I was talking with one of my sisters today about pictures.
Pictures of ourselves and pictures of our ancestors.
In this day of digital photography we can take as many photos of ourselves as we wish, and usually destroy more than we keep, we often forget that in the old days, if a photo was even taken, you had to deal with what you got.
I showed a picture of old Mrs. Howse in the story yesterday of my parents marriage. Here she is as a young mother about 18 years of age or so.
Her maiden name was Sarah Ellen Philips. Sarah was born 2 December 1878.Her father Lloyd Philips, died of an accidental shooting in May of 1881 at the age of 32.
Three months later a baby sister Lucy Philips was born.
Her mother Nancy Ann was 22 years of age. She had been married to Lloyd when she was almost 15.
When Sarah was four years old, her two older brothers, William, age 7 and Charles, age 5 years both died in August of 1882.
Her mother Nancy Ann was 23 years of age.
There is a possibility that Nancy Ann had a short-lived marriage around this time.
Nancy Ann did marry Nelson G. Hunn in January of 1882. They had 5 children together, one died at the age of 10 days. Nelson worked in the lumber business as did most of their friends.
Sarah Ellen was married off to a man when she was 16. That marriage did not last but a daughter was born to them. Her name was Annie and she lived to be 13 years of age.
Sarah Ellen married James Milton House in April of 1905 in Gaylord, Michigan. They had 6 children together and James brought 2 sons with him to the marriage.
Nancy’s husband Nelson Hunn died in July of 1908 in Traverse City, Michigan.
Nancy Ann then married Mr. Edward Bashaw in July of 1914. Nancy Ann was 24 years older than this husband.
Both Nancy Ann and her daughter Sarah Ellen were practicing Mid-Wives and very good at it from all reports. Both lived fairly austere lives. They did the best they could with what life handed them.
When I look at Sarah Ellens photo above, I see her kind eyes, I think of all the whispered stories of what she had to put up with and I have compassion and love for this woman I never met.
Because the youngest photo of Nancy Ann we have at this time is the one below, there have been times we wondered just what kind of woman she was. She looks old and rough around the edges in this photo. To tell the truth, some days I look in the mirror and see her face my own self.
But when I compare this photo to the one of her daughter at her 60th birthday party, I see a resemblance between this mother and daughter.
It reminds me of the words of a song by Mary Chapin-Carpenter:
“Raised by the women who were stronger than you know,
a patchwork quilt of mem’ries only women could have sewn.
The threads were stitched by family hands,
protected from the moth,
by your mother and her mother,
the weavers of your cloth.”
I hope they burn all my old bad pictures and save a younger one for my descendants, but if only some older, rougher version ends up surviving to tell of me,
I hope they realize I lived a hard life and struggled with children and problems left unsaid, and I too am a weaver of their cloth.