisters to take the long, deep plunge into a lonely way of life in the heart of Swan Valley.