First Aerial Wedding

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The first aerial wedding took place over Cincinnati, Ohio on October 19, 1874.

Hot-air balloon pilot Washington Harrison Donaldson took the bride, Elizabeth Walsh, the groom, Charles Colton, the minister, Howard B. Jeffries, and two witnesses airborne. The party lifted off from Cincinnati's Lincoln Park. The bride and groom were both employees of P.T. Barnum's Roman Hippodrome. They toured the United States of America, performing entertaining feats. This flight was not part of Barnum's show.

This flight illustrates the important role that Ohioans have played in aviation. With such important names as the Wright Brothers, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and numerous others, Ohioans have been at the forefront of aviation history, accomplishing numerous "firsts," even seemingly unimportant ones like the first aerial wedding.

See Also


  1. Crouch, Tom D. The Giant Leap: A Chronology of Ohio Aerospace Events and Personalities, 1815-1969. Columbus: The Ohio History Connection, 1971.