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Bell PLESS secures Burt COFELD's release in order to marry him, 1890
Posted by: Genealogy (ID *****8812) Date: September 01, 2009 at 10:00:52
  of 310

I found this in The [Atlanta] Constitution, dated 17 Feb 1890; thought it might interest others as well.

Does anyone know if this "Bell PLESS" is in fact Isabella M. PLESS, daughter of Isaiah and Telitha (HISE) PLESS? I have in my notes that Isabella married in Fulton County in 1890, but to a Robert [could be nicknamd "Bert," I guess] HUBBARD, although I did not have a reference for this. According to the first of Ethel (PLESS) SMITH's letters, "an aunt" [may have been Isabella] and her [the aunt's] niece, Hattie BERRY, went to Atlanta and married 2 Jewish brothers. I have not been able to confirm any of this yet, except to find the following article which may be about Isabella. The young man's response doesn't sound hopeful!

The Constitution: Atlanta, GA, Monday 17 Feb 1890:

Somewhat Romantic
The Experience of Burt COFELD and His Sweetheart
Miss Bell PLESS, With the Assistance of Solicitor O’BRYAN, Secures COFELD’s Release in Order to Marry Him

Out of prison to marry.
Several weeks ago a young white man, named Burt COFELD, became involved in a cutting affray out in Brooklyn somewhere.
He was arrested, and for three weeks past has languished an impatient prisoner in Fulton-county jail. COFELD is almost a boy, with only the very earliest suggestions of a scraggy mustache adorning his upper lip. Before his trouble he worked at the HAIMAN plow factory.
But notwithstanding his youthful appearance, COFELD, when he went behind the bars of Fulton county jail, his troth had already been plighted, and the happy hour was to have been on the very next Saturday afternoon after his arrest.
Of course the prospective bride and groom were separated, and the wedding interfered with by the arrest. But every day Miss PLESS has called at the jail to cheer the man behind the bars.
This has been going on ever since the arrest, and it was expected that the wedding would come off last Saturday, but it was again postponed because COFELD could not secure his release.
But the pair was determined to wed--and wed on Saturday, too.
So several days ago Miss PLESS began trying to secure the release of her lover. She visited the courthouse frequently with her importunities, and finally Solicitor O’BRYAN agreed to release COFELD in time for his wedding Saturday, on the payment of the costs of the case.
A half dozen times Saturday morning Miss PLESS called at the courthouse to tell of her progress in raising the necessary funds. She was anxious lest something would occur to prevent the oft interrupted nuptials.
Finally, about noon COFELD was taken from the jail and carried before Judge VanEPPS, who read him a lecture, imposing a light fine in addition to the costs.
The meeting between the prisoner and his affianced, in whose pocket jingled the money to pay his fine, was at once laughable and pathetic. Quite a crowd of spectators were on hand to witness the ceremony. But they were disappointed.
There was not enough money to pay the fine and costs, and the pair was disconsolate.
“Do you really love him?” asked Solicitor Frank O’BRYAN, with an unusually merry twinkle in his eye.
“Y-yes, sir.”
“And you want to marry him right bad?”
“I want to marry him if he wants to marry me.” And the prospective bride jingled the silver dimes and dollars in her pocket.
“And do you want to marry Bell?” said the solicitor to the prisoner.
“Me--I guess so, sir.”
“Well, I’ll fix it up for you,” said the solicitor, and turning to the judge he said he would make up the balance himself.
The prisoner and his sweetheart were then taken into Solicitor O’BRYAN’s office, where the fine was paid and the young man discharged.
“Are you ready to be married now?” said the solicitor, when all had been arranged.
Miss PLESS looked at her lover. He kept twirling his hat between his fingers, without glancing up.
“Maybe--I--I guess he wants to go home and dud up first, Mr. O’BRYAN,” said Miss PLESS.
“All right; I guess that’s better,” said Solicitor O’BRYAN. “But before you go, Burt, I want to tell you that you ought to be mighty proud of Miss Bell when you marry. She’s worked hard to get you out of jail.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. O’BRYAN, but love goes a long ways.”
Then, after shaking the solicitor’s hand and thanking him, the two left the office, arm in arm, looking as cheerful and happy as you please, assuring him that the wedding would certainly take place without delay.
It doubtless did before Saturday’s sun went down.

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