Brides of Yester-year
Peck-MacGuffin 1908
At the turn-of-the-century, a bright, pretty school teacher caught the eye of a successful bachelor lawyer. This lovely lace dress was worn by Mabelle Peck at her wedding to Paul MacGuffin on August 12, 1908. Although Mabelle and Paul both lived in Libertyville before they were married, the wedding took place in Ottawa, Kansas. Their wedding is a delightful story.
Main Street, Ottawa, Kansas
Main Street, Ottawa, Kansas Details
Mabelle Milne Peck was born on September 23, 1884 in Ottawa, Kansas. Here is a view of Main Street in Ottawa which bears a resemblance to Milwaukee Avenue in downtown Libertyville. Mabelle graduated from high school in Ottawa, then from Ottawa University and the Conservatory of Music. At some point she came to Libertyville and taught languages for at least one year at the high school.
Methodist Church (1892-1913) on Milwaukee Avenue
Methodist Church (1892-1913) on Milwaukee Avenue Details
Paul MacGuffin was born on May 2, 1873 at Wyanet, Bureau County, Illinois. His father John MacGuffin was a Methodist minister. Paul attended Illinois State Normal College at Normal, Illinois, and then came to Libertyville.


Paul's father was pastor of our Methodist church here. Paul graduated from Northwestern University Law School in 1895 and was admitted to the bar that same year.
Milwaukee Avenue looking north toward Cook Street
Milwaukee Avenue looking north toward Cook Street Details
He set up his law practice in Libertyville at the corner of Cook Street and Milwaukee Avenue (the building with the cupola, on the left in the picture above). He became "a prominent attorney, an influential politician, and a popular man," according to the Independent Register (8/14/1908).


Paul MacGuffin also served as mayor of Libertyville from 1905 - 1907.
Mabel made her entrance dressed in "an exquisite creation of handmade Princesse lace, worn over a cream messaline silk slip. She carried a shower bouquet of bride's roses and lillies of the valley. The bride and groom were unattended." The newspaper article continues with an account of the reception following their ceremony:


"After congratulations a two course luncheon in pink and white, was served by Misses Norma Lee Peck, Mary Kerr, Mary Ferguson and Phoebe Ellis, from small tables, each decorated with bouquets of pink bridesmaid roses. Roses were also given as favors. The bride's cake containing the lucky ring was cut by the bride and the ring fell to the lot of Miss Mary Kerr." (Independent Register 8/21/1908). No doubt there was much gaiety and laughter on such a happy occasion.
Mabelle and Paul then left on the Missouri Pacific for a six weeks' tour which included a visit to Yellowstone Park and other points of interest in the northwest. They returned to Libertyville in October.
Brainerd Court looking south
Brainerd Court looking south Details
After a few years Mabelle and Paul moved into their own house at 527 Brainerd Court in Libertyville. Paul conducted his successful law practice from his office on Milwaukee Avenue. The couple had two children, John and Lorraine. In addition to practicing law, Paul was involved in many real estate developments; he was a member of the Lake County Bar association and many other community organizations. His legal clients in Libertyville included Samuel Insull and several railroad lines.


Mabelle, in addition to her home duties, was involved in community activities as well. She was a member of the Libertyville Women's Club, holding the office of president at one time. She was also involved in founding the Cook Memorial Public Library, as was Laura Taylor, another of our brides.


After a most distinguished law career of over 50 years, Paul died in 1945. Within a year Mabelle moved to the northwest coast to be near her daughter Lorraine. Mabelle died in December 1979, a month after her son John died.


With this dress we remember a vibrant young couple who began their life together with a surprise wedding, and who lived in our town as prominent, successful, and respected citizens of the community.
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