The Fort Dodge Messenger: Sept. 1, 1903
Absence Made Her Love Grow Cold
Miss Gilday’s Romance of an Egg Proves That “Absence” is Not an Axiom
Marries Him Who Stayed Home
Fort Dodge Girls Who Wrote Name on Egg Shipped to Cuba, Weds Oct. 28
Des Moines, Iowa, September 1 — It was during the Spanish-American war in 1898 that Miss Marie Gilday of Fort Dodge, Iowa, mischievously scrawled her name over the white shell of an egg and slipped it into a packing case at the plant of a big Fort Dodge packing establishment. She was surprised a month later when she received a letter postmarked Santiago, Cuba. The egg had been part of a consignment to the American soldiers in Cuba and Corporal Percy Smith found it in the case when he was working in the commissary department. He wrote to Miss Gilday in Iowa it was not long before he received a reply. Letters flew thick and fast between them and an exchange of pictures followed. Then rumor had it that they were engaged and that Smith was to be furloughed so he could come and visit her.
Fay Cronlin, telegraph operator at the Illinois Central station met Miss Gilday in Fort Dodge the same year. He saw and loved her. But the story of the girl’s strange betrothal to the soldier came to him and he refrained from speaking the words that were in his heart. His companionship continued, but ont (sic – should be not) his courtship. The soldier boy in Santiago who wrote that he was coming to visit Miss Gilday, could not get the furlough and he wrote that he would have to wait until he was discharged from the army.
Seeing the operator every day apparently had its effect on Miss Gilday’s affections. A short time ago she wrote to the soldier telling him their correspondence must cease. When she told this to Cronlin he proposed. The result was that Miss Gilday resigned her position Wednesday and left for Council Bluffs to visit at Cronlin’s home. Yesterday, the wedding invitations were sent out. The marriage will take place at the home of Miss Gilday’s mother October 28. Mr. and Mrs. Cronlin will live in Sioux City.
(Editor’s note: I did a quick search on FamilySearch.org and discovered in the “Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992” that Marie Gilday is listed as mother of the bride in the marriage of Dorothy E. Cronland to Earl E. Walters. The father of the bride is listed as Fayette J. Cronland. The marriage took place on Nov. 24, 1924, in Council Bluffs. A search for Fay Cronland brought up the actual marriage in the “Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934” records. It did take place on Oct. 28, 1903, in Fort Dodge. But the bride’s name is listed as Elizabeth Gilday.)