Did Shotgun Weddings Really Happen?

It is true that some men need a little bit of convincing to marry a woman they got pregnant, but back then, did fathers really have to resort to extreme measures to ensure the wedding took place? Some believe the use of firearms is an exaggeration, but according to Word Histories, there were articles from publications that prove that shotguns really were brought to weddings.

An article from The Cincinnati Enquirer titled “Pistol Persuasion” dated April 15, 1872, detailed the shotgun wedding between William Fowble and Mary Olhausen. Fowble filed for divorce after saying that he was forced by Olhausen’s father and uncle to marry the woman. According to his account, the father and uncle fetched him from his home and threatened to shoot him if he refused to marry Olhausen. He only agreed as the muzzle of a gun was directed at him.

Another story, this time from The Telegraph dated August 21, 1883, recounted how a well-off farmer by the name of George Maynor gathered a few of his relatives to coerce a doctor named F.F. Roberts, who he believed seduced his daughter, to marry her. Maynor secured a marriage license and used shotguns and pistols to keep Roberts on his property. However, the doctor was able to leave, and it isn’t known whether the marriage took place.