When the prompt for this week came up, my mind almost immediately went to this photo. Five young men standing outside a fair that apparently runs September 11-14th and may be a circus from the Barnum & Bailey sign in the background. The young man in the light colored hat, second from the right (including the lurker in the background by the door), I believe is my great grand uncle Harry Oscar Frederick “Fritz” Powis (b. 1 May 1903, Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 22 Jun 1972, Philipsburg, Centre, PA). The man standing to the left of Fritz, I think is either George Riley or Floyd Shank. I have another photo with two men in uniform, one of whom looks an awful lot like the gentleman in uniform here, but I don’t know who is who in the other photo! I hit two of the themes this week between posing and lurking, and how about the tie on the man on the far left! As far as a year for the photo, I’d guess somewhere around 1919 or so. I’m not sure at all who the other two young boys are or the man in the tie. Still, it’s a neat photo, even if it’s a bit faded and worn!
Tag: sepia saturday
Sepia Saturday 244: Itinerant Entertainers, Hurdy Gurdy Man, Unusual Pets, Monkeying Around
On The Left: My grandpa, Leon Kitko (b. 20 Mar 1933, PA, died 18 Jun 2011, Clearfield, PA), holding a rabbit. It’s a rare photo of him with a beard – he kept his face clean shaven nearly all of his life except for a brief period around 1954 where he shows up in a few photos with a beard. A rabbit really isn’t an unusual pet, but among the many photos of their pets, this is the only one that isn’t a cat or dog! I never heard stories about a rabbit from grandpa, but it’s clear he had one at some point!
On The Right: My grandma (step-grandma.. Leon’s second wife, not my biological grandmother, but I always knew her as grandma), Romayne (Greenaway) Kitko (b. 30 May 1936, PA, d. 7 Jan 2013, Clearfield, PA). She was quite the musician her whole life from piano to organ and even the accordion! This is a scan from a negative, so I don’t know when exactly this was taken, but I’d assume sometime in the 1950s. She’s sitting at the back of her childhood home at the well, perfectly posed and coiffed, playing on the accordian.
Short and sweet this week! It was nice to be able to include different photos from this set of grandparents who have both passed away. Having memories like this and photos from their younger years really helps keep the memory alive and I’m so glad I have a chance to share them with Sepia Saturday as well!
Sepia Saturday 243: Running away, Escaping the Crowds, Beaches, Steam Train, Aquarium
When I saw the prompt photo for this week’s Sepia Saturday, my mind immediately went to an old postcard in the collection because it had a very similar feel to it, even if the man in my photo isn’t running away. I’ve posted the front and back of the postcard which has a stamp, but no cancellation or message on the back of the postcard. I have to imagine that someone meant to send it, but never quite got around to it. The stamp is dated to 1954, which helps date the postcard as well. With a town name like, “Coalport,” in Pennsylvania, you can be sure that the main industry was coal. The majority of my family that comes from that area were coal miners. I posted another old photo of family members who were coal miners here, if you’re interested. Awful jobs, terrible conditions, and perhaps at times, they wanted to run away from it all. As far as the orientation of the photo, on the far left side of the photo, about dead center horizontally, there’s a church. The church is the one in the Google Street View just below the postcard. I know I’ve driven down that street before when out visiting family, so I’ll have to see if I can go back out and set up a photo similar to the postcard and do some comparison!
Sepia Saturday 242: Fans, Faces, National Costumes, Hidden Meanings
I really love it when a Sepia Saturday prompt really makes me think or leads me to a new discovery. In this case, it’s definitely a new discovery and the prompt helped me link up a few pieces of an old puzzle. In the trunk of photos from Grandpa’s house, there was a large-ish photo (about 8×10) of a native tribe’s band. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why my great-great grandmother would’ve had such a large photo of a band like this, and left the mystery behind since there were SO many more to work on. Here enters this week’s prompt where I nail two categories, National Costumes and Hidden Meanings. Below is a photo of the Ogonomowok (or Oconomowok, spelling is different from the drum to the banner) tribe band. It’s the only photo in my collection that really fit, so I figured I’d go with it, even if it was a mystery. I started zooming in on the faces, and poked around the newspaper archive to see what came up for the band. There’s an article from June 14, 1917 in the Altoona Tribune in Pennsylvania stating that the tribe band participated in a parade ending the Great Council of the “Improved Order of Red Men.” Great grand uncle Alfred Herbert Powis (b. 28 Oct 1892 in Blain City, Clearfield, PA; d. 6 Jul 1926, Clearfield, PA), affectionately referred to as “Herb,” was in a number of bands throughout his life, and the trunk had a bunch of photos of him posing with his trumpet. Looking closer at the photos, it looks like the man standing up, 5th in from the left, is Herb! I’ve added another photo in for comparison’s sake to see if you agree or not. In the other photo, he’s very clearly identified with an “X” over his head. The second image is dated as, “Herbert, 1918, overseas,” so it seems that these two were taken within a year or so of eachother.
As far as Hidden Meanings, Herb was 100% British, the first son born in America of two parents from England, so I was stumped as to why he was in a Native American costume. The band members do have different colored costumes, so I wondered if perhaps people with Native American heritage were in the darker uniforms, and ordinary band members were in the lighter uniforms, or if the band was just for fun and had little to do with the tribe other than the namesake. The Wikipedia article linked above though, clued me in that the organization was a fraternal society established to promote Liberty and defy the tyrrany of the English Crown, using rituals and regalia modeled after Native American tribes. In fact, Wikipedia goes on to point out, the organization was Whites Only until 1974! So, the “National Costume” is a “Hidden Meaning” in and of itself. Turns out the photo was absolutely nothing that I assumed it to be at first glance. I won’t get into how I feel about an organization of white men using Native American dress and terms to form a fraternal order – that’s something for another post.
In closing, I want to thank Sepia Saturday for challenging me to explore these old family photos and bringing about new discoveries!
Click either image to view the news clipping full size