I’ve just spent the better part of this morning down a rabbit hole of genealogy which I have to admit happens quite often. It all started out with a thought about sugaring. I figured I’d do a little research on what sugaring was like on Fort Pelham Farm in the mid to late 1800’s. I will still do that but that thought led me on a little adventure.
This photograph was taken in the late 1890’s to early 1900’s. I decided to try and figure out who the people in the photo were as best I could. I have a number of other photographs with the names of people on them so I figured I’d just have to do some comparisons and maybe I could have an idea of who each person was.
The man farthest to the left is most likely Henry Wright, the next older gentlemen is Edward Wright. The woman next holding the bucket is Charlotte Mills. I think the man kneeling down is Lucius Wright but I could be wrong on that one. The last one I know is Daisy who is second from the right.
In dating old photographs one of the clues is in the clothing they were wearing. Daisy’s jacket is really of early 1890’s vintage. The rest of their clothes could be anywhere from 1890 to 1910 so we can probably assume that residents of Rowe were not on the cutting edge of fashion. I figured I’d look at the marriage date for Henry and Daisy Wright since they are together on the farm during sugar season. January 1, 1903 they were married. Then it happened. I opened the 1900 census for Daisy Negus and find her living with her aunt and uncle as a servant. Hmmm, now how are J. Frank and Mary E. Brown related to her. I search their family trees to find that they lived in the house next door to Fort Pelham Farm and Mary was Daisy’s mother’s sister. In addition to finding out they were neighbors I read on to find out that J. Frank and Mary were killed in a railroad accident in Zoar on December 21, 1903. Wow.
None of this really had anything to do with my quest to identify people in the photograph but these little searches sometimes do enlighten you about circumstances that you may never have known about. Daisy was Wright’s neighbor for a number of years as she was listed as a servant for her aunt and uncle who rented out rooms next door in the census. She was born in Readsboro, VT so I often wondered how they came to know one another. Mystery solved. That left a lingering question for me – how did they all feel on that tragic day in December 1903? It’s something I can only imagine.