Vannoy Family Portrait, circa 1914: Paul, Ivan, Janet. Photographer A.C. “Al” Eckerman in Centerville, Iowa
I have scanned a number of family photographs from the early 1900s recently. I paused over this one, and returned to gaze upon this scene, time after time. The baby of the trio, Paul, appears to have pulled the book, hard, his way, so that he can see what Ivan and Janet are smiling about. Click on the photograph, to the attachment, and take some time to enlarge this group shot. The children are not reading a book aloud, to keep Paul still. They are looking at a photograph of three children. I imagine Paul, clambering up on the table while yelling, “Let me see! Let me see!” When at last he sits still, photograph in hand, little Paul shrieks with delight. ”That’s ME!”
Then, in that moment of still recognition, Al Eckerman captured his subjects in this beautiful portrait.
Bedie Harrington Vannoy holding baby Paul, as yet unnamed at the time this photograph was taken in 1911.
Bedie Harrington Vannoy was the daughter of Sarah Minor Harrington McClure. Born in Greene County, Pennsylvania around 1880, Beatrice “Bedie” married John Vannoy in the early part of the 20th century and moved with him to Iowa, where he was a minister. Bedie kept close touch with her family back home, writing frequently, particularly to Donald Minor, her cousin, born in 1902.
As she had children, Bedie would write postcards to Donald and her grandfather, Francis Marion, who lived with Donald and his parents, Robert and May Minor. This photograph was one such card, and reads:
“Dear Grandpa, We are all well and enjoying a cool wave very much for it has been so awfle (sic) dry and hot here. This is our new baby. He has no name yet but weighs 16 lbs. He is awfle (sic) good and we think him fine. Janet and Ivon have grown so much this summer. I hope you are well and enjoying life every day. I often think of you. Lovingly your Granddaughter Bedie
If you are a descendant of John and Bedie Vannoy and would like copies of the family portraits within my family archives, please contact me!
dkaysdays at gmail dot com
Dear Cousin Donald, You ought to come and see our little baby. He is just fine. we have not named him yet. Mabey (sic) you can send him a name. How is “Great-Grandpa? We are all fine. Papa brought me football from Chicago. I wish I had a nice yard like you have to play in. It has just poured down all day so Janet and I have been in the house all day, and it is raining hard this evening. When are you all coming to see us? Mama said Helo (sic) to your Mama and wants to know how your papa is. Lovingly your cousin. Ivan Vannoy
In 1911, Donald Minor’s cousin, Bedie Harrington Vannoy, had her third child out in Iowa. The little boy was eventually named Paul, and returned with siblings Ivan and Janet to visit their grandmother, Sarah Minor Harrington McClure, and their great-grandpa, Francis Marion Minor, with whom Donald lived while his father convalesced from migraines in health resorts like the Markleton Sanitorium.
The Tama, Iowa photographer, C. W. Wright, printed the photograph of this six-year-old on postcard stock, and the note accompanied other mail delivered to Ceylon Lane, Garard’s Fort, Pennsylvania.
*Photograph restored using PicMonkey: http://www.picmonkey.com/
Donald Minor, putting his best foot forward for photographer T.W. Rogers of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania
Donald was the youngest of the youngest, born in 1902 to a family of Minors that spread through the hills of Greene County, Pennsylvania. The dark-haired toddler had a teenage sister, Helen, and cousins all busy with their high school work or farm chores or wedding plans. His father, Robert, was the youngest by ten years, and his elder siblings, John Pierson, Olfred and Sarah, all had nearly grown children by the time Donald came along. Baby of the baby of the family, Don was a cherished, doted upon child.
This Saturday’s sun tempted me outside, but the freezing temperatures chased me back indoors after a quick filling of bird feeders. I couldn’t let this gorgeous light go to waste, however. With the bright light filtering through my windows I placed my family heirloom on the dining room table and set my camera to capture these images.
The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the Original Tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, New York: American Bible Society, 1846.
Francis Marion Minor signed this Bible on the inside cover,”FM Minor, February the third, 1861.” The Bible was an 1846 copy of the American Bible Society’s translation of both Old and New Testaments, which served as both holy book and family record, as was the custom of the time. Between the Old and the New Testament, on yellowed pages, are entries made in a tidy, tiny hand. The document begins with the marriage of Francis and Mary Jane:
- Francis Marion Minor and Mary Jane Gwynn were married on the fourth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty one.
A page of family births follows, and includes the dates for Francis’ parents:
- John P Minor was born on the seventh day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred ninety one.
- Isabella McClelland the second wife of John P was born on the thirtieth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred ninety two.
- Francis Marion Minor was born on the twenty third of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty eight.
- Mary Jane Gwynn wife of Francis Marion was born on the ninth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty nine.
- John P Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the eighteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty two.
- Olfred Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty third of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty five.
- Sarah Priscilla Minor daughter of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty third of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty eight.
- Leroy Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred sixty two.
- Robert Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty ninth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred sixty nine.
The death record begins with Francis’ mother:
- Isabella Minor wife of John P Minor departed this life on August the fourteenth day one thousand eight hundred sixty three.
- Leroy Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor departed this life the fifteenth day of April one thousand eight hundred sixty four.
- John P Minor father of Francis Marion departed this life the twelf day one thousand eight hundred seventy four.
- Mary Jane Minor wife of FM Minor departed this life March 30 1908 Age 78 five months and 21 days.
What a treasure this book remains!