Tallyho Riding: Courtship in the Late 1800’s.

Have you ever heard of Tallyho riding? No? Me neither. This little article in a rare copy of the Monroe Morning post, appeared in a 1929 issue. It had been clipped for the Special Collection transportation files several years ago. In the same file was a clipping of a photo from the Monroe Morning World which illustrates the article quite nicely. In fact, I wonder if the photo is the one the Morning Post article refers too?

Monroe Morning Post, July 7, 1929, Page 6

Former Monroe Belles Like to Recall

Pleasant Pastime Spent ‘Tallyho Riding’

Those were the Days

When Horses and Bug-

gies Were in Vogue

(By Eva Bradford)

            Stories of life as it was lived in former days in Monroe are most interesting if you can catch those who took a prominent part in the social and political life of the city, in reminiscent mood.  Of the children who grew up in this city it is really surprising how many still live here and recall the social splendors back in the not so far distant past.  DeSiard street is touched with a glamor, as it was then as now, the principal main street.

            On late summer afternoons, Mr. Maroney’s tallyho descended on the residential section and gathered up the reigning bells, Bernice Renwick, Alice Nelson, Boyce Sadler, Stella Reily, Verna Watts, Pauline Buchanan, the Hudson girls, the Broadway girls, Lily McLean.  Sometimes a dashing beaux seated himself on the fort seat and with reins in hand, guided the prancing steeds up to the door of his “lady love.”

            The last tallyho ride to be enjoyed by this crowd of young people was recalled a few days ago when engaged in conversation with one of the belles of the day.  This particular ride was given in honor of Stella Reily by an admiring swain.  He was the only gentleman on the party, but Miss Reily was permitted to ask her girl friends.  They posed for their photograph and in the early twilight (girls did not ride after dark then), the party drove up in style before the Palace of Sweets where they were served ice cream.

            Mounting to the top of the tallyho was really an art with long skirts, numerous petticoats and hats perched on the top of towering pompadours.

            Some of Monroe’s older matrons recall the days of bicycling in Monroe – this was never quite so popular as tallyho riding as cycling was a little strenuous for young ladies with eighteen-inch waists and then too, ankles were glimpsed – however, there are many in Monroe who ventured forth behind highhatted dates on bicycles built for two.

            Progressive euchres parties, germans and cotillions were the center of social interest.  The number of cotillion favors and dance programs with their dangling tasseled little pencils testified to the owner’s popularity.  Ever girl prized her cotillion favors – fans, Japanese parasols, jewel boxes with sea shells glued on the lid, leather pillow tops and artificial flowers.

            One of the greatest and rarest of pleasures were the parties in the “Crow’s Nest,” at the Layton place, and at the Stubbs’ place on Riverside.  Steps led up to the rendezvous in the spreading boughs of the giant oaks.  The crow’s net at the Stubbs’ place still remains – a silent reminder of those romantic days of old.

            Many were the gay parties under the sparkling chandeliers at Sycamore hall.  Parties at this hospitable home will linger forever in the minds of all who were guests there in the “gay nineties,” and in the years following.  White-coated servants passed among the guests with refreshments, and the inlaid, hardwood floors re-echoed hundreds of times to the dancing feet of boys and girls.

            The writer was fortunate in catching Judge Schulze in reminiscent mood yesterday.  He recalled happy days back in 1875 when the Fourth of July was observed with picnics at the old Pargoud place.  Surries, carriages and “rigs” filled with happy families left town in a cloud of dust trailed by the gallant young beaux of the village riding horseback.  Judge Schulze recalled vividly one occasion that almost ended in tragedy.

            Those were the days when saloons were on every corner and one gentleman, who like all the others “toted” a gun decided to put an end once and for all to his highness the mayor, Fred Endom.  Timely interference of the Ouachita firemen who sponsored the celebration, prevented the bullets from hitting their mark.  In town later the same gentleman came exceedingly boisterous in front of the leading hotel, the Hunsicker House, which stood on the site of the present Saenger theatre, resulting in his arrest.  The fine was exceedingly heavy – really terrific – one hundred dollars – to say nothing of the mortification and embarrassment to his family who resided nearby.

            On one memorable Fourth of July the side-wheeler “Sterling White” came down the Ouachita from Shreveport and all the beaux and belles enjoyed an excursion.  The boat pushed her way into her muddy berth at the head of DeSiard street and when the gang-plank was lowered all the belles and beaux of the town were there to enjoy the excursion – drifting home in the evening.

            Fourth of July observances later took on a political air and politicians for miles around congregated in Monroe.  Those who disagreed with the speaker usually settled their disputes with fistic fights.  Guns were whipped out but fatalities were always prevented by those who anticipated their intentions.  Hot southern blood – quick to take offense but just as quick to forgive.  All disturbances were settled amicably before departure and friendly enemies shook hands at parting.

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