Tuesday, February 19, 2019

52 Ancestors - FAMILY PORTRAIT: The Whole Fam Damily

To the children and grandchildren of my 2X great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett, the Jollett Reunion was the most important event of the year. Not even the announcement that the war was over could divert attention away from preparations for the family gathering. The ever-anticipated annual event was held at the home of James Franklin and his second wife Eliza Jane near Harriston in Augusta County, Virginia, just outside the town limits.

Photos from the reunions suggest there were several traditions: a photo of James Franklin with his eight adult children, one with him and his children along with their spouses, a 4-generation photo, and finally a photo of everyone who attended that day.

Tradition 1 - James Franklin and Children

Jollett Reunion 1916 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Believed to be the first Reunion 1916
Standing: Burton Lewis, Victoria Breeden, Sally Clift,
Mary Frances Davis, Leanna Knight, Laura Sullivan, Emma Coleman
Seated: Eliza Jane, James Franklin, Ulysses
1921 or 1923 Jollett Reunion https://jollettetc.blogspot
1921 or 1923 Reunion
Standing: Ulysses Jollett, Laura Sullivan, Leanna Knight,
Mary Frances Davis, Sally Clift, Vic Breeden
Seated: Emma Coleman, James Franklin Jollett and wife Eliza Jane

Probably 1929 Jollett Reunion https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Probably 1929 - James Franklin's last reunion
Seated: James Franklin and Eliza Jane
Standing: Emma, Laura, Mary Frances,
Sally, Vic, Ulysses

Tradition 2 - James Franklin, Children, and Spouses

Jollett Reunion 1919 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Reunion 1919
Standing: Decatur and Vic Breeden, Jack and Emma Coleman,
Sally Clift, Laura Sullivan, James Franklin Jollett,
Mary Frances Davis, Eliza Jane Jollett, Walter Davis
Seated: Will Sullivan, Ulysses and Sadie Jollett

Jollett Reunion 1923 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Reunion 1921 or 1923
Standing: Laura Sullivan, Sadie and Ulysses Jollett, Leanna Knight, 
Mary Frances and Walter Davis, Sally Clift, Vic and Decatur 
Breeden, James Ira Sullivan (adopted)
Seated: Will Sullivan, Jack and Emma Coleman, James Franklin 
and Eliza Jane Jollett

Tradition 3 - Four Generations

4 Gen Jollett Reunion 1923 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Reunion 1921 or 1923
Standing: Minnie Coleman Maiden
Seated: Emma Coleman, James Franklin Jollett, Virginia Maiden

4 Gen Jollett Reunion 1925 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Reunion 1925
Standing: My grandfather Orvin Davis
Seated: Mary Frances Davis holding Orvin Jr,
James Franklin Jollett

Tradition 4 - The Whole Fam Damily 

Reunion 1921 or 1923 https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
1921 or 1923 Reunion - this is the photo in the blog header

This is the Family Portrait that hangs in my “gene cave,” the photo that inspired my mother to start her search for the Jollett family, which in turn inspired me to take up the cause as well.
Jollett Family Portrait https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
The Jolletts
Standing: Mary Frances Davis, Sally Clift, Vic Breeden, Leanna Knight
Seated: Emma Coleman, Ulysses Jollett, Laura Sullivan

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Wow, you are SO lucky to have so many family portraits! I might have to borrow your technique of using a table to list identifications by number. Thanks for the idea.

    1. So glad I have an idea for you for a change since I get so many from you.

  2. Good for them to have the foresight to realize how important family pictures are!

  3. This is so neat and what is really great about it is that you know a lot of the people's names on that big picture. That is pretty impressive!


    1. I surprised myself at how many I knew. I got a little help from a distant cousin who knew some of HIS side of the family on the back row.

  4. I had to look up Harriston in Augusta County as I had not heard of it. It isn't far from where my cousin lives now.

    1. If he/she lives in Grottoes, your cousin might know of the Jollett Springs trailer park. The roads in the park are called Jollett North and South. That's the property that used to belong to James Franklin Jollett way back when.

  5. It seems I say this often to you about your collection of family photos, "How fortunate you are to have them." And as Carol said, kudos to your picture taking ancestors. Thank you for the idea to frame the inspiration picture..I don't have a 'gene cave', but I do have the original photos of my great grandmother that turned me on to Genealogy and my Family Research.

    1. Well keep saying it to remind me to be grateful. Whenever I see people with cool stuff like letters and diaries and lots of formal portraits, I whine that I don't have any of that. Then I remind myself that I do have lots of pictures that others don't.

  6. I'd love to know who took that Whole Fam Damily photo - did they think ahead to hire a photographer? Not like today where someone can just whip out their phone. I'd love to know how you did that with the numbers on it.

    1. I always wonder the same thing - who was behind the camera??
      The picture thing is easy if you have Photoshop but I bet other photo editors will do the same thing. Just chose Enhance and then Adjust Lighting / Brightness and Contrast. I just lightened to the point that you can still see the picture. Then the numbers are just Text on top.

  7. Ditto all of the above!

  8. Love the photos! what an amazing collection, I envy you!

  9. Man, don't we all wish our families had been as smart as yours to take those types of group photos. Way to go James Franklin Jollett!