Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Include Only Some Children in Family Photos?

Wilson Taft "W.T." Pierce (1910-1983), on the left, and his brother Cecil Alvy Pierce (1907-1975) pose together in this studio photo from around 1920, judging by the ages they appear to be.

This tugboat backdrop appears in other Pierce photographs as well.

W.T. and Cecil were sons of  N.B. "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964) and Julia L. Moody (1886-1965)  of Wilmer, Ala.

Bonie and Julia had nine children, seven of them born before 1920.

Why would the couple choose to have a studio photo made of only two of their children? Perhaps it was a special occasion, such as a baptism.

Do you come from a large family? Did your parents have studio photos made of only some of their children at a time? Why?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do You Have a Brother or Sister You Were Close To?

Did you have a brother or sister who you were particularly close to? What made you close?

N.B. "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964), on the left above, appears to have been very close to his older brother Cornelius "Neal" Pierce (1874-?), on the right. The two were frequently photographed together.

The brothers may have been close because their mother died giving birth to Bonie. Their father eventually remarried, but family tradition holds that the step mother was harsh and unkind to the young Bonie.

Bonie grew up in Wilmer, Alabama, where he had many relatives, including his grandparents who he eventually moved in with in order to get better treatment.

The date of the photo above isn't known, but the men's attire can help date it. Bonie is wearing a sac suit, waistcoat, thin dark necktie, and high stiff collar. No wedding ring is visible, so this photo was taken before his marriage to Julia L. Moody in 1902.

Neal is also wearing a sac suit, waistcoat, white or light-colored bow tie, and a high stiff collar. There is a watch chain on his vest. Note his large mustache.

The best guess is that this photo was taken around 1900.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Time for Back-to-School Essay: 'What Did You Do Over the Summer?'

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer and time for schoolchildren to head back to the classroom. I remember returning to school and being assigned many essays to write "What I did over my summer vacation."

When I was a small child we often drove around the country to visit distant aunts and uncles and see the sights where they lived in Illinois, Ohio, New York and North Carolina. Long before Disney World was built, we drove to Florida tourist spots such as Silver Springs and to visit friends in other places in the Sunshine State. As I got older, we spent summers at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and invited the relatives and friends to visit us.

The two young girls above paused from their summer swimming at Miller's Park long enough to pose for this photo. The girl on the right is Jacqueline Gibson (1928-2003). Jackie, as she was always called, was the daughter of Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977) and Joseph Gibson (1890-1966).

The girl on the left is identified only by her last name of Hagen. The two girls must have been good friends because they are both wearing the same design of swimsuit.

Miller's Park in western Mobile, Alabama, was a popular swimming spot built by the Bienville Water Works. Behind the girls' legs can be seen the letters "ATE" in the word "WATER" of the company's name. Miller's Park was a wooded area with open spaces and picnic tables.

Today, this swim spot is on the property of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. It stopped being used for swimming about 40 years ago.

The girls above would no doubt have some good stories for their summer vacation stories. Their back-to-school essays and mine would make good family history records, had they been preserved.

Have you written about what you did over your summer vacations? Did you keep the essays?
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