William Edgar Oakley married Jessie Fannie Johnson on December 24, 1916 in Surry County, N. C.
In July of that year, they had survived the worst flood in western North Carolina history. Ed, a widower with a small daughter, had his entire house swept away by rising water. Fannie, on the opposite side of the river, (probably the Ararat, a tributary of the Yadkin) didn’t know their fate until days later, when the rain stopped and the water receded enough for people to cross the river and check on their neighbors and family.
I don’t know if this photograph was taken before or after the flood, but the tree behind them is in full leaf, so it must have been in advance of their Christmas Eve wedding, which took place at the home of Baptist minister J. R. Cruise in Mt. Airy.