He was 70 years old, a lifelong bachelor. She, at age 50, had never been married.
He had been the first mayor of Chicago; she was the older sister of the first mayor of Elmira.
He was a very rich man; she had inherited $1 million upon the death of her father two years earlier.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, 1875, William Butler Ogden married his longtime friend Marianna Arnot. Another longtime friend of Ogden, Isaac Arnold, observed, “the only mistake about the marriage was that it did not take place twenty or thirty years earlier” (from “The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago: A Biography of William Butler Ogden”).
William died on Aug. 3, 1877. Marianna would remain a widow until her death on Sept. 28, 1904.
“The Chicago Tribune, reprinting an article from the Elmira, New York newspaper reported on the event (wedding): ‘No one was present but the immediate families of the parties concerned. Miss Arnot is the eldest daughter of the late John Arnot, of this city (Elmira), a man of great wealth and from whom she will inherit at least $1,000,000.’ The bride it said, ‘is a magnificent-looking lady, with a very handsome face and stately carriage, and by training and nature is fitted to adorn the highest station in life.’ The story concluded, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Ogden left for quite an extended Southern trip’” (from “Railroad Tycoon”).
William Ogden and Marianna’s father had been good friends. Both had been involved in mercantile, real estate, mining and railroad investments. The Arnots were frequent visitors at Ogden’s home in New York City, where Marianna would serve as hostess to his other guests.
A painting of Marianna Arnot.
Marianna was born in Elmira on April 10, 1825, the oldest of six children of John Arnot Sr. and Harriet Tuttle Arnot. According to her obituary in the Elmira Telegram on Oct. 2, 1904, “she grew into maidenhood, loved and respected for her kindly ways. She received her preliminary education in the village schools and attended at Albany a famous seminary conducted by Professor and Mme Mollinard. At the completion of her education she returned to her home in this city … she had always manifested a devout interest in Christianity and was known as an indefatigable worker in the church.”
William Butler Ogden was born June 15, 1805 in Walton, New York, in Delaware County. Isaac Arnold described his good friend as he appeared in the 1830’s: “You might look the country through and not find a man of more manly and imposing presence, or a finer looking gentleman … his voice clear, musical and sympathetic; his figure a little above the median height, and he united great muscular power with almost perfect symmetry of form. He was a natural leader, and if he had been one of a thousand picked men cast upon a desolate island, he would by common, universal, and instinctive selection, have been made their leader” (from “Railroad Tycoon”).
Ogden lost his father when he was 16. …….