“You married for love, first and foremost,” Williamson said.
Williamson will also discuss the popular fads and styles of the 18th century that people relied on to seem more attractive to the opposite sex, as well as the different social gatherings where couples would meet, such as dances and sleigh parties. Williamson will also bring examples of the ways individuals showed the objects of their affections that they cared, including a handwritten Valentine featuring a personal poem, and a “confession” journal in which a person professed their romantic feelings and asked a love interest on a date.
He will also touch on some of the more interesting couples in Newburyport’s history, including the romance between John Quincy Adams and Mary Frazier, a Newburyport girl he met and courted while studying law in the city under Theophilus Parsons. Williamson will also share the story of two close friends, John Lowell and Jonathan Jackson, who swore never to marry and lived together in a bachelor pad on State Street.
Alas, love soon intervened, as the two men each met and married their first wives within a couple of years. Ultimately, Jackson married twice, and Lowell married three times.
The soundtrack for the evening will round out the fun as organizers play songs from duets who dated, such as Sonny and Cher, and Herb Alpert’s theme song for the old television show, “The Dating Game.”
While the evening will offer entertainment and an array of interesting tidbits, the audience will also leave with a little more knowledge of Newburyport’s history, Williamson said.
“They are all true stories,” Williamson said. “Everything will have historical relevance and fact behind it.”
IF YOU GO What: Valentine's Day dinner to benefit the Historical Society of Old Newbury When:Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color Sunday, 5:30 to 8 :30 p.m. Where: Ten Center Street, Newburyport How:Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color $55 per person (alcohol not included). Call 978-462-2681 to reserve a seat. Space is limited. For more information, visit www.NewburyHist.org.