This was another tough theme for me – there are no ballet dancers or artful poses in my collection of family photos. This was the closest I could find to fit the theme, using the chiffon part. The image above is of an unknown woman named Ann. I have no other details about who she is and can’t seem to match her to any family member. I have a hunch that this might be Anna Plansky, Earl Powis’ first wife, but can’t be sure since there aren’t many photos of her in the collection to compare with. There’s no photographer studio listed on the photo and no other details to narrow down who she is, just a quick note, “With Love, Ann,” at the bottom of the cardboard photo holder. The shoes make me think this is somewhere in the 1920s (love those pretty t-strap shoes!). Going on the assumption that this might be Anna Plansky, she was 28 when she married Earl in 1920, which fits pretty well. Despite all my hunches there’s no way to prove the woman in the photo is or isn’t Anna Plansky! I have to admit that while I love going through these photos from the trunk of family pictures, it does sort of pain me a bit that we can’t connect a good number of them to anyone because there were no names/labels on the backs of the photos. I would LOVE to connect this photo to living descendants and share the find with them, but without names/labels, its really impossible.
This Sepia Saturday was a tough theme for me – Greetings and handshakes, pipes and politicians. In the hundreds upon hundreds of photos I have, I have none of politicians or handshakes/greetings. Not a single one! I did manage to find two with pipes though, so I’ll share those here especially since the one has intrigued me for a long time. I’m really trying to keep the Sepia Saturday posts about family photos, so here’s my best shot!
This photo came out of the Red Velvet Victorian Photo Album. It was on a page with a photo of what looks like a town street. There’s no photographer identification on the back or front, and both images are well faded which may make them earlier photos. I can date a number of the album photos to around 1880-1910 which helps a little with a date range. This cabinet card in particular is likely on the earlier spectrum because it’s on plain card (a hallmark of earlier photos), but the clothing and scene give us no good hints as to a date. I threw this into a genealogy discussion board at one point and folks in England said it may have been a Christmas play or pantomime or something along those lines. Everyone seems to be in costume, and there’s a gentleman standing to the far right who may be a director. The greenery around the building entrance is mostly dead which would make it fall or winter. My great-great grandmother came from Cornwall, so it’s likely this was from around that area. None of the people in the photo match any other photos in the album, so I doubt they’re related, but it’s still interesting, and my great-great grandmother saw it fit to include in the album so it has to be somewhat important. In fitting the theme, the seated gentleman in the fur coat is holding a wine glass and a pipe! If you happen to be able to identify what’s going on here, or where this may have been taken, please leave a comment!
Two photos of Great Grand Uncle Earl William Powis (b. 15 Oct 1896, Clearfield, PA – d. 26 Mar 1973, Polk, FL) and the ship he served on while in the Navy. Earl’s BIRLS Death File lists his service as between 14 May 1917 and 21 Aug 1919, pretty much just during World War I. I don’t have his complete service record, so I’m going off the photos which have pretty much helped tell me where he served. In the photo on the left, Earl is standing on the far left, with the watch cap. The back of the photo is on the bottom and says, “I was just going to the city when this was taken. And this is the way we work.” You can see some of the men have cigarettes, and there are even two guys with pipes, fitting us right into the theme. On the right is the USS Amphitrite which Earl labelled, “This is the ship I am on.” I can’t be 100% sure if the photo on the left was taken on the ship on the right, but it seems to be a pretty close match with the lines and rigging in the background. I found a bunch more photos of the ship and its history here. From what I’ve found, the Amphitrite served as a training vessel at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where Earl was stationed in September of 1917 based off another photo which was actually labelled with a date and location. It’s possible he moved onto another vessel and the photo was taken at a later date, but there are no labels to be sure either way. Still, this is another photo I love and I’m so glad I can fit it into this week’s theme!
This week’s Sepia Saturday is, “Reflections on Paddling in the Lake or Sea.” Part of me thought about using some of the houseboat and barge photos from my husband’s Dutch family, but that’s on canals and doesn’t quite fit the theme. I suppose I can save those for another week (they’re awesome photos, and I hope rivers/canals comes up as a theme!).
The photos I’ve got this week are somewhat more recent, but came out really lovely and share a neat snippet of my great grandmother’s life that I hadn’t known about before. She had a childhood friend, Mildred Witherow (b. 25 Dec 1906 in Pennsylvania, d. 12 Apr 1972 in Pontiac, Michigan), who moved out to Michigan from Pennsylvania at some point. I think my parents mentioned her visiting someone in the midwest, but they didn’t know who specifically. While scanning the trunk full of photos, I came across a set that were nicely labelled (it’s a rare thing to find a labelled photo in the trunk), with witty commentary and dates on the photos. I think it’s really sweet they kept in touch, visited eachother, and still had silly adventures. Mildred, affectionately called “Mid,” never married and my great grandma Olga (Powis) Kitko was married for a short while, but she spent most of her adult life as a single gal, raising her son amongst family.
I have absolutely no idea which lake this was, but I do know it was taken prior to September 1960 and somewhere around Pontiac, Michigan. There are SO MANY lakes around that area, it’s impossible for me to narrow down at all. The caption is exactly what great grandma wrote on the back of the photo in pencil (YAY PENCIL!).
Two lovely ladies on a pier! I am just in love with this photo and have a funny feeling that the “driver” may have taken the photo. But really, how great is this? Two childhood friends, in their late 50s, early 60s, in lovely summer dresses out for a day on the lake. The driver mentioned here is Mid’s brother, Alvin (b. 1 Jun 1914, d. 26 Mar 1989). The vacation seems to have been for a small family gathering too – the other photos in this set show a group of people sitting around a table for dinner.
Hmm, for a motor boat, that sure does look like a paddle, fitting us nicely into the theme for this week’s Sepia Saturday. Yeah, I know, he was probably using it to get into the dock safely since the water was maybe too shallow for the propeller. These photos aren’t necessarily sepia toned or super old, but the whole point of Sepia Saturday is that there are no rules and to share photos along with the story behind them, and I’ve always had a fondness for this set of images, so there they are!
BONUS IMAGE, because while it’s not a photo, it relates to the story here a little, showing the friendship these two had over the years. It’s a simple postcard, but these gals kept in touch for so long, and it’s so cute to see a postcard from Mid to Olga about daily life in Michigan. Post date is 26 Apr 1947, well before the images above, but helps to establish that these two were close friends their whole lives.
A fellow blogger contacted me about a few of the old images I’ve posted a while back. I started following his blog and found that he was posting these Sepia Saturday posts about old photographs. Well, I finally checked into what Sepia Saturday is, and decided to have a go at it! I’ve got PLENTY of old family photos and it will be fun to share a few here along with their history, maybe not every week, but as often as I can. The Sepia Saturday creator gives a few weeks out in advance, so I might actually be able to keep up. Today’s theme is weddings.
First up is I think the oldest wedding I have a photo of, that of my great-great grandmother and great-great grandfather, Jessie Battin and Alfred Powis. They were married 19 Feb 1891 in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, USA. They both came to PA from England and ended up staying in the same house their married lives. I haven’t been able to find out much about the photographer, but I was told that the skirt of her dress was green velvet which is a neat little detail and far from the traditional white wedding gown that’s typically worn today. Other neat things to note are the hole in Alfred’s shoe and his IOOF pin on his vest as well as the fact that his pants are some sort of plaid print while his jacket is pinstriped. That iconic mustache stayed with him his whole life and I don’t have a single photo of him with a clean shaven face.
Next up is Jessie’s sister, Mary Jane’s marriage to John Samuel Creber. Dave Creber provided a wonderful detail of the people in the photo, so I’m going to copy that in here. The couple eventually moved to Canada but Mary Jane kept in close contact with her sister still in England as well as the other two in Pennsylvania, USA. Many thanks to Dave Creber for helping to fill in these precious details!
Photo is wedding of John Samuel Creber and Mary Jane Battin (14 June 1898, St. Michael’s, Lawhitton, Cornwall, England). Others in the photo are (l to r): Kate Battin, Laura Rallison (Emma Emily Battin’s daughter), George Battin, John Samuel Creber, Mary Jane Battin, Bess Battin and Emily Creber (sister of John Samuel). Man sitting on the ground is Theophilus George Creber, brother of John Samuel Creber.
Here we have Bessie Melita Creber’s marriage to Alfred Norman Harris on 18 June 1927 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Bessie is a child of John Samuel Creber and Mary Jane Battin. In the photo, Bessie is standing between her father and her new husband with her brother Alfred on the far right, and her sister Mary Victoria third from the left. I’m not sure who the other two men are on the left nor do I know who the child is in the center. Interesting to see such a short dress, but elaborate bouquet and veil.
My final wedding photo is of Alfred George Battin Creber’s wedding to Ruby Winnifred Esther Watson on 27 Dec 1930 also in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The date explains the indoor photo, I guess. Alfred, as mentioned above, is Bessie Melita’s brother (both are my great grandmother’s cousins), and is in the back on the left. Ruby is front and center, but I don’t know who the other two ladies or the man on the right are. The indoor photo explains the slower shutter speed and motion blur, but you still get a pretty good idea about the flowers, dresses, and veils and hats. Those hats really are something spectacular.
I’m keeping my first Sepia Saturday short and sweet, since I really just wanted to share these neat photos and how they relate to one another. I just have SO many photos, and it’s almost a shame to keep these really incredible family photos all to myself. I’m hoping to continue posting with the weekly theme, and hey, maybe it will help me connect to living descendants of the people in these old photos.