The History: A Coweta love story about family, friends
By Emily Kimbell, Newnan-Coweta Historical Society
With candy hearts, valentines, and thoughts of love at every corner, the month of February can make the most doubtful of hearts feel the slightest bit romantic.
Even tales from history become stories of unrequited love, lovers distanced by war, or soulmates destined to be together. While the field of history does not prioritize the love story, it does capture the people who comprise them. Genealogical and ancestral research is dependent on marriage records and familial artifacts – remnants of these enduring narratives.
The Newnan-Coweta Historical Society has a publication that lists each Coweta County marriage from 1827 to 1979. While the names are well recorded, few descriptions of the couple’s lives and experiences enjoy the same documentation.
Descriptions that exist are few and far between, and primarily, weddings were the focus of such documentation. The equivalent of today’s social media posts, historic newspapers detailed wedding announcements, specifying the color of the bride’s dress and noting the number of guests in attendance.
In Coweta County, even fewer specific love stories of the past remain documented throughout time. Lasting narratives include that of William M. Reynolds and Elizabeth Camp, who, in 1863, were forbidden to marry because they were cousins, or Emmett Ray Lowe and Andrew Jackson Lowe, who narrowly escaped a Union invasion on their wedding day in 1865.
Sometimes the best love stories are not romantic in nature, however, but rather about family and friends. One such story is that of Edward Madison Storey and Orman Thomas Mortimer Nimmons. Storey and Nimmons were Coweta natives born in 1834 and 1827, respectively. The two grew up as childhood best friends, and eventually became family as brothers-in-law when they each married the other’s sister.
Storey and Nimmons went to fight for the Confederate army during the Civil War but both died as a result. After their deaths, the families commissioned portraits of the two best friends, and now, 150 years later, legend states that these two paintings must be hung together at all times – a symbol of the friends’ loyalty and companionship. Today, the portraits hang in the breakfast room at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, proving that love remains, even in death.
(Photos above: Orman Thomas Mortimer Nimmons (left) and Edward Madison Storey. Courtesy of the McRitchie-Hollis Museum).
Newnan-native, Emily Kimbell is the director of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society and McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Emily is currently finishing her doctoral studies at Georgia State University where she also teaches English Composition courses and is an active member of her community often seen on stage in local theatre productions and writing for local media outlets.