Vol. 14


Wedding on the Pitcher’s Mound

c. 1928–1940; Stokes County, North Carolina, USA

In 1928 Ernest Rogers, my great-great-grandfather, became a widower. He was a fifty-one-year-old farmer with eight children, and he had no clue how to cook. After a couple of years of struggling to keep up with all of his children, he decided it was time to find a new wife, who he hoped would be an excellent cook.

During that time he had gotten to know Columbus Green Hall, a fellow worker at the sawmill. Hall was the father of six children, and the oldest one, Annie Hall, was twenty-two and worked as a cook at Ernest’s kids’ school. Ernest had known Columbus and Annie for a while, since they went to the same church, and so he properly courted1 Annie.

One day Ernest traveled to the Halls’ family home to get permission to marry his newfound love — Miss Annie Hall. As he had hoped, Columbus gave Ernest a yes. Ernest immediately went to Annie and asked her to marry him. Annie said yes, and they were off — they were off to get married at the local church.

They arrived at the church, thinking that the preacher would be there. But the preacher was not there! He was at a baseball game, acting as an umpire. Annie and Ernest were determined to get married that day.

The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Rogers traveled to the Little League baseball game miles from the church, looking for the preacher. After they arrived, they got the preacher’s attention, and he stopped the game. He asked the couple if they wanted to be married, and they said yes.

The preacher gestured for Annie and Ernest to come to the pitcher’s mound. They exchanged vows and rings on the pitcher’s mound — right in front of the crowd. Everyone cheered, and Annie and Earnest were married! Even though they were newlyweds and were to go on a honeymoon, they stayed and watched the end of the baseball game.


Six years passed, and Annie and Ernest had six children (one child per year). Three months after the sixth child was born, Ernest died suddenly of a heart attack while working in a cornfield with three of their children. And so Annie became a widow at just twenty-eight years old, and she was mother to fourteen children in a three-bedroom house. How amazing is that! Most of Ernest’s children were already grown and living adult, happy lives, but Annie’s youngest children needed her.

Every Sunday night all of the children would come together and eat a good meal for dinner. On the third Sunday of the month, instead of eating dinner at Annie’s, they would go to the local church and take their meal there for all to eat.

Annie and Ernest had fourteen children, and one of those children is my great-grandma, Betty Ruth. She is still living today and was able to share this story with me. She is the best grandma and cook I have ever known!

Caroline Hort; North Carolina, USA


1. To court a woman is to spend time with her so that the couple can get to know one another and can decide whether they want to marry.



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