Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sepia Saturday 191, 2013 August 24: Susan Ward Keyes or Just Unknown Woman #3, Tintype

A man and his sisters, his two wives, or is it one of each? Groups of three come to mind or how about gloves, shawls, bonnets or penetrating gazes!  O What shall it be.  Immediately I went to those hats.  I knew just the photo.  Alas, not the same hat a'tall.  Well, maybe the penetrating gaze?  No, not so much, more wistful or disdainful or both.  No gloves, but wait what about a shawl.  Well, it's not quite a shawl, but more of neck piece, a tie of sorts.

At this point, I dinna care.  I had made the decision of the photo  -- right at the start, not caring whether I could squeeze the round peg into a square hole or vice versa.  The truth be told, this picture has been haunting me for years, and she came to the forfront this past few weeks.  May I now present, my "Unknown Woman # 3, tintype."

Unknown Woman #3, tintype
circa 1877,  Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

I think I know this woman.  I want to know this woman.  I found the tintype photo in a group of similar tintype photographs of the David Keyes family, which were taken at the time of wedding of Margaret Delilah Keyes to Abiathar Barrett Newton, probably in the spring of 1877.  Margaret was the next to the youngest daughter of David L. Keyes and Susan Ward Keyes.   A well photographed time in their lives and the last time that all of the family would ever be together.

Now my problem is that I think that this may be a photograph of Susan Ward Keyes, which may be the only photo of my great-great-great grandmother Keyes, because within three or four years she and her youngest son were dead in an influenza epidemic.

So, let me show you some of the other photographs of the Keyes kin  taken at the time of Margaret's wedding. 
circa 1877, David Lowery Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archives
circa 1877, Margaret Delilah  Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

circa 1877, Jane Rebecca Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

circa 1877, James Edward Leonardis  Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

The above four tintypes were found in the same gutted photo albums as the "Unknown woman #3, tintype" at the beginning of the post. All except the tintype of James E. L. Keyes had a thin decorative cardboard matting. Also the tintype for James E. L.Keyes was more square than the other four tintypes. Below is a photo of all of the sons and daughters of David L. and Susan W. Keyes. The photograph was printed on very large and very heavy card stock  and was probably in a heavy frame.  The white scarves and ties were colored blue by someone along the line.

circa 1877, Son & daughters of David L. & Susan Ward Keyes
back row, l to r; Alexander Doran , James E. L. ,  & John Ward
front row, l to r; Margaret Delilah , Jane Rebecca,  & Orena Cordelia
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

Below are photos taken at the same time, but on card stock rather than tintype.

circa 1877, Wedding Photograph of
Abiathar Barrett Newton & Margaret Delilah  Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive
circa 1877, Alexander Doran Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive
circa 1877,Orena Cordelia  Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

circa 1877, John Ward  Keyes,
Corvallis, Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n'Leaves Archive

Now to the question, or the quandary, of is the Unknown Woman # 3, tintype Susan Jane Ward Keyes:
What I know,
1.  The rest of the family was well photographed at this event, so it seems that Susan Keyes too would have had her photgraph taken.
2. The proximity factor that all of the tintypes were found together -- but then there were also alot of loose photographs in the box.
3.  From all that I know about Susan Ward Keyes, she was a very proper, church going woman, who most likely would not have worn the more modern styles.
4. And grasping at straws, the scarf around her neck looks very much like the Keyes sisters scarves.
5.  There is a familiar look about her.  It seems that Jane Rebecca favors her in looks.

Hmm, not much there.  I'll put away my mallet for making square pegs fit in round holes, and see what other Sepians think about this Unknown Woman #3, tintype.

~ ~ 

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Enuff already. Now it is time to see what other Sepians have to offer in regard to threesomes, hats, penetrating gazes and other wondrous things.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sepia Saturday, 190; 2013 August 17th: Hats and Graduation for Keyes, Butler, and Johnson Families of Wheeler County

The prompt for this Sepia Saturday has a summer picnic feel to it, so Sepians might home in of teapots, primus stove, Chicken, a blanket on the grass, shy girls, or straw hats. 

 A memory of a photo of young girls in straw hats sent me delving into my files of photographs.  Sure enough, there they were --  sometimes shy or best friends forever or a bit flirty, saucy, and a tad mysterious.

1904 Graduation Photos, Walden School,
Richmond, Wheeler County, Oregon
I found the above set of photos, loose, in an old discarded album, while I was perusing family history with a niece  or cousin of some degree of these young ladies.  On the top row, the two girls are cousins, Echo Keyes, on the left, and Floy Johnson(on the right).  Echo is graduating from "grade school" and Floy,  a year or so older.  Floy's name was Florence, but at that time of her life everyone called her "Floy."  Their mothers,respectively, Sarah Ellen Brown Keyes and Mary E. (Molly) Brown Johnson, were sisters to my great grandmother Agnes Aurelia Brown Keyes.

Now my favorite part of this set of photos has the girls showing off their summer hats.  When there is a threesome,   Echo Keyes, always on the left,  and Floy on the right;  the young girl in the middle is Echo's older sister, Beth. The girls looked like they were having so much fun showing off the hats; the first frame, a bit coquettishe, the second frame is my favorite because I can imagine them sharing some secret, the third frame is "oh, so serious" young ladies, and the last frame again shows the cousins and friends for life, Echo and Floy - and their new hats.

NOTE: I believe that I have the names right, but if any family member has more information or confirmation, please contact me.
1904 Echo's graduation from Grade School
Echo Keyes on far left.
The above photo was taken at the same time as the first set of photos and establishes the date and event.  The end of the school year and graduation was ample reason to bring in the photographer to etch this time for posterity.

Echo, seated second from the left, was fourteen at this graduation from grade school, which probably meant from the eighth grade. Wheeler County's now nearly deserted town of Richmond, schooled all of the grade school children around Richmond.  The family names of the students included names rich in my family history; Brown, Butler, Donnelly,  Johnson, Keyes.

Yet, another photo of  the  graduates. This time, it's a family picture.  Echo Keyes is again on the far right of the back row; next to her is her cousin Pansy  Butler; next, her older sister Beth Keyes and on the left, Floy Johnson. The front row gentlemen are Echo's cousin Sam Butler, and brothers, Ray and Phil Keyes.  According to one of the family history keepers, not all of these young people went to Waldon.  Sam and Pansy Butler attended high school in Fossil, Oregon, which was 40 to 50 miles to the north.  Floy's family lived near Canyon City and she most likely went to school in Canyon City or John Day.  One thing is for sure, wherever they went to school, the young people were all dressed up for this set of graduation pictures.

I have always been curious about who was the photographer; a family member?  or perhaps an photographer from Fossil or Canyon City?  There were several other photos which had this same sort of "tacked-up" back drop and it seems likely that those photos were taken at the same time.  Whatever the manner, this graduation time of 1904 was well photographed in the rolling hills around the eastern Oregon settlements of Mitchell and Richmond -- at least for the Keyes, Johnson, and Butler families.

spring 1904, after graduation
back row, l to r: Echo Keyes, Pansy Butler, Beth Keyes, & Floy Johnson
front row, l to r: Sam Butler, Ray Keyes & Phil Keyes

The next  two photographs are of my grandmother, Agnes Laura Keyes, at the time of her graduation from high school in the Willamette Valley. She was sister to Echo, Beth, Ray and Phil of the previous photos, and of course, cousin to Pansy and Floy.

A teacher who boarded with the Keyes family convinced Agnes'  father to send her to school in the Willamette Valley.  When my grandmother would tell me about going to school in the "Valley," I never thought to ask her the name of the school.  Of course, I was only eleven when she died-- and it never occurred to me that she wouldn't always be there.

Although the Willamette Valley towns of Salem and Corvallis had more educational opportunities, both were still very provincial. Nevertheless, those few years at a "big city" school  were very important to Grandmother Agnes Laura. In later years, she would often read to me from her school elocution book and found a rapt listener to her theatrical readings.  I am sure that my mother did a few eye rolls as she was sure that I did not need any further encouragement towards drama and make-believe. Grandmother kept her elocution  book tucked safely away in the glass-fronted bookcase until she died.  I do wish I had that elocution book now.

Agnes Laura Keyes,  circa 1898
 after graduation in Salem, Oregon
Agnes Laura Keyes,  circa 1898
 after graduation in Salem, Oregon

The last two photographs are of our common ancestor -- our matriarch Sarah Almira (Duty) Brown.  She was grandmother to all of the graduates shown on this post, and my great-great grandmother.  She and her husband Jonathan Perry Brown followed the Oregon Trail to The Dalles in 1854, which meant that she walked most of the nearly two thousand miles from their home in Missouri to The Dalles in the Oregon country.   She was just twenty years old when she left Missouri, and had two daughters, Clementine and baby Elizabeth.  She couldn't read nor write when she made the trek west.  However over the years, with her husband's bible in hand, she taught herself to read and write. Quite a role model  for those fresh-faced graduates.

Sarah Almira (Duty) Brown
circa 1880, Wheeler County
"Grandma Brown", Aug 30, 1912
aka, Sarah Almira (Duty) Brown
at the Richmond home of her daughter,
Jessie (Brown) Butler

~ ~ 

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Hmmm, this post morphed from pretty girls and summer hats, to graduations, to a role model.  Well, go ahead and toodle on over to Sepia Saturday and see how their week's fare morphed

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sepia Saturday 189, 2013 August 10: What to Wear in that New-Fangled Contraption

"What's that contraption?"  as a prompt is a good one, however what took my eye was the way they couple was dressed.  In my great grandparent's day, one didn't venture forth to ride in those new-fangled contraptions in just any old clothes.  Such an outing was an event, and must be considered so.


Courtesy of  the JGH & Roots"n'Leaves Archives

Here you see members of my McPherson family on a family auto outing.  Based on the photo and the information in my Uncle Ralph's letters, it appears that this was a new car purchased by either Clare McPherson (back row, left) or Walter McPherson (who was most likely taking the photograph).  My great grandparents, James B and Libby,  never owned a car and depended upon their sons for automobile travel.  They were more comfortable with the horse-drawn wagon or surrey.

Bundled into the car were my great grandparents James B. and Libby McPherson, their son Walter and his wife Grace, sons Donald, Bud and Lyle;  and James and Libby's youngest  son  Clare.  Their destination was Monticello, Minnesota, to visit Aggie Fiske (the eldest daughter of James and Libby), her husband Clive and their family.  The trip would likely have taken a half a day or more from their home near Crow Wing Lake, which was about 150 miles north of Monticello.  They would have stayed at least overnight, and probably for a couple of days before heading home.

I would venture to say that the photo was taken as the Crow Wing Lake folks were preparing to return home because they look like rather neat and tidy which is not what one would expect after a 5 hour or so drive from their homes up north.  As you can see, the Fiske family's apparel is casual, everyday clothing, while those in the auto are neatly and stylishly dressed in warm clothes for the trip. Although Grace's attire is not visible, I am sure she was properly dressed for the occasion.    Most pictures of my great grandfather James B McPherson show him in bibbed overalls, so he too was well dressed for the occasion.

circa 1919, l to r: Clive Fiske, Olive Leone Fiske, Aggie (McPherson) Fiske,
and Henrietta Elizabeth (Libby) McPherson
Courtesy of  the JGH & Roots"n'Leaves Archives
The above picture appears to be taken after the first group photo, however, Libby, appears to be wearing a similar outfit for travel, which makes sense as they would have most likely taken the auto to visit her daughter Aggie and family.  Libby, as did most women when they rode in the automobile, most likely wore a grey scarf to hold her hat in place as well as protecting her from dust, dirt and grime.

According to all reports, Libby was a frugal woman who could squeeze a penny to make a nickel.  So I would guess that she made her driving outfit and took the pattern from a picture in a mail order catalog, such as the one below:

It looks to me like Libby patterned her outfit, with modifications, on the $4.35 number in the top row. Taffeta was one of the more popular fabrics used in this type of dress, and, to me, hers does look like taffeta.  Her daughter-in-law Grace was a fashion conscious woman and more than likely had a newly purchased driving suit.  In fact, Grace owned a stylish millenery store in Canada a few years before these pictures were taken.

The following  pictures  reminded me of how I imagined family visits in my great-great grandparent's time.  My McPhersons would travel the length and breadth of state after state to visit a relative and automobile travel made it much easier to travel great distances.
Courtesy of brtprojects.org
1920 Centerdoor SedanCourtesy of "The Henry Ford", 2006
I a particularly fond of the following picture.  These folks really knew how to dress for a drive through the countryside.
1920s An Outing in Hawaii
Courtesy of the State of Hawaii, Dept of Transportation

In my Uncle Ralph's description of preparing for the 1922 trek from Minnesota to California, he told how their family tied all of their belongings on the sides, back, and on top of the car, as well as some necessary extras wired under the car.  That was in addition to whatever they could carry inside the car  -- along with two adults, seven children and a dog.  So this family in Hawaii may have only been packing for a weekend or so.
A Hawaiian Outing
Courtesy of the State of Hawaii, Dept of Transportation

The next four pictures were taken in about 1927 just after my grandparents made their second trip out to California in just four years.  During that short interval of time, automobile travel had changed and for my McPhersons,  automobile travel wasn't so much of a social event as a necessary way of travel. The first picture shows my grandparents, Jabez and Elizabeth McPherson, and their younger daughters Verna and Betty.  From the ages of the girls, I would guess that the year was about 1927 and  their baby sister, Olive, is napping in the car.  Based on the family members involved, it appears the photo was taken in or around Calipatria.
1927 Car Gathering
Jabez & Elizabeth McPherson, daughters Verna & Betty;
sitting on the fender is older daughter Margie and her
first husband Cate Watts and an unknown couple on
the bumper of the third car.
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n;Leaves Archives

circa 1926, My Aunt Helen, at age 12 or so
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n;Leaves Archives
circa 1929, Olive and Betty on running board,
most likely taken when
my grandparents lived in Oregon
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n;Leaves Archives

Circa 1926,  Grandparents Jabez and Elizabeth
with daughters Betty and Olive when
they lived in Calipatria
Courtesy of JGH & Roots'n;Leaves Archives

This last picture has nothing to do with my McPherson family, but reminds me of an often told story of my grandfather Frank Sigford.  He was never very comfortable with the automobile, but once the automobile became popular he always had a car.  One of my strongest memories of him was sitting at the driving wheel of his car with his pipe clenched tightly between his teeth and his hands as tightly clenched on the wheel. Anyhow, the story goes like this:  Klamath county roads in the winter and spring looked very much like this picture, but my grandfather insisted on driving his car.  One day he got seriously stuck in the mud.  My grandmother flung a coat over her house dress and apron, went to the barn and harnessed up the horse.  She proceeded to drag my grandfather and his car to solid ground.  She then took the horse to the barn, unharnessed him, and returned to the kitchen to finish whatever she had been doing. Just part of her day. The only thing missing from this picture is my grandmother and her harnessed horse.  By the way, she NEVER learned to drive an automobile, though all of her children took their turn at trying to teach her to drive.
Courtesy of the Model T Collection

~ ~ 

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

After my slight digression from the "contraptions,"  take a look to see what other  Sepians had to offer.