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Friday, February 25, 2011

McCaskey - Conklin Wedding at Fort Sheridan

On August 26, 1903, Eleanor McCaskey married Captain Arthur Stewart Conklin at Fort Sheridan.

The wedding was big news on the society pages of the Chicago papers, evoking a bygone age of knights in shining armor and fair maidens.

Eleanor, known as the "daughter of the regiment" was the daughter of Colonel William S. McCaskey (1843-1914) commander of the 20th Infantry, and Nellie Garrison McCaskey. The bride's father and the groom served together in the Philippines in the 20th Infantry.

A bugle sounded the beginning of the procession, followed by the 20th Infantry Band playing the wedding march from "Lohengrin."

From left to right are the bridesmaids (unfocused in background); father of the groom and Mrs. McCaskey; bridegroom Arthur Conklin with his mother; William Reed and John McLeary; C.I. McCaskey and William Morris; Garrison McCaskey and H.D. McCaskey. (LCDM 2009.2.6.1)

Captain Arthur S. Conklin (1872-1960), dressed in the red trimmed suit of the artillery, with his mother, Mrs. Conklin, of Elmira, NY on his arm, and behind them the bridegroom's father and Mrs. McCaskey, walking from Colonel McCaskey's residence at Fort Sheridan to the lawn where the wedding would take place. (LCDM 2009.2.2)

View of the bridesmaids and bride with her father coming out of the Colonel's home and walking along a fabric path lined with evergreen boughs. (LCDM 2009.2.8)

Photo of the bride, Eleanor McCaskey (1881 - 1958) escorted by her father, Colonel McCaskey, as they leave the Colonel's house for the wedding ceremony to be held on the lawn under the oak trees. Also in view are the two flower girls, Frances and Helen Meacham. (LCDM 2009.2.4)

The ceremony was interrupted by the Second Cavalry's mascot dog. Depending on the source, the dog was either Bruno, the St. Bernard, or Bolivar the Mastiff. In either case, all agreed that the dog caused a bit of a stir as it wandered about the scene. According to the Chicago Record Herald newspaper, there was "intense resentment in the ranks of the blue-clad privates when a 'cavalry dog' tried to interrupt the wedding."

The happy bride and groom following the wedding ceremony. (above) 

The Chicago Inter Ocean reported that, "The gloomy skies and the dark shadows of the surrounding trees were in strange contrast to the bright uniforms and white dresses of the bridal party and the ecclesiastical attire of Bishop Millspaugh," the officiant.

The newlyweds honeymooned at Yellowstone Park, before making their home at the Presidio in California where Captain Conklin was stationed. Arthur Conklin was eventually promoted to Brigadier General, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

To request a free brochure on Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve with information on the history of the Fort and site map, please email me at:

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