Romance Nearly Spoiled- Twice

By Stephen D. Bowling

May 20, 1911- An interesting story appeared on the pages of The Louisville Courier-Journal on this date in 1911. The brief article tells the story of two young lovers who had been thwarted once in Jackson in their attempt at marriage, only to have their hopes dashed by a nosy railway matron in Louisville. The article, which appeared on page 3 of The Louisville Courier-Journal on May 20, 1911, made it appear that there was no hope for the romance because of an unapproving father:

Romance Spoiled

Snowden Canter, of Estill county, and Miss Sallie Cornett, of Lost Creek, Breathitt County, arrived in this city this morning on their way to Cincinatti to get married, and while they were waiting in the depot here for the Cincinnati train the depot matron had the bride-to-be placed in detention.  It later developed that the girl was under age and was making her second attempt to get married.

The first attempt was at Jackson and the license was refused as the father had notified the County Clerk not to issue a license for the marriage of his daughter.  They left Lost Creek, Breathitt, Wednesday morning and after being refused license at Jackson went to the home of his brother between Athol and Oakdale and boarded the train Friday morning at Athol., having purchased tickets through Cincinnati. 

In truth, Sallie Theresa Cornett was young- born in 1894 she was only 17. Her beau, Snowden C. Canter, was born on Miller’s Creek of Estill County on February 17, 1885. He was 26 at the time of their trip to Louisville. The ending of the story is very different than the article would have readers believe.

The couple returned to Jackson on the train and arrived on May 22. Her father, Daniel B. Cornett, met them at the Depot in Jackson and reluctantly agree to let the couple marry. They walked from the Depot to the Courthouse and purchased, with Daniel Cornett’s permission, a marriage license from Breathitt County Court Clerk Alfred Russell.

Snowden C. Canter and Sarah Theresa “Sallie” Cornett were married in the dining room of the Thompson Hotel on Broadway on the afternoon of May 22, 1911, by G. C. Jett, Justice of the Peace. The witnesses were M. F. and Thomas J. Harris.

The Breathitt County Marriage License of Snowden and Sallie Canter

Sallie and her new husband, Snowden Canter, moved to Hazard and found work as a wagon driver delivering groceries. The couple and three children were living on Liberty Street (Avenue) when the census taker visited on January 5, 1920. “Cap” Canter and his family continued to live in Hazard but moved to various locations to Lyttle Boulevard and Beech Street. Sallie worked as a seamstress and took odd sewing jobs for some of the most prominent families in Perry County.

Snowden Canter died in Hazard on June 21, 1960, on Beech Street at the age of 75 after suffering more than two years with hypertension and senility. He was buried in the Callie Farler Cemetery at Fusonia. Sallie moved to Meigs County, Ohio to be with her family after Snowden’s death and she died there on January 19, 1983, having outlived her husband by 23 years.

Despite its rough start and its near early conclusion, Snowden and Sallie Canter stayed together. The couple had six children, five of which survived to adulthood. Not even her father or a nosy railroad station matron could stop true love. Her father and the matron’s efforts only seem to have delayed their love and may actually have brought the couple closer together.

© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
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