Gator Wrestling

Old photo, white border. Circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $5.00           Size:  2 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

The condition of this one is not great – with the crease on the bottom right and the image being pretty washed out, but it is one of a kind, and that’s always nice, since it was taken by an individual, rather than produced in numbers for the tourist trade. It shows a young man of the Seminole Nation, his legs on either side of a belly-up alligator, gator’s snout to young man’s chin; a line of spectators in the back; and another gator, under the palm tree. Enlarge the image (twice) for a better look.

See the links below for a few articles on the subject of alligator wrestling. And maybe you’ve had a similar experience so I’ll share something here:  Rarely have I felt so overwhelmed by a photo:

I’ve been wrestling (no pun intended) with finishing this post, having re-written it several times – and have come to the conclusion that this photo is “weighty” for me. For one thing, a doorway to history – flipping back thru time with the Seminole people – life before tourism, before the tragedy of the Glades being diminished, pride for the Seminoles to have never signed a “peace” treaty with the U.S. government…..And this photo’s era – Florida in the ’20’s and ’30’s being a particular draw for me – that déja vu feeling, with it’s invariable why?……And questions for the present and future, our planet and its welfare (anguish) gators and all, but also this particular gator and this particular wrestler – so, back to the moment when the photo was taken, and by the way, the feelings and impressions of those spectators…. Multiple pathways to travel down. Maybe I’ll be drawn back to it all later, when I’m older and hopefully, wiser.

Some related articles:

Fitzner, Zach. “Alligator wrestling in Florida may soon become a thing of the  past.” Earth.com, April 18, 2019. https://www.earth.com/news/alligator-wrestling-florida/ (accessed November 20, 2022).

Lipscomb, Jessica. “Study, Actually Alligator Wrestling Is Bad.” Miami New Times, November 24, 2020. https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/study-says-floridas-alligator-wrestling-attractions-are-harmful-11748501 (accessed November 20, 2022).

Oztaskin, Murat. “How Florida’s Seminole Tribe Transformed Alligator Wrestling Into A Symbol of Independence.” The New Yorker, January 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-documentary/how-floridas-seminole-tribe-transformed-alligator-wrestling-into-a-symbol-of-independence. (accessed November 20, 2022).

Mr. and Mrs. Biggs’ 60th Anniversary

Old photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1920s.

Price:  $5.00            Size:  3 x 5″

“Mr. and Mrs. Biggs already to take a ride on their 60th Wedding Anniversary.”

The condition is poor, as you can plainly see, but what a great photo – an adventurous couple, in probably their late 70’s or early 80’s, ready to mark the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary with a ride in a biplane.

Mrs. Levi Joshua Cheney, Dyesville, Ohio

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $15.00

This is Charity (Chase) Cheney, born June 1868 in Ohio. The date estimate for the postcard is due to its being a Divided Back card and having an AZO stamp box, all four triangles pointing upward. This would make Charity around age 39 – 50 when the photo was taken, and it may have been a special occasion for her, per the flower corsage she’s wearing. This shot has captured some years of hardship, worry and grief in her expression. (It’s not an easy life we came here to live, is it?) But she’s still lovely in the long white dress (love the double row of buttons) and with the small puffed shoulders and her jewelry – the heart, the short necklace, and the other accessories – wide black belt, oblong box-style purse (I’m picturing alligator), and possibly a flower in her hair. It’s hard to tell on that one, even when darkening the image in Photoshop, it’s not definite.

Thank you to the person that identified person with place on the back. We appreciate them whoever they were. Dyesville is located in Columbia Township, Meigs County, Ohio.

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Columbia, Meigs, Ohio; Roll: 1047; Page: 36D; Enumeration District: 104. (Ancestry.com).

Miss Ada Clarice Atkins

Old photo. Root Photography Studio, Chicago, Illinois. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $30.00              Size:  4 and 9/16 x 6 and 3/8″

A portrait in profile of a beautiful young woman. Note the intricate hairstyle, the lace dress with small decorative bows and the pearl-like choker necklace. Estimating that she was around age 19 to 27 in this photo.

On the reverse, a will of sorts……

“Ada Clarice Atkins born Kansas City, Missouri [photo by Root, Chicago]. Henry J. Atkins wills to the above named daughter all real estate free from any indeptedness. And personal property; of every description in his posession, with no incumbrance:  free from any claim, all real estate is held in joint tenacy or arranged for same. As also joint savings account in bank.   H. J. Atkins, Jan 23rd 1943. 1253 West 37th drive, Los Angeles, Califa.”

Would the above have held up in court since there is no witness signature? I’m not sure what the law in California was in 1943. And it’s unusual to find this type of paragraph on the back of a photo. Interestingly, (and thankfully) Henry J. Atkins lived well past 1943, passing away in 1959, at the age of 94.

Ada was born in November of 1888, the daughter of Henry Atkins and Louise M. Bleitz. (Date of birth is from Find A Grave, though the place of birth listed there for Ada is Illinois, which has to be is incorrect, since all of Ada’s census records indicate Missouri, and of course, the info on the back of the photo, written by her father, states Kansas City, Missouri.) Ada never married and lived at the family home of her parents. She was an accomplished vocalist as evidenced in the following article appearing in the Los Angeles Evening Express:

The difference between a coloratura and a soprano, from the Study.com website, is as follows:

“A soprano is a singer with a high vocal range, but does not necessarily possess the ability to sing fast notes and passages with agility and ease. A coloratura soprano is a specific type of voice that contains the skills and virtuosity to sing difficult, rapid runs, trills, and arpeggios with great vocal dexterity.”

Root photographers or Root Studio – The photographer may have been William J. Root, who was prominent in Chicago. See pages 693-4 on W. J. Root appearing in an 1894 publication about Industrial Chicago.

Sources:  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849154/ada-clarisse-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Ada Clarisse Atkins (9 Nov 1888–7 May 1974), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849154, citing Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511) .

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10849191/louise-m-atkins: accessed 03 October 2022), memorial page for Louise M. Bleitz Atkins (5 Mar 1865–23 Jan 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10849191, citing Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA; Maintained by GerbLady (contributor 46637511).

“Caruso Airs at Lincoln Park.”  Los Angeles Evening Express. August 6, 1921. Saturday, p. 2. (Newspapers.com).

Klein, Julianne. “Coloratura Soprano.” April 13, 2022. https://study.com/learn/lesson/coloratura-soprano-arias-technique.html (accessed October 3, 2022).

Industrial Chicago, Vol. 5. The Commercial Interests. (1894) “W. J. Root.” Chicago:  The Goodspeed Publishing Co. (Google Book search).

Boy Eating Watermelon

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $7.00

I was in mind to post this one in July for summertime and here it is almost October. So, before summer slips completely away this year, here it is. And laughing at my title now, does it remind you of “man-eating shark”? 🙂 Anyway, it’s a great shot, a little boy in shorts and an old straw hat, on his porch steps. Posed between two large watermelons, he’s holding up a large slice that has a big bite out of it. A woman, maybe his mom, half out of camera range, looks on.

I’ve got two whole watermelons in the pantry right now and another half in the fridge. (Yes, I know I am truly blessed.) Large mugs of blended watermelon are on the agenda for breakfast again. (Nirvana!) For the 411, health-wise, on watermelon and melons, in general, see the Medical Medium blog posts:  Watermelon and Healing Powers of Melon.

“Watermelon” and “Healing Powers of Melon”. medicalmedium.com. (Accessed September 24, 2022.)

The Falveys Get Back to the Country, 1929

Old photo, white border. Dated July, 1929.

Price:  $15.00            Size:  About 6 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/2″

Sláinte!………..Some glasses are raised in salute here – in celebration of something, maybe just in the happiness of getting back to the ranch.

The Falvey Family lived in San Francisco, but it seems likely they owned some property outside of the city. Indeed, a 1905 newspaper article in the San Francisco Chronicle, mentions the family,  “preparing to go into the country for the summer.”  

Falvey is an Irish surname, and one we hadn’t come across until now. From Wikipedia:

“Falvey is a surname which is an anglicisation of the name Ó Fáilbhe:  in the Irish language Ó means “descendant” [of] and “fáilbhe” literally means “lively, pleasant, sprightly, merry, cheerful” or, according to another historian, “joker”. Other anglicisations include O’Falvie, O’Falvy, O’Failie, O’Falvey, Falvey, Fealy and Fealey.”

From the photo:

Arthur Falvey, born February 17, 1877 in San Francisco, California.

Gertrude (Green) Falvey, born November 9, 1879 in California. Daughter of James Green and Annie Ryder, both born in Ireland.

Son, Jack Falvey, born September 29, 1913 in San Francisco.

Jamie(?) and Evelyn, surnames unknown.

Sources: Year: 1920; Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 27, San Francisco, California; Roll: T625_142; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 329.(Ancestry.com).

Year: 1930; Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0237; FHL microfilm: 2339938. (Ancestry.com).

California Birth Index, 1905-1995. (Ancestry.com).

San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985. Microfilm publication, 1129 rolls. Researchity. San Francisco, California. (Ancestry.com).

Falvey. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falvey. (accessed September 22, 2022).

“Jumps From Roof After A Robbery.” San Francisco Chronicle. Friday, April 21, 1905. p. 16.

Thelen, Kenkel, Goergen, Burdick, Wolf, Relatives & Friends, Iowa, Circa 1910

Divided Back, unused, cropped postcard. KRUXO Stamp Box. Circa 1910.

Price:  $20.00

What a great find for the families named above and the one unnamed young woman! (Someone knows, I’m sure.) The Thelen siblings appearing in this postcard are Josephine, Catherine, Gertrude, Mike and John – children of John (Johann) Thelan and Catherine Leick.

Left to right:  Katherine (Jonas) Nettleship, born 1888 Iowa. Married Arthur Cyril Nettleship about 1910. Kate was the daughter of Joseph Jonas and Maria “Gertrude” Thelen. Working as a domestic servant in 1910 in Stockton, CA. Single at that time.

Josephine “Jo” (Thelen) Kenkel, born 1887 Iowa. Married John Joseph Kenkel June, 1910.

Catherine (Thelen) Goergen, born 1882 Iowa. Married Matthias “Math” Goergen September 1908.

Gertrude (Thelen) Burdick, born 1880 Iowa. Married Charles Burdick May 1910.

Christine (Wolf) Thelen, born 1884 Iowa. Married Michael Thelen October 1908.

Unknown friend

Mike Thelen, born 1884 Iowa. Married Christina Wolf October 1908.

Math (Matthias) Goergen, born about 1879 Iowa. Married Catherine Thelen September 1908.

John Kenkel, born 1881 Iowa. Married Josephine “Jo” Thelen June 1910.

John M. Thelen, born 1888 Iowa. Married Eunice Davis December 1915.

Sources:  Ancestry.com Family Trees.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Baker, O´Brien, Iowa; Roll: 451; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1240451. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Nassau, Sioux, Iowa; Roll: T624_423; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0152; FHL microfilm: 1374436. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Stockton Ward 2, San Joaquin, California; Roll: T624_103; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0136; FHL microfilm: 1374116. (Ancestry.com).

Iowa Department of Public Health; Des Moines, Iowa; Series Title: Iowa Marriage Records, 1880–1922; Record Type: Marriage. (Ancestry.com).

Ruth Bower and Family, Pontiac, Michigan, Circa 1923

Old photo, white border. 92 Oak Hill St., Pontiac, Michigan. Circa 1923.

Price:  $15.00          Size:  3 and 7/16 x 5 and 9/16″

A lovely snap, half-posed, half-candid of family life in Pontiac, Michigan, about 1923……

The reverse shows:   “Oak Hill St, Grama & Grampa Bower, Ruth, Helen, Al.”

This will be a great photo addition for descendants of this particular Bower family. This snapshot was taken at 92 Oak Hill Street, Pontiac, Michigan, the house having been fairly recently built – in 1920 (according to Zillow.com).

Ruth Esther Bower (born 1905 in Detroit, MI) is the young lady smiling for the camera. She is the daughter of the older couple on the porch, who are Charles Bower (born 1856 in E. Hamburgh, NY) and Hannah Prudence (Allen) Bower (born 1867 in Avoca, St. Clair, MI). The two children are the couple’s grandchildren and Ruth’s niece and nephew. They are Helen Mae Bower (born 1914 in North Branch, MI) and Alvah B. Bower (born 1921 in Pontiac, MI). Helen and Alvah are the children of Henry Earl Bower and Minnie (Yerden) Bower, and this is their home at 92 Oak Hill, in Pontiac.

Sources:  “92 Oakhill St, Pontiac, MI 48342.” zillow.com. (Accessed September 20, 2022.)

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 108; Film Description: 1911 Washtenaw-1912 Barry.Find a Grave, database and images. (Ancestry.com).

(https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/37844263/hannah-prudence-bower: accessed 20 September 2022), memorial page for Hannah Prudence Allen Bower (3 May 1867–29 Jun 1929), Find a Grave Memorial ID 37844263, citing Perry Mount Park Cemetery, Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, USA; Maintained by SisterMaryLouise (contributor 46984885) .

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 177; Film Description: 1924 Monroe-1924 St Joseph. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records. (Ancestry.com).

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 175; Film Title: 63 Oakland 10110-13449; Film Description: Oakland (1933-1935). (Ancestry.com).

Vintage Tourist Attaction, Silver Dollar Saloon

Old photo, deckled edge, white border. Circa 1930 – 1940s. Left corner and partial side missing. 

Price:  $2.00        Size:  About 5 and 7/8 x 3 and 1/2″

This looks like it’s from one of those reenactment of the Old West type spots, or if not then just some other type of Western tourist attraction. (The backwards “N” in Saloon is a dead giveaway, right?) A few other similar views are showing up on eBay right now, but they have no i.d. for place either, though one has a date of 1959. Still, it’s a fun picture – there’s a lovely lady there, laughing and leaning on the hitching rail. (“Okay, pretend like you’ve had one too many. 😉 ) And, I like the old wooden….is that a U.S. Mail box? But hopefully one of our readers will know where this was taken!

Lillie Findahl, Sheridan, Wyoming

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box. Circa 1913 – 1917.

Price:  $15.00

Lillie May, daughter of John L. Findahl and Nancy A. Hammontree, was born December 8, 1897 in Sheridan, Wyoming. John was a native of Denmark and Nancy was from Tennessee. Lillie married Claude Olan Realing in 1918 and they had one child, their son Lyle, who was killed in action during WWII when his ship, the U.S.S. Indianapolis, was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Lillie was a lifelong Sheridan resident, and died in 1986. This postcard will be a great find for anyone researching the Findahl family.

Also of interest:  A movie was made in 2016 starring Nicholas Cage, based on the true story – U.S.S. Indianapolis:  Men of Courage.

Sources:  Ancestry.com. Web: Western States Marriage Index, 1809-2016 .

USS Indianapolis:  Men of Courage. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Indianapolis:_Men_of_Courage (accessed September 17, 2022).

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55435835/lyle-olan-realing: accessed 17 September 2022), memorial page for Lyle Olan Realing (1925–30 Jul 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 55435835, citing Sheridan Municipal Cemetery, Sheridan, Sheridan County, Wyoming, USA; Maintained by Marsha Hanson Dillon (contributor 46953066) .

“Lillie M. Realing.” The Billings Gazette obituaries. August 15, 1986, Friday, p. 12A.