Marriage of Robert Green Ingersoll and Eva Parker

On this date, the day before Valentine’s Day in 1862, Robert Green Ingersoll and Eva Amelia Parker were married. Ingersoll, a Civil War officer, attorney and spell-binding orator, became the leading advocate of freethought in 19th-century America. The son of a minister credited his freethinking wife with his rejection of religion. Eva was the granddaughter of Sarah Buckman Parker, a noted infidel, and the daughter of firm rationalists. Robert was 29 and Eva was 21. “She is a good, natural, sweet woman. One that loves me and one that I love — that is enough,” he wrote at the time. In dedicating his first book, Some Mistakes of Moses, to her, he called Eva “a woman without superstition.” 

Ingersoll was famously devoted to his family. Rumor by critical religionists had it that Ingersoll’s son was a drunkard who frequently had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll’s famous response was: “It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!” The loving extended family household included daughters Maud and Eva, Eva’s husband, Ingersoll’s mother-in-law, his wife’s sister and husband, and their child. 

PHOTO: The orator with grandchildren Eva Ingersoll Wakefield and Robert G. Ingersoll Brown.

Freedom From Religion Foundation