Community Voices: Annual Bulloch Hall wedding is now a book

If you didn’t receive an invitation to the Dec. 21 wedding, don’t despair, call (770) 992-1731, ext. 2 and make reservations to attend one of the live presentations (adults $15, children $10).

I’d always rather read the book before seeing the movie or play, but in the case of the living history presentation of the wedding of Mittie Bulloch to Theodore Roosevelt, I wasn’t able to as the book had not yet come out. But that’s not the case this year.

“Mittie & Thee, An 1853 Roosevelt Romance,” was launched locally in October. It tells the love story of Martha “Mittie” Stewart Bulloch and Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt, through their correspondence during their long-distance courtship, engagement and culminating marriage at Bulloch Hall, her childhood home.

Mittie is lovely, petite, and vivacious, a true southern belle who may have been the inspiration for Scarlett O’Hara, and Thee is her worldly, wealthy and totally enamored suitor, Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt. With Thee in New York City and Mittie in Roswell, their letters to each other are their only communication between visits, and give us a peek into their lives, longings and love for each other in 1853.

Written by two ladies with local ties and a deep appreciation of historical accuracy, the collection of letters in the book bring to life the story of the romance and marriage of the parents of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

I recently met with Gwen Koehler, education director of Bulloch Hall and co-author of the book. She and her husband Arthur appear as Thee’s parents in the yearly presentation of Mittie and Thee’s 1853 wedding at Bulloch Hall. The presentation is 25 years along now, and no two shows are the same as the majority of the dialog is not scripted, but based on historically documented fact.

“The only written script comes from the actual wedding ceremony,” albeit an abbreviated version of the service, said Bill Cawthon, a self-proclaimed history buff and actor with the More or Less Players at the Roswell Adult Recreation Center. It’s given by the Presbyterian minister, the Rev. James Bulloch Dunwoody, as portrayed by Cawthon.

Aspiring actress Christine Barnes of Marietta, a Shorter University theatre major, says she loves the wedding re-enactment and has been involved since she was thirteen, playing many roles in the production, including a bridesmaid, an out of town guest, and most recently, the bride.

Paula Saunders, of Woodstock, plays Mittie’s cousin Amelia from Savannah, and said that the live presentation, “provides a wonderful depiction and high standard of historical interpretation,” as everything said is, “historically accurate and correct.”

Former and current docents round out the cast, with the bride and her bridesmaids learning to waltz, a dance considered risqué for the day.