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New York last year prohibited all marriages before the age of 17 and permits 17-year-olds to marry only with a judge's permission. “When I’m around the hill people I brag that I was married at 13, and a grandmother at 30. There’s a lot more to this story, too! On the morning they were wed, he took her to find the local pastor, who married them in the middle of the road. But what real options did she have? What happens when she has temper tantrums or “acts out” or acts the way people do when they are growing up? After the ceremony was completed, Eunice stopped at her sister’s to pick up the doll and then went home. I always joke that the town is so small that if you blinked while driving through it, you would miss it in its entirety. You see, Charlie Johns was 22 and Eunice Winstead was nine. When the press interviewed Eunice in 1976, she said that she had no regrets over marrying so young. I get struggled daily with the language and my wife is my mentor. And if this case has stirred up enough excitement to bring about a new marriage law for Tennessee, then it has served its purpose. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I’ve made some money, but it’s not in a bank – I’ve got it hid away.”, Eunice had little to say, but boastfully stated, “I like to milk.” It was noted by the reporter that she was learning how to cook, to which Charlie added, “She already knows how to make biscuits.”, On the eve of their second anniversary, it didn’t seem like much had changed. The couple had been dating for about one-year, but Charlie never approved of the relationship. On January 12, 1937, in Treadway, a small town in Hancock county, a young couple asked a local minister, 53-year-old Reverend Walter Lamb, to join the two in matrimony. Aroused over the marriage of Eunice Winstead Johns, 9-year-old mountain bride, Tennessee's legislature began setting up a legal barrier Tuesday to future child marriages. And with their marriage Eunice became “the youngest American girl married in the history of marriage statistics.” When the marriage was picked up by the press, the Tennessee newlyweds became national celebrities, and it proved to be one of the most outrageous topics of 1937. In some states, prosecutors of crimes will not prosecute a man for statutory rape, if the man marries the girl involved. After reading Michelle Winstead haley’s note, it comes to point that I have a high respect to Charlie and Eunice. They simply slipped across the border into Kentucky to get married, which many other young couples also opted to do. She most certainly could have married someone at an older age and been mistreated. (An “Old Fellow” with “old teeth of enormous length” was how one critic skewered him.) Advocacy group Human Rights Watch, for example, has pointed out that until New York changed its child-marriage law last year, 14- and 15-year-olds could marry, with permission of a judge and parent. Issued six days earlier, that legal document allowed him to marry 18-year-old Eunice Blanche Winstead to 22-year-old Charlie Jess Johns. Her education ended the year she was married. When teacher Wade Ferguson gave her a switching for supposed “general mischievousness,” her husband decided to withdraw her from school. Was the picture of Charley and Eunice you saw in Sociology class in America or Cambodia? There are legitimate reasons why girls wanted to get married in past centuries: to escape abusive and controlling home lives; to escape the suitors their parents had chosen for them; because the alternative was poor-paying factory work or worse, prostitution. This trend arose from several factors, Syrett writes, among them the culture’s “intense preoccupation with domesticity,” and a kind of untenable moral compromise—while sexual experimentation was becoming increasingly acceptable for unmarried middle-class girls, at least behind closed doors, out-of-wedlock children were not. mother of the nine-year-old Eunice Win stead Johns, the child bride, has asked me to "write a piece" to correct "errors" papers have made about the marriage which was per formed in the middle of a country road near Treadway on Jan. 14. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Charlie had inherited his parents’ 150-acre hillside farm and had become a prosperous farmer. I believe she was happy, though. One legislator told me how a young man from his district was being deployed in the military, at the age of 18, and that he wanted to marry his girl, who was 17. Many were not forced. That’s right, the venerable Internet Archive has the full film, all one hour and two minutes of Child Bride right here. According to the 2010 census, the population of the entire county was 6,819 in total. There is no drama here. what a story! The next day, both John Henry and his mother Eliza were arrested and charged with falsifying Evelyn’s age at 21 when they obtained the marriage license. LAWS CAN BE BAFFLING, WITH SOME STATES ALLOWING MARRIAGE FOR PEOPLE YOUNGER THAN THE LEGAL AGE OF CONSENT. Reiss and her fellow advocates will keep working on this, she said. In 1958 Child Bride appeared in theaters again, and, as Holbrrok notes: By the ’60s, Child Bride‘s underage skinny dipping scene lef to its brief screening in the grindhouses of San Francisco as an adults-only film. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. That last recorded age was not done so in error, though the girl’s name was misspelled.1 Twenty-five-year-old Charlie Johns and Eunice Winstead were married there on 19 January 1937—when the bride was only nine.2, Word of the shocking wedding spread quickly, sparking outrage nationwide when newspapers splashed the headline-grabbing story with pictures of the lanky farmer and his flaxen-haired child bride. His fee was $1.00 (about $18.00 today. Please write to him for it and get in touch with me! That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the location of today’s story is probably not much different. He said she was delightful and had stayed married to Charley until he died in the 90s. Some 57,800 minors ages 15 to 17 married in 2014, the majority of them girls, according to a 2016 report by the Pew Research Center. Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History. 9-year old Eunice Winstead Johns and her husband, Charlie Johns, 22, at their home. Lastly, should either of the party be under sixteen, a court could annul the marriage should a complaint be filed “by such person or any interested person acting on his or her behalf.”. But at age 32 she was the valedictorian speaker at Rutgers University's commencement. The Eunice and Charlie story grows more fascinating the more I learn. Charlie told reporters, “Let Eunice alone, don’t scare her.”, Her dad chimed in, “This thing has got to stop. Evelyn told the press that she couldn’t understand how her father could be upset with the marriage. The book doesn’t cover the detail of the story; that is why I try to go online to do more research and see this site. The newlyweds had no home of their own. After all, every girl has a right to get married, and if Eunice wants to marry Charlie, it’s her own life.”. With just a third grade education, she would never learn to read. I lived with her, an they come from all over to take pictures of them an their family. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Useful? He’s a hard worker. I’m in some of the pictures that where taken an put in the magazines . This resulted in counties like Hancock losing up to half of their marriage license revenue, so the state legislature repealed that portion of the law in 1935. The film was promoted as educational and as an attempt to draw attention to the lack of laws banning child marriage in many states.. Eunice Johns greets me, a total stranger, with an embrace. In his comprehensive look at the history of American child marriage, Syrett gives us many anecdotes about girls getting married, often to much older men. Or they'd rather the girl marry than give birth to an illegitimate child. When her marriage last winter to a lank, 23-year-old hillbilly named Charlie Johns provoked a national scandal (TIME, Feb. 15), Tennessee hastily enacted a law prohibiting the marriage of persons under 14. These roadshow films were produced quickly and exhibited in only a few theaters at a time, often accommodated by a lecturer who spoke who spoke out against whatever evil was being presented and sold educational literature warning of its dangers.Because they were made independently and never distributed through the standard theater chains, they were not under the jurisdiction of the Production Code. Chancellor A. T. Stewart agreed that there had been a violation of the 16-year age minimum, but wrote that an annulment would only serve to put “Geneva out of house and home with no place to go.”. (The concept of pedophilia as a psychiatric disorder was only just gaining currency, and Daddy’s reputation suffered as rumors swirled about a long-standing interest in young girls.) Child Bride-Hancock County Tenn. Eunice Winstead, age 9 married to Charlie Johns age 22. Back in 1937, Hancock county was in one of the most inaccessible locations in all of Tennessee. Many children back then did adult things, before we passed child-labor laws. He was twenty-four. A March 23, 1937 Knoxville Journal article stated that, “Unlike Mrs. Eunice Johns, whose marriage at nine precipitated the new state law, Mrs. That was impossible! Shoemakers in the 19th century “The girl’s parents sanctioned the marriage and that makes it legal.” He added, “Of course a marriage like that is a shame, but what can I do about it? Bernice Stobaugh Ray, Shirely’s swiming-double and life-long Christian, heard about that and says she was in a meeting of church women one afternoon in the 1980s when the pastor tried to begin a discussion by asking if any of them had ever one anything outrageous.
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