Despite pledging to myself that this year I would stick to the main line of ancestors, I can never resist a mystery. And Lucy Sutherland presented a mystery.
In sorting through old photographs, I came across this pretty lady. On the back I saw it was photographed in Millersburg, Ohio, by a photographer who took many pictures of my other ancestors. The hand-written name below the photographer’s imprint on the back was Lucy Sutherland. At the top on the back someone had also written #4 Mrs. L. S. Fair,Clark.
Both of those surnames struck a chord. One of my father’s aunts, Emma Kaser married a Sutherland.( I found the story of Emma and George to be quite interesting. You can follow the link to her name if you’d like to read it.) And my mother’s half-sister, Rhema Anderson married a Fair. The Sutherlands, Fairs, and Kasers all lived near or in Clark, Ohio. So how come I didn’t know Lucy Sutherland? And was she born a Sutherland or did she marry one? And why would my mother or father have her photo in their collection?
What I Knew Or Learned
The carte de visite photo looks to have been taken in the 1870s, judging by the style of the photograph and by the style of her dress. I guessed her age as in her 20s or 30s.
I searched my family tree for Sutherlands, but Lucy was not there. So next I turned to Fairs. Since I had not added the family of my uncle (by marriage) Earl Fair, my tree was of no help, so I emailed a Fair cousin. He consulted with his sister, who did some research and came up with the fact that Lucy Sutherland married Phineas Franklin Fair, brother of Lyman S. Fair.
That solved the question of why Mrs. L. S. Fair’s name appears on the back of the picture, and firmly places the drama in Clark, Ohio.
P.F. Fair and Lucy were married on November 4 1879, so Lucy was unmarried when she had this picture made, but it is logical to assume that it was indeed taken in the 1870s. The two newlyweds were twenty-five years old according to their marriage license, so in the picture she was a bit younger than I had guessed–in her early twenties.
A little more digging, and some mysteries clear up, but as usual–new ones emerge.
Three Families Come to Clark, Ohio
In the 1820s, a young Joseph Kaser (III) arrived in Ohio with his parents. He married and had a large family including Emma Kaser (b. 1864) and Clifford Kaser (b. 1867).
In 1836, five-year-old Daniel Fair arrived in Ohio with his parents. He grew up and married and had several children including Phineas Franklin Fair (b. 1855) and Lyman S. Fair (B. 1866)
About 1864, the Daniel Sutherland Family, with nine-year-old Lucy Sutherland (B. 1855) and other children, including two-year-old George Sutherland (b. 1862) moved from Pennsylvania to a farm near Clark, Ohio (then called Bloomfield).
By 1879, when Lucy Sutherland married Phineas Franklin Fair they were both twenty-five years old.
In My Tree
The cast of characters as they show up in my family tree:
Clifford Kaser, My paternal grandfather.
Emma Kaser, My great-aunt, Clifford’s sister.
Lyman S. Fair, Father of my uncle by marriage, Earl Fair.
Phineas Franklin Fair, Uncle of my uncle by marriage, Earl Fair.
George Sutherland, husband of my great-aunt, Emma Kaser.
Which makes Lucy Sutherland, the lady in the picture, the sister of the husband of my great-aunt. AND the wife of the uncle of the husband of my aunt.
More Lucy Sutherland Mystery
The mystery of why my parents would have her photo remains unsolved.
And the fact that Phineas Franklin married a second time in 1903 adds piquancy to the story. Lucy pretty much seems to disappear from records after her one son is born in 1886. Find a Grave identifies a grave marker as hers and says she died in 1951 (age 96) but I can’t read the tombstone, so don’t currently have any more information from that. There also is a Lucy A. Fair on a property map of the area where P.F. Fair also has land, but most records refer to her as Lucy J.
I am going to leave it to the Fair family to sort this out if they choose, and go back to my direct line, now that I at least know my connection to the lady in the photo. Thanks for the entertaining distraction, Lucy, but I’m back in focus.