Colorado Homestead Shivaree: A Real Party!

Folks on Colorado homestead celebrated weddings with something called a shivaree.

Content Tools

I remember that George and Grace Taft were married in the judge's chambers in Lamar, Colorado. There were no church weddings then for there was no church; there were no honeymoons for there was no money, but there would be a shivaree.

About two weeks after the wedding, men of the neighborhood passed the word: A shivaree at the Taft place, after the dance on Friday night.

George and Grace would be attending the dance, so the others would stay on after the Tafts had gone home and had time to be in bed asleep.

The crowd went to the bride and groom's farm with tin cans strung on wire, old tubs to beat on, cowbells-anything that would make noise. We approached the house yelling like Indians.

The Tafts asked us in. A chivaree for a newly married couple was not unexpected so the Tafts were prepared. They treated with candy, gum and cigars, and Grace put a two-gallon pot of water on the stove to boil so she could make coffee. The women had brought cakes and all would enjoy coffee and cake as the party went on. They played cards or dominoes and visited, a big party for both adults and children that lasted until one or two in the morning. 

Great fun! 

Mrs. Louella Canfield Perkins
Lamar, Colorado

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.