The Wedding That Never Was

It is week 23 in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. This week’s writing prompt is Wedding. For this week, instead of focusing on a wedding that was, I will discuss one that was not.

In 1874, George Augustus Layton (my 3rd great-uncle) was born in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey to parents Augustus Layton and Rebecca Ann Moore.

The town of Long Branch was settled in 1668 on land purchased from the Delaware Indians. Located on the “long branch” of the South Shrewsbury River. this town became a summer coastal resort in the 1780s. By the 1830s, gambling and horse racing brought increased tourists to Long Branch.

During the time of George’s birth, known as the Gilded Age (1870s and 1880s), Long Branch was frequented by many famous faces, including “Diamond Jim” Brady, Lillie Langtry, and Lillian Russell.

Long Branch was visited by presidents Chester A. Arthur, James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson, with Garfield, Grant, and Wilson spending summers here. Seven Presidents Park, a park near the beach, is named in honor of their visits. The Church of the Presidents, where all seven worshiped, is the only structure left in Long Branch associated with them.

On 2 July 1881, President Garfield was shot in Washington, DC, a spur line was laid from the Elberon Railway Station to the porch of Francklyn Cottage, where the president was taken to recover. Unfortunately, infection set in, and on 19 September 1991, two and a half months after the assassination attempt, President James A. Garfield passed away at his summer home. (George Augustus Layton was seven-years-old at the time.)

In 1895, fourteen years after Garfield’s untimely death, George Augustus Layton became engaged to Clara VanBrunt. The young couple planned to wed in early 1896. However, before the nuptials could take place, tragedy struck:

On 2 January 1896, Miss Clara VanBrunt, daughter of Benjamin VanBrunt, died in Long Branch. She had been sick only a week. She was to have been married in a short time to George Layton of Long Branch, and her wedding clothes were all made. She was buried on Sunday in her wedding dress.

Grief-stricken over the loss of his fiancée, George sank into depression and his health suffered. On 30 June 1898, George Augustus Layton passed away in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey:

George Layton, son of Augustus Layton of Long Branch, died of consumption last Thursday night. He was 24 years old.

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Everyday People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Post navigation

6 thoughts on “The Wedding That Never Was

  1. Such a sad story. George must have loved Clara very much, since he seems to have died from a broken heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Climbing My Family Tree

    Such a tragic story. Buried in her wedding dress. And her fiance dead so soon. Oh, dear. TY for keeping their story live for future generations to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As featured in the Heart of a Family Genealogy 5th Annual Genealogy Blog Potluck Picnic:


  4. Such a sad sad story. One of my ancestors, James Whysall, lost his first wife within months of the wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: *Press it* 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Wedding #138 | Its good to be crazy Sometimes

  6. Bummer. My 3rd great-grandmother also lost her fiancé to a sudden fever just before the wedding. Fortunately she went on to live to the ripe old age of 82. TB was such a scourge back then.

    Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Every Family has a story to tell..........Welcome to mine

The Handwritten Past

Tips, Stories, and Advice from Professional Genealogists

writing my past

in which I document my genealogical research adventures and explore the people and events from my family's history…

Deeper Roots Genealogy

~ Discovering Your Family's Past To Shape Your Future ~

The Wanderlust Genealogist

Bringing Your Past into Your Present!

Delving into the past

Here you shall find, my writings, about my family research, and general research into murders, and other people's ancestry, where I dig deep, and find all kinds of information about my family, whether it is good or bad, and my life itself in general, there are some sad, informative, facts here, which I hope, will get you guys blogging, so what are you waiting for? Get reading!

A Pennsylvania Dutch Genealogy

the genealogy & family research site of Kris Hocker

The Family Letter Blog

Connecting Generations

Discovering Yesterday

Preserving the history of ordinary people

Barb's GeNealogy Life

Combining two of my favorite addictive pastimes - family history and writing.

Skeletons In The Closet

The Writing Blog of P.D.Blake

Ascending the Stairs

Because each step tells another story of our ancestors

Our Lineage

Researching Family History One Ancestor at a Time - © 2012-2021 - Wendy Malinowski. All Rights Reserved

Past Presence

A site for genealogists and family historians

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Blog of Brass Oak Genealogy

The Family Kalamazoo

A genealogical site devoted to the history of the DeKorn and Zuidweg families of Kalamazoo and the Mulder family of Caledonia

From Shepherds and Shoemakers

Sharing musings, insights, resources and strategies as I discover my family history.

Its good to be crazy Sometimes

A view from the inside of going through the minefield of the British benefit system if you are disabled and the ups and downs of coping with mental illness


Words of wisdom, inspiration, feeling

Rants, Rambles, Revelations, Remembrances

Because the voice in my head won't stay silent...

Genealogy for Children

How to engage children in genealogy and family history

Brumley Family Branches

A Genealogy Blog


Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Kindred Stories

Everyone has a story


Where Distant Family Become Close

Jill's Garden

Garden of Life

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Gary A Wilson Stories

10 Minute Adventures, Fiction and Coffee Breaks

Shaking The Branches

Sharing Stories From My Family Tree

Decoding the Family Tree

solving family history one branch at a time.

Bespoke Genealogy

UK and Ireland: Genealogy, History and Travel

The Letters

Louise Mabey

From Ballachulish to South Mississippi

Mississippi family history letters

Writer Within

The Efforts of a Writer Trying to Write


Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Aquila's Place

An Eccentric Mix of Literature and Opinions

The Women Who Made Me

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary

F Yeah History

History...but better

Amanda Bradburn

Author | Editor | Genealogist | Bookstagrammer


Actor, Writer, and Embroidery Artist seeking beauty and humour.

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

Miner Descent

Tracing each branch back to their arrival in America

Empty Branches on the Family Tree

Genealogy Tips & Family History

%d bloggers like this: