Happy 250th Wedding Anniversary to Elizabeth & Henry
On this day in 1772, at 9:00 p.m., Elizabeth Graeme and Henry Hugh Fergusson were married. The ceremony took place in the garden of Swedes’ Church (Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church) without the knowledge of Elizabeth’s father, Dr. Thomas Graeme. Elizabeth’s close friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush attended the wedding along with several other of her friends. It was said that after the ceremony Elizabeth stumbled and fell on a grave, and one of those in attendance remarked that it was an “ill omen for the future.”
Elizabeth met Henry on December 7, 1771 when Dr. Rush brought him to the Graeme home for one of Elizabeth’s literary gatherings. While Elizabeth was apparently attracted to him, and intellectually they appeared a good match, her writings indicate she had misgivings about his character, and Dr. Graeme did not consider him an appropriate suitor because he was 11 years younger and did not have money or property. Dr. Graeme would die several months later on the grounds of Graeme Park on the very day Elizabeth vowed to tell him of the marriage. Henry’s loyalty to the British during the Revolution would result in the confiscation of Graeme Park, and his leaving America, never to be reunited with Elizabeth. Ill-fated indeed.