Sentimental Sunday: Not About to Let Her Get Away

Benita (McGinnis) McCormick (1889 – 1984)
Phillip C. McCormick (1892 – 1981)


Phil McCormick had found someone special in Benita McGinnis, and he was not about to let her get away.  
On June 20, 1921, he went downtown to a diamond importer, August Rassweiler, where he selected a diamond engagement and wedding ring for his intended bride.  He paid $271.00 dollars for the set, equivalent to about $3,200 today.  The couple would later playfully dub the venerable gem, nearly a carat in weight, “San Dimmo,” or Saint Diamond.


Receipt for the San Dimmo diamond engagement and wedding ring set, sold to Phillip Columbus McCormick on June 20, 1921. From Benita (McGinnis) McCormick’s scrapbook.

Either that day or shortly afterward, Phillip proposed to the 31-year-old Benita.  She gladly accepted.  Soon afterward, Phil invited Benita’s family to celebrate their engagement at their future residence at 1435 
Midway Plaisance, near the University of Chicago.  It was a happy occasion, as the photograph below shows the beaming McGinnises dressed in their best Sunday clothes. Though Benita’s brothers Gene and John are not in the picture, her maternal uncle and aunt, Thomas and Cora (Terrill) Gaffney and daughter (her cousin), Agnes, were there, along with her parents Thomas and Mary Jane, and her sister Alice.

Left to right, back row: Thomas Charles and Cora (Terrill) Gaffney, Phillip McCormick, Benita McGinnis, Alice McGinnis,; center row: Thomas and Mary Jane (Gaffney) McGinnis;  front row: Agnes Elizabeth Gaffney and unknown girl.  Circa late June 1921; taken in the back yard of the engaged couple’s home-to-be at 1435 Midway Plaisance, Chicago, Illinois.


Some four months later, Thomas and Mary Jane McGinnis proudly announced their daughter’s marriage to Phil McCormick on Monday, October 3, 1921, in Chicago: 
Announcement by Thomas and Mary Jane (Gaffney)
McGinnis to friends and family of the marriage of
their daughter, Benita, to Phillip McCormick.


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Eugene McGinnis
announce the marriage of their daughter
Benita Elizabeth
to Mr. Phillip C. McCormick
on Monday, October the third
One thousand nine hundred and twenty-one
Chicago, Illinois

At Home
after November the first
1435 Midway Plaisance

The happy couple:  Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Columbus McCormick,
on their wedding day, October 3, 1921, in front of the
bride’s family home, 8052 Vernon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.


Copyright ©  2014  Linda Huesca Tully

2 Thoughts to “Sentimental Sunday: Not About to Let Her Get Away

  1. Interesting that Benita saved and included the receipt for her ring in her scrapbook. She must have included a little of everything! Makes for some great research aids. Certainly helps tell the story, doesn't it?

    Too bad that young girl isn't identified. Surely she must be family–but who? Was anyone else at the gathering besides these family members in the photo?

  2. Yes, it does help, Jacque, and I'm grateful she saved so much. I'm also aware that saving things runs in our family, yours truly included, for better or worse!

    I do agree that the little girl in the first photo is probably family. If you look closely at the wedding day photo, the same girl seems to be in the background, playing with another girl. I wish I knew who else was there but imagine it was a large extended family affair.

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