Photo Op By The Lake

Vintage photo, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00       Size:  About 3 and 3/8 x 2″

Maybe Michigan, probably 1950s

An African-American family possibly taken in Michigan, where the photo was found. Were they on their way out to breakfast or church? Was the location a vacation spot for them or taken near home or were they visiting relatives? We’ll probably never know unless by some amazing serendipitous event someone’s browsing and happens to recognize these people. Not unheard of. I’ve been reading Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr.’s Psychic Roots, Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy.”  If you do family research, for example, chances are excellent that you can recount multiple instances of that feeling of “being led” to a spectacular find. Or, on the opposite side, if you sell or post family photos or other items you may have a story of someone walking into your store and finding their relatives’ “lost” family album, or seeing someone happen upon a postcard that they themselves had written and mailed fifty years ago. In our talks with sellers we’ve heard a surprising number of such accounts. The kind that make your hair stand up on the back of your neck (in a good way!). Here’s one from my family:

Serendipity in Montréal

Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago, I’ve forgotten by now, I was with some family members vacationing in Montréal. Sitting on the beds in the motel we were trying to figure out what to do for the day, looking at brochures. I was drawn to the one on the Pointe-à-Callière Museum and felt we “had to” go there, that it was important to go. In one of the exhibits we saw an artist’s rendition of a mother holding a child. Standing in front of this drawing I had a strong urging to take a photo. Immediately the thought came into my head,  “Why? It’s not like you’re related to her or anything.”  Ahhh, but as you’ve guessed 🙂 she (beautiful Charlotte, specifically Marie Charlotte Gloria dit Roch or DesRoches) turned out to be, not just any relative necessarily, but mine and my siblings’ 6th-great grandmother. (See Collections archéologiques for a photo of the handle of a tool? with Charlotte’s name carved on it. This was one of many artifacts that had been uncovered at the site of what is called “the birthplace of Montréal” and what later became the museum.) Now, at that point I hadn’t yet researched that particular line, and had never even come across her name. It was not till a few years later, while searching my Dufour side online, and “climbing the tree” by finding my direct ancestor Pierre Dufour that there, lo and behold, was his wife, Charlotte Roch. Wait, what??? (Jaw-dropping, falling out of chair.) Not the end of the story, though. For about a week after that, what seemed like every time I got into the car, I heard Chuck Berry’s, “You Never Can Tell” either just playing or as the next offering by the d.j. You know the lyrics, ♪ “It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well. You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle.” ♪ True, Pierre was not a teenager when they wed, and though Charlotte was, that was not unusual in the least at that time, but it was the true love part that seemed to be the point of what felt like a message bridging “time.” (What is time? 😉 ) Records show that Pierre and Charlotte had eleven kids and, of course, have many many descendants. Notable is the birthplace of their second child. Their first was born in Montréal, and the youngest nine in Detroit. But the baptismal record (all are in French) for their second child, Marie Charlotte Dufour, states she was born in the  “8yattenons.”  (French-Canadian priests sometimes wrote a number to denote a sound or abbreviate a word, for instance “7bre” for septembre, which by the way, can be confusing when reading the record, the digit 7 but the 9th month!) The appellation 8yattenons was used for Fort Ouiatenon. This has been verified in other unrelated records, and the fact that Pierre was a soldier when he and his young family left Montréal adds credibility to daughter Charlotte having been born at or near this fort. Well, this ended up to be a lengthy sidetrack off the subject of this post, that of the vintage photo from the 1950s, yikes! But definitely, if you’d like to share your own stories of the serendipity-amazing luck-small world type we’d love to hear them.

Back to the photo…..

Amazing how every photo transmits so much. An everyday moment maybe, but no less special, as when we look we see the smiles, and the grace and humor, maybe get a sense of the struggles, and yet the joy, in a backdrop, no, make that of a oneness with, a particular place and time, and somehow in total it all washes over us like a blessing…. No identifying info on the back, but maybe we’re looking at a photo of a husband and wife and mother or auntie or older sister of either? All three are very stylish. Love the striped tie on the gentleman. I think of him as Clarence (heehee, he’s likely laughing somewhere now). There’s the flashy belt the older woman wears that’s caught the lens light……there’s the very chic pose of the younger woman, and….her skirt. Check out the pattern on the fabric, a surprise and a delight:  Chickens!

For Nora From Jessie

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unused, circa 1910s.

Price:  $4.00

“Dear Nora. This was taken when I was at home. They aren’t very good but will send them any way, what did you do with you Kodack, don’t you take any more. Jessie”

Sounds like Jessie had more postcards or photos that she had sent to Nora, and funny, but oftentimes we see the sender leaving off question marks in their message. In this case, Nora was asking what Jessie had done with her Kodak camera, isn’t she taking any more photos? No last name or location for this image, but it’s so charming. Wintertime or maybe early spring on the farm:  Posing for the shot, three beautiful children, and a handsome young man, (who looks to be about sixteen, I thought, but click to enlarge, and you’ll notice it looks like he wears a wedding ring.)  I love it when everyone in a photo is looking in different directions.

Dual-Pitched Hipped Roof Craftsman

Divided back, unused Real Photo Postcard. CYKO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $10.00

A rare roof….

We’re not house experts here at LCG, but feel pretty confident we’ve got the right i.d. for this house style:  If all four sides of the roof slope downward toward the walls, that’s the definition of hipped. We can see that the front and sides do, and are having a difficult time imagining the back not doing the same, thusly 😉 we think hipped. And dual-pitched since the roof pitch changes, pretty dramatically so, in this case. (You might be reminded of the kids’ wooden building blocks where you can top off the structure with that triangular-shaped one.) Anyway, in our go-to reference, A Field Guide to American Houses, the dual-pitched hipped roof is stated as being rare. As for the Craftsman features, one of the most easily recognizable is the unenclosed eve overhang that lets us see part of the roof rafters.

As you’ve noted, there’s no writing on the back of the card to identify the nice family in the photo, or their location. They were the proud owners, no doubt, of this home that was probably new or new-ish when the photo was taken. The time-frame is about December 1907 due to the divided back, till the mid-1910s, or so, due to the clothing style and what looks like some evidence of button-top leather shoes, which were prevalent prior to WWI.

Source:  McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. 1984. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Print.

Roy Morrow And Family, Circa 1910s

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, circa 1907 – 1910s. CYKO stamp box.

Price:  $8.00

“With respect from Roy Morrow.  To James Gilmore, South Heights Pa.”

A nice family photo, we assume, of the Morrow Family, location unknown, maybe Pennsylvania or the neighboring Ohio.

House style I.D.

This wood structure home is in the Folk style called National, specifically known as an I-house, which was two rooms wide and one room deep. In this case a front porch was added on directly in the center. Note the detailing on the porch brackets. Also of note, the hand-hewn planks for the fence portion on our left. And, on the roof, there is what might be one long, horizontal snow break, unless maybe it was designed for footing, if someone was up on the roof making repairs.

Source:  McAlester, Virginia, and Lee McAlester. A Field Guide to American Houses. 1984. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. Print.

Arms Akimbo, Etc.

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Unknown manufacturer. Circa mid-to-late 1910s.

Price:  $7.00

This is a late post for Father’s Day (surely there is a dad in this photo). Late since I was out of town for a week, and just getting back to LCG this morning. And what to name this one? I was struck by the variety of poses in this group of five men and one small boy, posing for the camera on their (or somebody’s) front lawn. I love the formidable stance and gruff expression on the gentleman in the rear – with the overalls, the mustache and the arms akimbo. As for the time frame, one of the best clues for dating this image should turn out to be the vehicle in the background (cropped and inserted below). Is it an electric car or a delivery wagon minus the horse? Hmmm, really not sure, but help should be forthcoming.

Going back to the top image:  that particular style of hat for the young man on our left, too…a newsboy cap? Note his use of sleeve garters and the skinny tie. We can also see that the shade trees, at least on this side of the street, are maple. And last but not least, under one of these maples, stands a little girl wearing a big hair bow, looking on.

One final thought for now….I love the bird-like shadow that has graced this photo, highlighted below, with the big wing out-stretched and the tail feathers….like a hawk or a thunderbird…or even a dove….

 

Willie Moshier’s Postcard To Leone Olson

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked July 12, 1912, Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

Price:  $12.00

“Sauk Rapids. Dear Leon I have no Leon to play with we had a marry go round I had lots of rides wish Leon wood ben hear to ride with me by by Willie Moshier.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Leon Olson, Libby Mont.”

That must be Willie on the front steps of the cottage with his parents watching over him from inside the screened porch. From the 1920 Federal Census for Sauk Rapids, MN, Willie is William R. Moshier, born about 1907 in MN, son of George H., born in PA, and Minnie Moshier born in Germany. From the 1920 Federal Census for Libby, MT, Leone is Leone G. Olson, born in MN about 1909, the daughter of Len J., born in Sweden and Gertrude E. Olson, born in MN.

Sources:  Year: 1920; Census Place: Sauk Rapids, Benton, Minnesota; Roll: T625_824; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 91. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Libby, Lincoln, Montana; Roll: T625_972; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 128. (Ancestry.com).

The Taylor Family At Home, Endicott WA

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked July 20, 1908, Endicott, Washington. Photographer:  Hutchison, Endicott, Washington.

Price:  $15.00

“The old Lady is Mrs. Taylor. the Babe belongs to Fannie. I hope you are feeling better. Lovingly, Orpha.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. A. H. Anderson. Coeur d’ Alene Idaho.”

Figuring out who is who

Orpha, the postcard sender, is Mrs. Thomas F. Taylor, born in California, about 1866, to Edward Irwin and Leah Stark. She and Thomas (that’s likely him in the image above) married in Diamond, Washington (about 13 miles east of Endicott) on April 18, 1896 (it’s April 14th as I’m typing this…so almost 122 years ago.) Thomas, born in Illinois about 1872, was the son of William J. Taylor and Sarah Barnett. His occupation was farmer, at the time of his marriage to Orpha, and it’s possible that the farmhouse we see here is Tom (let’s just say Tom from here on out) and Orpha’s. They had a daughter, Frances, born January 1897, near Endicott, so her age would fit perfectly for the young girl standing on the porch. If she’s Frances, then the dark-haired woman in the photo is probably Orpha, since the girl resembles her so much, and because we see the photographer’s embossed stamp on the side of the card, so in other words, Orpha may have been in the photo, definitely not taking it. The older lady (let’s not say old!) on our left must be Tom’s mother, Sarah (Barnett) Taylor. Last, but not least, what was the babe’s name?

Orpheus C. Taylor on the 1910

An unusual female name, either way, Orpha or Orpheus, but the 1910 Federal Census shows Tom, Orpheus and Frances, living in Garfield, Washington, near the border of Idaho. Tom, at this time, is running his own blacksmith shop.

Who was Mrs. A. H. Anderson?

Possibly Jessie, maiden name Dobbins, that married Andrew H. Anderson. In 1910 the couple was living in Coeur d’ Alene with their daughter, Fern (or Sweet Fern, as she is officially named on one of her records. Love these names! And, we’ll add this post to our Unusual First Names category, on account of both Sweet Fern and Orpheus.)

Sources:  Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Collection Title: Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013; Reference Number: eawhmr350. (Ancestry.com).

Original data: Washington Births, 1891-1929. Various county birth registers. Microfilm. Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Precinct 42, Whitman, Washington; Roll: T624_1674; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0264; FHL microfilm: 1375687. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Sherman, Kootenai, Idaho; Roll: T624_225; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0173; FHL microfilm: 1374238. (Ancestry.com).

“Sweet Fern Cruze.” California, Death Index, 1940-1997. (Ancestry.com).

Dad And Kids, Darlington, Wisconsin

Cabinet Card, circa 1870s – 1880s. Photographer:  J. Polkinghorn, Darlington, Wisconsin.

Price:  $7.00

A Cabinet Card by photographer J. Polkinghorn in Darlington, Wisconsin of….surely this must be the dad in the photo with his young daughter and son. He wears no wedding ring, but perhaps there was none, or he was a widower. An interesting detail in this image is the man’s shoes which show dirt and general wear on the half over the toes, as if he was accustomed to wearing gaiters. No names for this family, unfortunately, but we hope they will be recognized by someone with Darlington or Lafayette County roots. The photographer’s backdrop is interesting, quite vague with that blank expanse in the middle and something tall and carved on our left, what it’s depicting is anyone’s guess, and then on our right a fancy, curved railing leading off to somewhere in our imaginations.

The photographer

Nothing definitive comes up for J. Polkinghorn but he could well be the John Polkinghorn born in England about 1857 who appears on various census record in Darlington, or Lafayette County. This person’s census records show no connection whatsoever to photography (dealer in musical instruments) but it still could be him, and likely, whoever he was, he would have listed himself in the city directories, but we’re not finding the city, or even the county records, online at this time.