Friday, November 2, 2012

Sepia Saturday: A hat for all ages

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt of a hurling team presented a real challenge for me since I have NO hurlers in the family, if you can believe that.  I did consider this photo of my grandfather’s cousins who appear ready to HURL themselves off the Skyline Drive to the valley below:

Davis cousins on the Skyline Drive
I don't know what year this was, but it must have been
in the early years of the Skyline Drive.  The overlook
appears not to be paved yet.


OK, so they don’t look like they’re in any hurry to jump.  I really just needed an excuse to use this picture!

Boys in Velma Davis Woodring's scrapbook 1925
I wish I knew who these 2
boys were.  It is dated 1925.
They were either cousins or
neighbors of the Davis family
in Shenandoah, Virginia.


The flat caps worn by the 1921 Leinster Senior Hurling team of the prompt photo caught my eye.  Many young boys of Page County, Virginia wore the flat cap in the 1920s, too.























Judging by my collection of old family photos, the flat cap was the signature accessory of several generations of Davis men.


Orvin Owen Davis about 1910
Orvin Davis, about 1910
My grandfather Orvin Owen Davis sported one as a child,


















and as a young man, probably a teenager,

Orvin Owen Davis
Dude with attitude

Orvin Owen Davis and Orvin Jr. 1927
Orvin Sr. and Jr. 1927

and as a young father.



His father and my great-grandfather Walter Beriah Sylvester Davis owned at least one such cap. Here he is swinging on the front porch of the Sears catalog Craftsman-style home that he built sometime in the early 1920s.  My aunt (widow of my uncle Orvin Jr.) still lives in that very house in Shenandoah, Virginia. 

Velma Davis and Walter Davis, Shenandoah, Virginia
My great-aunt Velma Davis (later Woodring)
about 1924.  Her dad is on the swing.


Walter Davis Shenandoah, VirginiaWalter wore a cap while driving a car; I wonder if he was wearing his flat cap while driving nails.










A day along the river in the spring of 1927 could find all three generations of Davis men in flat caps.  Here’s Walter with his first grandchild, my uncle Orvin Jr. who was wearing a flat cap just like the big boys.

Walter Davis and Orvin Davis Jr. 1927 Shenandoah, Virginia
Walter Davis and my uncle Orvin Jr.

And Granddaddy and Grandma with Orvin Jr.

Lucille and Orvin Davis and Orvin Jr. 1927 Shenandoah, Virginia
My grandparents Lucille
and Orvin Davis with
Orvin Jr. 1927

Lucille Rucker Davis and Orvin Davis Jr. 1927 Shenandoah, Virginia
Grandma's toes were gripping the ground
as hard as her fingers were gripping
Orvin Jr's strong little hand.

Walter Davis and Orvin Davis Jr. 1927 Shenandoah, Virginia
Walter clings to
his little grandson.














It seems Orvin Jr. was determined to hurl himself into the river!




Grab your hat and hurl yourself over to Sepia Saturday to see how others have been inspired by the hurling team of Kilkenny.


43 comments:

  1. Never having been on the Skyline Drive nor in the valley below, I would hope the slope is not too steep. Otherwise some of the spectators apparently like taking a risk! And so does Orvin Jr.

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    1. Oh, then you must schedule a visit. It's beautiful. In many places, you might just jump down to some rocks but if you were to keep rolling, you'd roll a long time to get to the bottom.

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  2. Great family photos, love the last one.

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    1. Me too. The ones with Orvin Jr. are glued fast to an old album, so I was pleased they scanned as well as they did.

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  3. What a great excuse to use such a great photo too. I especially like the lady on the right, with her expression of her hand on her hip, is priceless. All your photos are very interesting, and I sure can relate to trying to keep the little one from slipping away to danger! Great post- I still need to work on mine!

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    1. Little people can scare the daylights out of us, that's for sure.

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    2. Absolutely! I finally got mine in too! Seems the boys are out numbering the girls again in my post...but I'm trying to find more women to post too!

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  4. Orvin Jr. looks like a handful. ha

    I love the Skyline Drive! IT has beauty all around.

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    1. You said it. Orvin Jr. was a handful his entire life!

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  5. I see what you mean about us both wearing the same 'thinking cap' this week! This is a wonderful collection of caps, and just goes to show how smart they can actually look - on the right heads. Those last two action shots are priceless.

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    1. Now that you mention it, there are very few "action" shots in my aunts' albums - most are posed. Hmm. I wonder who the genius behind the camera was.

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  6. Nice tie in with "hurl", Wendy. Gave me a few giggles.

    There certainly were a plethora of caps in your family! My dad used to favour that sort of cap himself, and I like to wear a newsboy every so often too.

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    1. Glad you liked it. I must admit, the 2nd reference was a last minute bit of inspiration which made for a good ending, if I do say so myself, and I do.

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  7. These are all fun pictures. Especially "seeing" how the DNA flows through our family. Zoe and Jason Shifflett are represented!

    Grandma's legs never did change! LOL

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    1. Yeah, I had to go back and look, and you're right. Her legs looked like that even into her 80s.

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  8. A great collection. Caps like hats have a certain fashion meaning for the time. They (the universal them) say that after President Kennedy, hats became unfashionable. I wonder if there is a similar event or personage that drew a line for soft caps. When I went to England back in the 80s I learned that hats and caps have a class etiquette and should never be worn in the wrong place or by the wrong people.

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    1. I read that the flat cap was considered working class, so the well-to-do wouldn't wear one.

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  9. Oh, I loved your collections of hat pictures. We have a picture of my dad holding my son by the shirt at the beach. I have to go look, but my son might be wearing a cap in the picture. He loved looking at people in hats when he was really little. Always pointing and smiling.... then he became an adolescent fan of all sports and collected caps representing his numerous favorite teams. My - your post did get me going!

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  10. Orvin Jr. looks like he was pretty good at hurling himself into the water -- was this a lifelong passion? I bet his parents were exhausted by the time he was sent off to school!

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    1. Oh yeah -- Orvin Jr gave my grandmother a fit all the time but in that endearing way that made it hard to be mad. I guess he threw himself into water - he joined the Coast Guard. Close enough??

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  11. A nice collection of flat caps in your photos. Whenever I see a man wearing that kind of cap now, I think he is probably covering up a bald head.

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  12. I still have a flat cap but haven't worn it for years. The part of England where I live is well know for men in flat caps and is the home of the cartoon character 'Andy Capp.'

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    1. My dad always had one too. I didn't realize Andy Capp was connected to the flat cap. Very cool!

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  13. What a good jump from the women in line on the rocks to the caps...I have several ancestral photos with caps too but did not think that way. The last two photos with reflections in the water are my favorites of all these today.

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    1. Subject matter aside, they are interesting for the setting with water and skinny trees yet to bloom.

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  14. How much we are missing, fashion wise, without hats, both on men and women. But also hats kept people's heads a little cleaner...imagine the dust and smoke landing in the brilliantined hair. And there was only the Sat night bath for clean up if you were lucky. I can remember my old uncles removing their caps at the door, banging the on the baister or across a leg before coming in the house.

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    1. OK - that's a perspective I had not considered. And you're making me remember similar scenes of men dusting their hats at the door.

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  15. These are priceless photos Wendy! And Velma is joining in with the hat theme I notice. Though her hat isn't flat.

    And as someone who is very afraid of heights, I would NOT want to be one of those brave people on Skyline Drive in your first photo. Especially the ones standng on the rock wall!

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    1. I suspect that rock wall still had plenty of land on the other side that would catch you. It's not like the edge of the Grand Canyon.

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  16. I'd heard about the Shenandoah Valley, but I'd to google the Skyline Drive to see where it's located. I cannot imagine me standing on the rim, scary! Young kids playing near the waterfront is a scary situation too, I'm always glad when they're supervised.

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    1. The rim of the Skyline Drive is not like the rim of the Grand Canyon. If you jumped, you would land on ground almost immediately and roll awhile until a rock stopped you. As for water, that can be unforgiving, so I always want to see good parents around who are aware and cautious.

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  17. Ah, that little Orvine jr, so curious to explore the world!

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  18. What a nice collection of family photos, Wendy. I especially liked the one of little Orvin Jr. trying to get into the water.

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    1. I like those pictures too. Orvin Jr. was always a grown-up, my uncle. It's funny to me seeing him as a toddler. He certainly was cute.

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  19. Ah yes, I have photos of my grandfather wearing the same sort of cap. There is even a photo of him in grade school, which would have been around 1910 and here's wearing a cap and holding a baseball glove. Sadly I never really knew the man. However, I do have an old hat he wore that is probably from the 1940s. I wear it on hikes or my daily walk. I like knowing I'm wearing his hat even if it's now an antique. Oh wait, so am I.

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    1. Funny lady! I have my grandfather's hat too -- it's a sturdy straw hat. There's a picture of it from a blog I wrote last year: http://jollettetc.blogspot.com/2011/12/advent-calendar-christmas-happenings.html

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  20. They all look so jaunty in their hats! The interesting thing is that I have my grandfather's photo albums from his teenage years in the 1910s and there are very few caps and hats in the pictures.

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  21. My dad loved to wear a hat like that - I never knew it was called a flat cap!

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  22. What a great series!!
    I don't think I ever wore a flat cap, not sure,
    but definitely not as an adult as I never found them becoming
    with my features.
    I do like the "dude with attitude"!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  23. I just loved your segue from hurling the sport to hurling over a cliff! Really liked all the jaunty caps from the early 1900's - they made me realize I had originally planned to do a totally different post but forgot all about it. I have pictures of both of my grandfathers from around 1915 - 1920 wearing similar hats! Oh well, another day, another post.

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