Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday photo of children standing in a flooded street reminded me of a photo from my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan’s album. In both photos the light caught the small waves creating the look of broken glass.
However, I am not convinced that this woman was standing in water. Maybe it is only illusion created by the play of light and shadow. On the same page of the album is a companion photo. The man is clearly standing on rock. River rock. OK, so maybe the woman was indeed standing in the water nearby. But why? Why would someone do that?
But the more pressing issues for me are why Violetta took photos of these people in the first place and who they were to her.
They are identified simply as Mrs. Beavers and Mr. Beavers. That is not a name in our family tree. In setting about to solve this mini-mystery, I made several assumptions.
- They were likely neighbors or friends of the family.
- They were likely Violetta’s parents’ generation, not her friends since she called them “Mr.” and “Mrs.”
- They likely lived in Page County or Rockingham County.
- The photo was taken likely between 1919 and 1925.
The census records from 1910 through 1940 show that the Beaver-no S families of Page County lived in Luray or just outside Luray in the community of Marksville. In Rockingham, there were Beaver-no S families in the town of Broadway. I was disappointed not to find them in any area closer to Shenandoah, the town where Violetta and parents lived. More than disappointed, I am just confused about how the families would have known each other.
I checked my three copies of The School Ma’am, yearbooks from the Harrisonburg Teachers College where Violetta and her sister Velma attended, hoping maybe a Beaver daughter was a student there also. No such luck.
Since Luray is closer to Shenandoah than is Broadway, I decided to concentrate on just the Page County Beavers. I ruled out those who would have looked older than Mr. and Mrs. Beavers did in the 1920s. I also ruled out those who would have been close to Violetta’s age as surely she would not have called her contemporaries “Mr.” or “Mrs.” I was left with a handful of names but no answers.
My next stop was Find A Grave. There I found a photo of a man who just might be our “Mr. Beavers.”
What do you think? Could they be the same man? His birth year puts him in the correct generation (that is, IF my assumptions are correct).
There is also a photo of a young Mrs. Beaver, but it is impossible to determine how she would have aged.
I have contacted the woman who posted some photos of John and Emma Beaver on Ancestry to see if she will compare my photos to others she might have of her grandparents. Then I will know whether to pat myself on the back or return to wondering who this Mrs. Beavers was and why she was standing in water.
I encourage you to visit the others at Sepia Saturday and flood them with comments.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.