This plain and simple gold wedding band belonged to Frances Virginia Anderson (1839-1913), who married Francis Whettenhall Rozer (1838-1928) in Rockville on September 19, 1860. The inside of the ring is inscribed, “God bless thee Jinnie.”

Wedding ring inscriptions were not uncommon in the mid 19th century.  According to the National Park Service, Mary Todd Lincoln’s ring (she married Abe in 1842) was inscribed “A.L. to Mary, Nov. 4, 1842. Love is Eternal.”  Historic New England has a nice online exhibit featuring many of the wedding rings in their collections, including a variety of inscriptions.

Coming back to our little (3/4 inch diameter) ring – Virginia was the daughter of James Wallace and Mary Minor Anderson of Rockville. The Andersons were a large local family, and various members served as lawyers, judges, doctors and military officers over the 18th-20th centuries. Thanks to donations from more recent members, we have a fairly large collection of artifacts, photos and archival documents related to the extended Anderson family (particularly those judges, doctors and officers mentioned above).

Alas, that collection contains very little information about Virginia or her husband. I have not found any photos of them, or their two children, Henrietta and Wallace; no descriptions of the ceremony have turned up in local newspapers; and the couple appears to have moved to D.C. sometime after the wedding, so we have no photos of their home. We do have photocopies of correspondence between her parents (James was living and working in Washington, while Mary stayed in Rockville), but Mr. Anderson’s handwriting was – frankly – atrocious, and the majority of the letters are not transcribed. A glance at the letters from the weeks surrounding the marriage found some references to Frank and, in late September, a passage from Mary to her husband asking him to write to the presumably just-wed Jinnie as soon as he can. . . but nothing that gave me any insight into the courtship and marriage, or even the personalities, of their daughter and son-in-law.  All we have for our – okay, my – imagination to work from is the sweet inscription in the ring.

On a slightly related note, however, the Anderson collection does contain a photocopy (also not yet transcribed) of a handwritten memoir by Richard M. Williams, who married Jinnie’s cousin Rose Anderson of Rockville in 1864. So rather than end on a “that’s all, folks” note – sorry, Jinnie and Frank – I’ll conclude today’s blog post with an excerpt from the Richard Williams’ work, referencing his first interactions with his future wife Rose:

“In short her ideas were so good, so liberal, and so well expressed, that she made upon me a most favorable impression, and I resolved if it was agreeable to her, to seek her company soon again.”