While divorce has not always been as common as it has been in the last forty or fifty years, it was not as rare in the time period before that either.
Is it possible that your relative had a short term marriage that did not last? It could be that the oldest child was born to a previous spouse and adopted by the next one? It could be that a female relative was married for a year or so, was divorced and took back her maiden name. A man could have easily moved to the big city to look for work, found love, found that it didn’t go so well, and returned home a single man.
That deceased relative may have had a marriage before their “first” one at the age of twenty-six. Or…it could very well have been their first. Just remain open to the possibility that there may be some details that you have not yet discovered.