Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Opal Taylor, Gadsden, Alabama 1945

Sept. 9, 1945
Opal Taylor
Mouth open as usual

I picked this little snapshot from a drawer of many at an antique shop in Savannah, GA. The writing on the back is what caught my attention. "Mouth open as usual" sounds like the teasing of a friend- maybe she was known for being chatty? Or maybe Opal wrote this and she's poking a little fun at herself.

Opal Sue Taylor was born in Alabama in May 1922. She was one of Rev. Joseph Bradley and Mary Taylor's seven children. The first of the Taylor children, Malcolm Leon, died at five months. He was followed by Ruby, Opal, Daliah, James Preston, Bernice Louise, and Ralph. 

Opal married William T. Raley in December 1946. 

Opal's life was cut tragically short when she died in November 1947 at just 25. She was laid to rest in Black Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Etowah County, Alabama.

I wish I knew more about Opal than just these basic facts. What were her hobbies, her interests? Where did she go to school? Who were her friends?

If there is anyone who can tell us more about Opal, let us know in the comments!

Donnie Humphrey, Mineola, Texas 1910s

Donnie Humphrey
Age 4 Year
Mineola Tex.

This is a portrait of four-year-old Donnie Humphrey of Mineola, Texas. She looks pale and has large bags under her eyes— it makes me wonder if she had been recently ill. 

She was born Thenia Caldonia Humphrey (Donnie, or sometimes Thenie, for short) in 1911 to parents George and Hannah. In the 1920 census, George is listed as a laborer in a box factory. There were several Humphrey children, a few of whom did not survive to adulthood. 

In August 1928, when she was just 17, Donnie married Herbert Elbert Tatum. Four months later, Herbert died after a bout of influenza. Donnie was now not only a widow before her 18th birthday, but she was also pregnant. Her son, Herbert, was born in July 1929. 

In the 1930 census, Donnie is living with her parents and 14-year-old sister, Georgia. Both Donnie and her father are working in the box factory. 

Donnie married Alvin D. Swann of Smithville, Arkansas, in December 1930. The couple had two daughters together, Joan and Cora Colleen.

Alvin passed in 1965 at age 63. Donnie passed in Little Rock, Arkanas in 1976. She was 64.

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!

Monday, January 1, 2024

Jessie Park Barlow and Charles A. Park, Friend, Nebraska 1900s

Jessie Park (Barlow) 
Charles A. Park

According to the writing on the back, this cabinet card is a portrait of Jessie Park and her brother, Charles. They were two of Rufus and Martha Park's five children, which included Harvey, Charles, Susanna, Jessie, and Clyde. 

Charles Andrew Park was born in Illinois in August 1873. He became a missionary and later a minister for the First Christian Church. He married Lilly May Liebendorfer in 1899 and the two had four children: Dorothy, Charles, Stephen, and Genevieve. 

Jessie Margaret Park was born in either Kansas or Illinois on February 3rd, 1878. In 1907, at age 28, she married Moses Thorpe Barlow in Alexandria, Nebraska. The ceremony was conducted in the family home by her brother Charles. Moses was an officer in the army who had been living in the Philippines for the past eight years. For a period after their marriage, the couple lived together in the Phillippines. Their son, Erle, was born there in 1908. Upon their return to the United States, they settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where they would live for the rest of their lives.

Moses passed in 1934 at age 55. Jessie passed away in 1956 at the age of 77. They are buried together in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. 

If you know who these folks may be, let us know in the comments!

Friday, June 9, 2023

Louis Paulsen and the Citizens Band, Wheatfield, Indiana 1910

In March 1910, Louis Paulsen sent this Real Photo Postcard to his friend, Eulin E. Brown, in Cypress, Illinois. 

He writes to Eulin: 

"Dear friend Eulin,
How are you and 
family. Hope you are all well. We
are all O.K. here. 
Haven't heard from —
for some time.
— As ever,
— Louis Paulsen"

Louis adds: 

"You perhaps recognize some
familiar faces on the 
opposite side of this card."

The photo itself shows the Citizens Band of Wheatfield, Indiana, posing in front of a barber shop. Louis has helpfully marked hinself with an X. 

Louis Paulsen was born in Indiana in 1876. His parents, Hans and Carrie, were Norwegian immigrants who settled in Indiana to farm. They brought with them on their journey Hans' mother, Mary, and their daughter, Matilda. The rest of their children, including Louis, were born in the States. 

In 1900, Louis was living in Wheatfield with his aunt and uncle, Louis and Martha Gilbranson. His uncle ran a dry goods store and it looks as if Louis worked for him. His younger brother Henry, who was also living with them, is listed only as a student. 

In 1910, the year this photo was taken, Louis was 32 years old, married to Francis (neƩ Graves) and the father of two children, England and John. Also living with them was Francis' 17-year-old niece, Beulah Glasscoe, a daughter of her sister Katherine. When Louis wasn't participating in the town band (sadly, I can't quite make out what instrument he played) he served as postmaster.

By 1920, the Paulsens had left their home state and were residing in Harvey, Illinois. Here, Louis became the assistant manager at a bank. 
Tragedy struck in 1928 when Louis, his wife Francis, her sister Dora, and their father John were involved in a car accident. Though no one was injured in the initial collision, a bus driving through thick fog was unable to stop before hitting and killing both Francis and Dora. John was also seriously injured, but lived for four more months. Louis was the only survivor. 

In 1930, 51-year-old Louis was now listed as a widower. He continued to work at the bank and lived with his two sons, now in their early 20s, his 88-year-old mother, and his sister, Lillie. Lillie was, like Louis, widowed after the death of her husband George Brown in 1925. 

Louis Paulsen died December 1951 at age 75. 

I wish I knew more about the other men in this photo, about their band, and about Louis' time growing up and raising a family in Wheatfield. He must have been proud enough of their little band to share it with his friend. I wonder if he carried an appreciation of music through the rest of his life?

If you know who this may be (or any of these folks!) let us know in the comments. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Dwight and Mary Brackett, Bellevue, Michigan, 1860s

This double-sided photo is actually, I believe, a page from a carte-de-visite photo album that has been torn out. One side shows a woman with an infant, while the other shows a man. Below his photo, written in pencil, is "Dwight Brackitt + wife." There is not much information here and I figured out that the surname may not be "Brackitt" but rather the more common spelling of "Brackett." So who is this gentleman and his family?

The closest match I've found is a man named Irving Dwight Brackett, who was born on May 4th, 1839, in Bellevue, Michigan. He was just one of Martin and Mary Brackett's 10 children. The Bracketts were considered a distinguished, early settler family of Michigan. Martin Brackett, described in his obituary as "the man most prominent, all things considered, who lived and died in Bellevue," was an attorney, a county clerk, and ran for state senator and lieutenant governor (losing each time). Irving Dwight didn't quite follow in his father's footsteps, instead working as a clerk in a dry goods store until his marriage.

On May 14th, 1861, he married 16-year-old Mary Goss. Mary Aristeen Goss was born on a farm in Convis Township, Michigan, on May 11th, 1845. Her parents, William and Chloe Goss, were early Bellevue pioneers, just as the Bracketts were. Dwight and Mary settled at the Goss family farm, where Dwight took up farming. Along with his work in agriculture and livestock, Dwight would also go on to conduct a general merchandise business, serve two years as treasurer of Convis Township, one year as township clerk, and four years as justice of the peace, among other things. Like his father, he stayed active in his community. 

The Bracketts had three children together: Rubie, Mary, and Clara. Tragically, none of their children lived past infancy. This tells us that the child we see in the photo with Mary (if this is the same Mary Brackett) likely did not live long after this photo was taken. 

Irving Dwight Brackett died on December 15th, 1919, at the age of 80. Mary would live another 18 years until 1937 when she passed at the age of 92. At the time of her death, Mary was considered the oldest resident in Bellevue. 

Do you think these are the right Bracketts? If you know who they may be, let us know in the comments!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Kollman Family, Effingham County, Altamont, Illinois 1911

Susie Kollman writes to her parents, Andrew and Christina, in September 1911:

"Dear Papa and 
Mamma and
all. We are all well and
hope the same from
you it is pretty wet
out here now it is
a little to ??? to
plow and how is the 
wether out there. I have 
got about 100 ??? of 
peaches canned the
trees were so full
they broke but the peaches
did not get very big.
From, Susie"

Susie's father, Andrew Kollman, was born in Germany in 1848 and immigrated to the United States when he was 18. He married Christine Stroot in 1875 and the couple had nine children: Herman, Mary, Suzanna (or Susie), William, Anna, Joseph, Louis, Clara, and Elizabeth. The family lived for many years on a farm in Effingham County, Illinois, near the town of Altamont.

In 1903, Susie married William Schell, a baker. They had one son together, Arthur, but the marriage was short-lived and the couple eventually divorced.

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, Andrew and Christine moved to Fairdealing, Missouri. Herman, Louis, Anna, and Elizabeth joined them in Missouri, while Joseph and Susie stayed behind to run the farm. 

Susie was 29 when she sat to write this postcard to her parents in Missouri. Unfortunately, she didn't identify the people in the photograph, probably assuming her parents would recognize everyone. I would guess that the photo includes Joseph and Susie herself, as well as her son Arthur, who would be 5 or 6 when this was taken. It might also include her brother, William, her sister Mary, Mary's husband George, and their son William, who lived nearby. Her sister Clara, who worked as a maid for a nearby family, may be pictured as well. As for all of the unhappy-looking children, it's hard to say who they belong to. 

After Andrew's death in 1913, Christine and her children returned to Illinois to be with the rest of the family. They would lose another member of the family, Anna, in 1917. 

Susie lived in Effingham County, Illinois, with her family until her passing in 1931 at age 49. I wonder if the Kollman family farm is still in Effingham County and if they still grow peaches there. 

If you know who these folks may be, let us know in the comments!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

The McIntire Family, Corydon, Iowa 1890s-1900s

Top, Left to Right: Ella, Florence, Emma
Bottom, Left to Right: Walter, Laura, David

Around the turn of the century, the six McIntire siblings gathered for a portrait in their hometown of Corydon, Iowa. From here, their lives would lead them down different paths to marriage, divorce, children, and difficult times to come. 

Their father, Samuel McIntire was a farmer, born in Illinois around 1850. With his wife Sarah, he had two sons, David Clarence (born 1877) and James Walter (born 1878), followed by four daughters, Ella Mary (born 1880), Florence Nellie (born 1881), Emma Louisa (born 1884), and Laura (born 1888). After Sarah passed away in 1890, Samuel went on to marry Mary A. Richardson in 1895. Samuel passed away in 1907.

The eldest McIntire, David, made a living as a farmer, just as his father had. He married Florence Sutton in 1899. With her, he had two sons, Everett and Lloyd. In 1900, his sister Emma is also living with the family. David passed away in 1905 at just 28 years old. 

In 1900, the second McIntire son, Walter, is working as a farm laborer for the Cutler family in Union, Iowa. He would go on to farm his own land in Wayne County, Iowa. In 1909 he married teacher Grace Johnston. With her had four children: Verda, Twila, Leo, and Marvin, who died at just two days old. In 1922, Walter died of influenza at 44 years old. 

Ella McIntire married in 1897 to Charles Dorrah, a carpenter. The couple had eight children: Lennie, William, Walter, Ernest, Mabel, Robert, Everett, and Claude. They seemed to have moved often, first from Iowa to Kansas, then to Minnesota, where the family farmed. The Dorrahs would eventually return to Kansas, where Ella lived until her death in 1950 at 70 years old.

In 1900, Florence McIntire is living with her aunt and uncle, Thomas and Minerva Murphy, in Center, Iowa where she is attending school. In 1907 she married Benjamin Smith, a waiter, in Spokane, Washington. Florence would eventually divorce her husband and become a public health nurse. In 1930 she is living in Shelton, Washington as a lodger in the hotel of George Yamamoto and his wife, Shezuko. Florence worked as a nurse for 25 years before she passed away in Shelton in 1955 at 73 years old.

Emma McIntire married Thomas E. Lewis, a baggageman at a depot, in 1903. They had five children: Lawrence, Harold, Helen, Jack, and Raymond. Emma passed away in Los Angeles, California in 1962 at 78 years old.

The youngest McIntire, Laura, seems to have been raised separately from her siblings in the home of John Peter Sallman and his wife, Mary. Why exactly is unknown, though a note attached to her on Ancestry states that she "had a temper and was hard to get along with." I don't have any other details on Laura's early life. In 1919, she married Lewis B. Oakes, a carpenter, in Spokane, Washington. The couple would soon divorce. Laura took in lodgers at her home in Pasco, Washington in order to support herself. She continued to be a landlady until she passed away in Seattle in 1949 at 62 years old. 

If you know who any of these folks may be, let us know in the comments!