Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can you Identify These People?

Pictures, as they say, can say a thousand words. And old pictures can be fascinating from a variety of standpoints. Sometimes, it is just interesting to see family resemblances and how totally remarkable they can be, even throughout several generations. I think what I like best about family pictures is to see how the people dressed and wore their hair, both men and women. And did you ever wonder why so many photographs were made with relatives standing beside or on a horse, in front of the house or a barn, or beside a tractor or an automobile? It must have been because these things were such a vital part of living an agricultural-based life, and they were proud of these things. They worked very hard for what they had. Finally owning an automobile must have been like a dream come true, after they had walked, ridden a horse, or had driven a wagon or buggy everywhere they went.

My paternal grandmother, Lelia Porter Branch, left a wonderful album of photographs she collected throughout her lifetime. They span several generations of our family and are valuable records of what her life was like growing in Attala County, Mississippi. Included in the album were some photos and old picture postcards (postcards with “real photos” that could actually be mailed.) The problem is that I don’t know how the people in the photos and those pictured on the postcards are related to our family.

I thought I would post these pictures here and hope that someone who reads this may be able to identify the people in the pictures. Maybe someone will find a lost ancestor or maybe see a picture of an ancestor for the first time. I really hope so. I have included here a brief description of each picture, its markings, and any other significant information that I may know.

Three of the four pictures here are actually real “picture postcards.” One is of a couple, dressed in their best clothes, perhaps, identified in beautiful handwriting, written with a “fountain pen” having a fine point, as “Mr and Mrs Moreau, Clebourne, Texas.” Maybe one of these two people were related to Elizabeth Porter’s family in Texas, since Cleburne, Texas is where she went to live after James M. Porter’s death. I am not related to anyone that I know with the surname of Moreau.

Another second picture postcard contains the photograph of five men, dressed in their Sunday-best and wearing hats. It appears the men were photographed by a professional photographer. These names are written on the back of the postcard as they appear here: David Blair, Paytor (is almost illegible, so the spelling here is in question) Porter, Hall Hart, David Porter, and John Shearfield. It appears the postcard was never mailed, but it contains the handwritten phrase, “From Ellie to Vertie Helena, Ark” in the address portion of the card on the reverse side of the picture. There is no doubt in my mind the two Porter men are somehow related to my Porter family…I just don’t know how. I know that some of the Porter families did move to the Phillips County, Arkansas area after the Civil War, and US Highway 49, where it runs through Helena, Arkansas is also called "Porter Street." The other names surnames in the picture are unfamiliar.

Yet Another picture postcard is of a man in what looks to be a Marine uniform, possibly from World War I. He is wearing a fairly large cross, apparently some type of military medal. Some people who have seen this picture say the medal looks like a “Navy Cross.” The background of the picture appears to be the inside of a beautiful old building, with fine-looking wood and heavy draperies and could be somewhere in Europe. The postcard contains “Mrs J. J. Porter” in handwriting opposite the address area. Again, it appears the postcard was never mailed, unless it was included inside a letter. I suspect this picture may have been Maggy Porter’s only brother, Lewis Meriwether.

The fourth picture posted here is an actual photograph of three men and a mule or a small horse. The men's names are handwritten on the back of the picture: "Mr. Lominick, Dr. Williams, and Mr. Ray Hall. I would be delighted if someone responded to this post and told me they are related to one of the people in the pictures and they would like to have a copy. I really would like to give the very nice original picture of "Mr. and Mrs. Moreau" who lived in "Clebourne, Texas" at one time, to their descendants. But until that someone responds, the old photographs will remain exactly where they have been for a very long time........tucked away carefully in my grandmother's photo album.

1 comment:

  1. Janice, the Lominicks went to Missisppi from South Carolina in the 1850s. James Lominick was my 2nd great grandfather William Lominack's brother. This Lominick is likely one of his progeny. If I had an idea roughly when this photo was taken I might be able to narrow it down. Thanks. Steve Lominac