I’ve been sharing mostly pictures of individuals here, with the exception of some group school pictures, and that great finger-lickin’ chicken eatin’ picture— but one family photo in particular is a real treasure. So many stories. The stories these people knew, the stories that were unfolding even as the itinerant photographer took their picture. And the stories they had not yet lived, but we can look at them from the future and see what was coming. (For specific identities of each person, see this Identification post.)
Twenty-eight family members–all gone now, some of whom died within a very few years of this picture being taken. Several things appeal to me about this photo. It was taken about 1909. My mother thought it was probably in May on my grandmother Vera Stout Anderson’s birthday, so it gives me an image of my mother and her parents’ early life.
The ages of the people in the family photo range from barely one-year-old (Herbert Guy Anderson, 1908-1963) held by my grandmother Vera in the center of the picture)—to 91 years old (Isabella McCabe Anderson 1818-1912). She is seated in the center in the large wicker chair, and forms the focus of this four-generation picture.
The names were written on the back of the family photo by my mother and her half sister Rhema Anderson Fair (both of them in the picture as little tykes). The sisters also made an audio tape talking about their recollections of the people in the picture, but, alas, that is lost. I keep hoping that one of the Fair clan will spot this website and write to tell me they have that audio tape. Here we have Rhema looking quite unhappy with the whole affair and Harriette sitting with her brother Bill on the lap of “Doc” Will Stout.
Mother (Harriette Anderson Kaser), in her 90s, reviewed the names and stories with me, filling in a lot of family history. As I research the ancestors in the picture, I keep running into little tidbits that mesh with the stories mother told us. For instance she talked about the wonderful apple orchids and other fruit trees on the farm she remembered seeing as a little girl. And sure enough, in a slightly later census, I run into a notation that Ben Anderson (Bernard Franklin Anderson), my “Daddy Guy’s brother is a fruit farmer!
The house in the picture, very recognizable, still stands on the same spot — a hill outside Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio.
Back in the nineties, when my mother talked to me about this picture, she pointed out the wide cement sidewalk in front that circled the house–a rarity at a farm house. She had a playhouse out back. She said the house had beautiful woodwork and a front and a back staircase (that one for maids). There was a large barn, “way off from the house”. Behind the house was a brick spring house where they kept food. The house sat on a hill with a beautiful view.
I will tell you the stories from time to time of the two childless sisters who were inseparable. Of the couple who raised his younger brother and then raised his two brother’s two children. Of the two brothers who married two sisters. Of the family members who were not in this picture. Of the men in the picture who went to war. And of course, of those who donned aprons–and what they cooked. Thanks to this family photo I feel I know them well.