Palmer -Wright Wedding

7th October 1863

At about half past 9 this morning, Miss Mary Jane Pearson Wright was on the steps of her family's home near the rear of The Camp.  She smiled and said,

"...there was no proper carriage available in the district, so we had instead a wagon covered in white duck tarpaulin in which I, the bride, and bridesmaids went to the ceremony."

The Columbia Detachment marched in two sections with the carriage between.  The RE families marched alongside, making happy, boisterous and encouraging comments.

At about 10 am, at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, the little wooden church built by the RE in New Westminster, a large number of the RE marched up and halted.  They piled arms and took the hands of their loved ones and cheerfully entered the church.

The Officers and their ladies sat in the first pews and at the alter stood the 24 year old Lt. Palmer in his best uniform.  At his side stood the 15 year old Miss Mary Jane Pearson Wright, a long veil obscuring her face.  As the ceremony continued, read by the bride's father, Archdeacon Wright, a slight wind picked up outside.

"You may now kiss my daughter," intoned the Archdeacon to the chuckles of the congregation.  As the couple kiss, the room broke into cheers.  As the Officers and wives closest to the newly-weds stepped up to give their congratulations, Colonel Moody, Captain Parsons, Charles Alston, and Charles Wood signed the Marriage Book as witnesses.

Soon after, the couple make their way outside, Mrs. Palmer continued,

"...But even more exciting was our departure from the church.  The only available conveyance was a high gig.  It happened to be a very windy day and when my husband and I mounted and took our seats, my veil flew wildly in every direction, while the horse sped along the road."

In order to accommodate all the guests, the reception was held in the Royal Engineer's Mess, and Sapper Haynes, the Detachment Bandmaster, conducted the band as it played lively airs.

At about 2 pm today, the newly-weds and a large number of friends, including Colonel Moody and the Officers, boarded the Steamer to Victoria -- the newly-weds for a short Honeymoon and the rest to be there as witnesses for Captain Luard who travels there to wed Miss Leggatt the next Morning.

Later Mrs. Palmer said,

"...I have ever remembered the 7th of October 1863 when one and all of the dear RE's did their very best to make that happy wedding day the very brightest one for the Bride and her dear Husband which could be wished."

The British Colonist wrote:

Wedding at New Westminster - An interesting event took place at the Holy Trinity Church, New Westminster.  Lieut. Henry Spencer Palmer of the Royal Engineers led to the alter Mary Jane Pearson , eldest daughter of the venerable Archdeacon H. P. Wright.  The ceremony was performed by the father of the bride, and was witnessed by a large number of friends.

--Compiled from newspaper articles from the 1863 British Columbian--