Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Day's Work

Although my brother has worked in box factories for most of his adult life, I don't have a single photo of him or anyone else at the factory nor of the factory itself. It is probably just as well because the photo would not have been sepia and I would not have felt right submitting it for this week's Sepia Saturday challenge.

I scoured my vintage photos and found not one of a box factory nor of boxes. I did find many women in dangerously long skirts, but none of them were working. I was left with women in short skirts working and men at work but not working.

The photo above has an inscription on the back: "Dad [Henderson Hessick] when he worked for Huffmans." Henderson is my grandfather-in-law. He is the second man from the left, or the man standing on the left. We don't know who the Huffmans were or what he did for them, but whatever it was it must have involved using a pickaxe.

The above photo is my other grandfather-in-law. It, too, has an inscription but it simply says "Claude P. [Parker]". There are no clues of what the short building behind him may be or why he is standing in front of it. But he looks very proud in this photo and we do know that he was very handy with wood, so perhaps he was rebuilding this place. Could it be his first home? We may never know, but will continue to question.

This photo is one of my favorites. The little girl is my mother when she was 4 years old and the woman behind her is her grandmother. This is her first train ride, it was going from Chicago to North Brook. Great-Grama wrote"...and did we have fun. You bet. She enjoyed getting drinking water on train and a great kick out of the toilet." While neither Mom nor Great-Grama are working, the conductor that is helping Mom down is. And he is doing a fine job of it, too.

The above photo is Great-Grama again nearly 30 years later. It looks like she is preparing to enter a motel room. No, she is not working...the lady in the background appears to be a maid and she is working.

This is me mowing my grandparents' lawn. I was not paid for this hard labor, probably because my grandparents did not wish to be arrested for violation of the child labor laws. I can only assume that they used some sort of Tom Sawyer-like logic on me to get me to happily perform this work.

If you want to see some boxes, or box factories, or women in dangerously long skirts working, follow the Sepia Saturday blog posts. Then join the fun with your own interpretation of the prompt.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The First Rule

The First Rule that every budding genealogist learns is to go from the Known to the Unknown. This week's Sepia Saturday prompt is taking us to the Unknowns in our photo collections and forcing us to take another long hard look at them to attempt bringing them into the Known.

When my Great-aunt Lillian Jackson Cornell Radlek (sister of the infamous Uncle Lee for whom I still have not found enough time) died a dozen years ago, her daughter sent me Lillian's photo collection. Many of those photos were identified, but some were not and I didn't recognize the names for a few that were. The subjects in the photos looked very different from the people I already knew, so I decided they must be relatives of one of Lillian's husbands, either Lloyd Elwood Cornell or Gustave Radlek. I did find a researcher of the Cornell family and sent him the photos, but he was unable to identify them. So, I am still in that uncomfortable state of unknown.

Annas 75 års dag d. 7/10 1955

This first photo has an inscription on the back written in Swedish, Norwegian, or Danish (see the caption). According to Google Translate, the words "års dag" if written as two words is Swedish and Norwegian for "birthday". If you write it as one word, it means "anniversary" in both Swedish and Danish and means "year" in Norwegian. I initially thought that she was Anna Hansene Anderson Cornell, Lillian's first mother-in-law whose parents were born in Denmark. However, her birthdate is August 1876 which would have made her 79 in 1955. Also, the date is either 7 October or July 10, neither of which agrees with her August birthdate. So, either this is not Anna Hansene Anderson Cornell or the person writing on the back was misinformed.

Frank Parso <balance of word cut off> (Patka)

The handsome devil above has a name, but I don't know who he is our how he fits into the family! I am desperate to place him in my family tree. Who wouldn't want that gorgeous DNA in their family?

The three photos above are of unknown babies, which are impossible to identify. The one in the center has the added distinction of including an unknown woman as well. The young boy on the left has an inscription on the back: "Merit". I have never heard of anyone with that name in our direct or collateral lines. He does, however, look remarkably like a cousin whose father is Lillian's maternal uncle which makes it possible that he is a child or grandchild of one of Lillian's aunts or uncles. (Take a deep breath here).

The photo of the boy and girl standing in front of an airplane is intriguing. There is part of a word written on the back which looks like "Buddy". That is the nick name that Uncle Lee's sisters called him when he was a boy, so this may be him! The inscription is to the right. What do you think, can I claim them?

I think these two are the same young man. I imagine the one on the left is him showing off his first motor car. What self-respecting teenager wouldn't want to be immortalized with his first car? Then we have him with his baseball glove proving to us all that he is as red blooded as any American boy can be. I can also see a resemblance between him and the young girl in front of the airplane, which makes me think they are siblings.

This is another person that I would really like to claim as a blood relative. I think she is absolutely beautiful. There is nothing at all to identify her other than she was part of Lillian's photo collection.

The photo above is typical of the type of photos Lillian's mother and her grandmother loved to stage. I think that the woman with the tire around her neck may be my great-grandmother Frances (Lillian's mother) whom I have blogged about a few times. The woman next to her might be Anna of the 75 years, but I am only basing that guess on her spectacles. I have not a clue who the blond girl is nor where this farm is located.
Last but not least, the photo that I am using for my Blog header. This was in that same collection with no identifying marks. I don't know where this farm is nor who the woman that is hanging the sheets can be. But I claim it as part of my family tree and will defend it til my dying breath (or until someone proves me wrong).

Check out the Sepia Saturday blog to see other unknowns. Perhaps you will find something that you can claim for your own.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

No Time for Uncle Lee

The Sepia Saturday challenge this week is very intriguing! It is a simple photo, but contains so much in the details...we have turtles (or tortoises), pipes, watches, mustaches, military, caps (again), flagstones, pinky fingers, and probably much more that I'm not noticing.

I'm afraid I don't have any turtles or tortoises to share, although I do remember that we had a couple of those tiny turtles with painted shells when we were children. As far as I know, there were never any photos taken of them. Therefore, I was forced to kick-off with the pipes theme.

This photo is my great-uncle Lloyd Edward (Lee) Jackson and his eldest sister, Signa Aileen (Jackson) Bedillion. Lee was born 15 May 1920 in Rockland, Massachusetts. He was the youngest child and only boy in the family and from all accounts he was quite a character. It appears he was encouraged in his eccentricity since he was a baby, evidenced by the pipe placed in his mouth in this photo.

Lee and Signa Jackson, 1921 or 1922.
In later years, Lee became a renowned scrimshaw artist in Tennessee. That pipe given to him as a baby seems to have stuck with him.

Lee Jackson about 1990, complete with pipe,
mustache and beard (an extra thrown in for free)!

And if you're looking for a military theme, here is Lee with his jump team looking like they're getting ready to go up in an airplane and jump out. He was in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division from 1942 to 1945.

Uncle Lee is standing on the far right.

If it's watches you want, here is a photo of Lee pointing to his car's tire for reasons known only to himself. If you look closely at the pointing hand, you will see its wrist is clad in a watch.

Lee Jackson wearing a watch.

All these photos of Uncle Lee has made me want to write more about him, but I don't have time now to do him justice. He will definitely be the object of one of my future blog posts, however, when there will be More Time for Uncle Lee.

Want to see how others have incorporated this week's prompt into their pictorial histories? Hop on over to Sepia Saturday and click on their names in the Linky List to visit their blogs!

Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Black Sheep Sunday: Philanderer, Deadbeat, Kidnapper, and Child Trafficker

James Proctor Clark and Caledonia (Callie) Adeline Hurt were married on 20 June 1910 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. They had three sons: James Proctor (Jim) Jr., Joseph Woodrow, and Norwood Francis. The family moved frequently between 1910 and 1918, first to Covington, Kentucky, then back to Louisville, and finally to Dayton, Ohio. While in Dayton, Callie obtained a divorce in April 1918 on the grounds of cruelty, neglect and abandonment and was awarded full custody of the boys. Although the court did not order visitation rights for Proctor, Callie allowed him to see them from time to time.

Finding herself the sole support of the children, Callie went to work at Dayton Wright Airplane Company sewing fabric on the airplanes. There were no daycare centers for children of working mothers in those days. The judge that granted the divorce suggested that the three boys be placed in St. Joseph’s Orphanage while she was at work. They usually resided at the orphanage during the day, but occasionally were there overnight when their mother worked the 12 hour shift.

Female employees of the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company
working on the skeleton of an aircraft wing at Plant 1
February 23, 1918

The nun in charge of the orphanage did not trust Proctor and warned Callie not to allow him access to the children. However, for reasons unknown, Callie continued to allow the father to visit their children at the orphanage. In November 1918, the boys were playing in the orphanage’s yard when Proctor arrived and “induced them to come to the street and enter an automobile.” Jim was seven, Joseph was five, and Francis was two when they were abducted.

Proctor was living with Irene Clarke, who was named in the divorce, and their infant son George (Oscar) at the time of the abduction. Irene and George fled to Iowa with Proctor and his sons where they opened a restaurant. Proctor eventually told the boys that their mother was dead. The restaurant went bankrupt and the family left town owing money. They repeated this pattern in several other towns until they arrived in Monroe, Louisiana where Proctor changed his name to Charles Williams and opened a grocery.

In 1922, Jim’s father sold the eleven year old to a farmer in El Dorado, Arkansas as a laborer. Jim ran away from the farmer and made his way to Natchez, Mississippi where he was apprehended by the sheriff. He told his story, including that he was told his mother was dead. Jim remembered his mother’s and grandmother’s names in Louisville which allowed the Natchez Chief of Police M. P. Ryan to locate them and inform them that Jim was found. Callie, by now remarried to Eddie (Les) Reid and living in Louisville, immediately left for Natchez, a two-day trip by train, to be reunited with her eldest son.

Callie and Jim. Photo from Times-Picayune
newspaper, September 29, 1922, page 1
Chief Ryan of Natchez traced Charles Williams to Monroe. The Monroe chief of police established that Charles Williams was living in Monroe with several children and took temporary custody of them. Callie took Jim with her to Monroe to determine whether those were her other two sons. The younger boys were turned over to her on September 29, 1922 after proof of custody was provided from the Dayton courts.

The Monroe police received another telegram on that same day from Mr. and Mrs. Jean Clarke, parents of Irene and grandparents of 4-year-old Oscar. They were on their way to Monroe from Dayton to "take charge" of their daughter and grandson and were expected to explain the "cryptic message to hold Mrs. Irene Clarke and boy."

The Dayton court set out a warrant for Proctor’s arrest but before the arrest could be made, James Proctor Clark, Irene Clarke, and their son Oscar disappeared leaving behind several hundred dollars worth of groceries and other goods. The expected explanation from Irene's parents was never reported in the tabloids.

Callie and the children returned to Louisville, Kentucky. She lived in Kentucky until her death in 1993 at 100 years of age.

The boys never saw their father again, however there were some reports of him in later years. One was in the summer of 1936 when he introduced himself to a nephew in Bardstown, Kentucky and said he was there to “have a last look around.” Another time was in Chicago where he was reportedly a painter in the 1940s. He may have returned to Dayton, living with a woman that was not Irene, from 1933 to 1948. His son Francis (now named Steve) received a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that Proctor died in January 1962.

James Proctor Clark, Sr.: philanderer, deadbeat, kidnapper and child trafficker–my 2nd cousin twice removed and the blackest sheep I hope to find in my family tree. He sounds like a very shady character, indeed. I have to admit that I'm glad I don't share much DNA with him.

Thanks for dropping by.
Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.


  1. Louisiana: New Orleans States newspaper, “Mrs. Reed Finds Kidnaped Boys”, September 27, 1922, page 19, column 7 (
  2. Louisiana: Times-Picayune newspaper, “Woman Recovers Sons ‘Kidnaped’ Four Years Ago”, September 29, 1922, page 1, column 2 and page 2, column 8 (
  3. Clark, Richard Lee. “Down on the Creek”, Louisville, Kentucky (1996), p. 5-6, 26-30.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Growing up in Skokie

My great-grandparents, Peter and Catherine (Lochner) Heinz, purchased a house with an attached tavern sometime between 1930 and 1935. Located in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, the tavern was named the Skokie Inn and later changed to the Skokie Club. Peter allowed his customers to drink on credit and at the time of his death on December 5, 1942 there were more I.O.U.s in the cash drawer than cash.

Peter and Catherine Heinz's house. The Skokie Inn was situated
just behind the house and was joined by a breezeway.

When my grandparents divorced in 1943, Grandma Dorothy and her three daughters (ages six, seven and nine) moved in with the recently widowed Catherine. Catherine helped the small family by providing them a home on the second floor of the house and Dorothy helped Catherine in the tavern.

Dorothy and the girls about 1938.

There really was no good place to play at the house; there was no backyard and the tavern grounds mostly consisted of parking lot. During the winter, the girls would throw snowballs at passing cars. Unfortunately for them, they got caught. They had to face the driver and their mother in the kitchen at home. Dorothy was so embarrassed that she paid the man $15 and the girls had to work to pay her back.

Dorothy in the snow.

Another favorite pastime for the girls was to go into the tavern's kitchen after school to dance with Cobb the cook. The girls would dance on his feet to the music on the radio. It was a sad day for them when Cobb left for another job.

Peter and Cobb taking a break outside the
Skokie Inn about 1940. The girls don't know
if "Cobb" was his first or last name.
In November 1945, Vincent Heinz (their father) petitioned the court for more liberal visitation rights. He and his new wife had purchased a home and were leasing a tavern in Chicago located on the same street as the Skokie Inn. Vince filed a second petition placing some restrictions on the girls–they were to stay out of the tavern part of the premises in Skokie and were to be in bed by 10 p.m. every night. Up until that time the girls (now age 9, 10, and 12) had free run of the house and tavern. They were not appreciative of the restrictions placed upon them by the court. I find it interesting that these restrictions were place on them in relation to their mother's residence by the request of their father who also operated a tavern.

Vincent Heinz wearing what looks like
a long coat, c1933.

Dorothy and her girls lived in the Skokie house for six years. They moved to Galesburg, Illinois in 1949 when Dorothy married again. Although they had an unconventional upbringing for that period of time, they were loved and knew it.

The inspiration for this post came from this week's Sepia Saturday challenge. The image prompt has snow, lamp-posts, long coats, barrels, and buildings, with snow being the most prominent feature. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by this one. You see, I am a desert rat. I have lived most of my life (at least since the age of 3) in either southern Texas or southern Arizona. It almost never snows in either of those places and that's the way I like it!

But, after some anxious pondering, my mother came to the rescue again. She was born and raised in northern Illinois where they get lots and lots of snow. And I remembered this photo of her and her sisters at the approximate ages of eleven, nine, and eight (Mom is in the middle and is the oldest).

Mom and her sisters about 1944 or 1945.
Although it is not visible in the photo, the girls are standing in front of the house that was attached to the Skokie Inn.  There is a Schlitz sign behind the girls advertising that the tavern served Schlitz on tap. There is another partial sign behind them. If you examine the photo below, a little closer shot of that sign, you can see "Atla..." above the word "Tave...". This must be a sign for Tavern Pale Beer which was brewed by Atlantic Brewing Co. (I found an interesting history for this brewery on Bob Kay Beer Labels). Tavern Pale Beer was produced in kegs for the tavern trade. This sign was advertising that the Skokie Inn served Tavern Pale Beer. The signs are not lamp-posts, but Alan gives us license to interpret his prompts any way we wish so I have decided to let them stand in for lamp-posts. I found no photos of barrels in my collection of family photos, but we can all imagine the kegs of beer in the tavern that would look like barrels.

Catherine (Lochner) Heinz standing in front of the house
in the 1940s.  Note the partial sign behind her.
I think I hit on all the elements of this week's Sepia Saturday prompt, even if I had to stretch it a little. And I hope you were entertained by the story. Just to show you that it does sometimes snow here in southern Arizona, here is a photo of the one and only White Christmas I have ever had.

Tucson, Arizona, Christmas Day 1987.

Visit the Sepia Saturday blog for other stories and vintage photos with the theme of the week.

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Is it Tech Tuesday or Thankful Thursday?

If you are here, you know that I just moved my blog. This whole process started because I noticed that other blogs I visited had white borders around their uploaded images and mine did not.  I emailed  Wendy of Jollett etc. (one of my first followers) asking her how she did it on hers. Through a few back-and-forth emails, we figured out that some Blogger templates allowed you to configure borders around images and some did not. The one she was using (Simple) allowed them and the one I was using (Picture Window) did not. Since I really, really love borders around my images, I decided that I would have to change my template. And since I was changing my template, I decided to take the plunge and redesign/refocus my blog–something I had been thinking about doing for some time but was too scared to try.

For the Tech Tuesday portion of this post, I will share with you what Wendy and I learned from this exercise:

I didn't want to change my blog title without changing its URL because people expect the blog URL to reflect the blog title, for example my old blog "My Mother's Family" URL was However, I was afraid that if I changed the URL, I would lose my followers. It turns out that settings in the Blogger Dashboard let you change both the blog title and the blog URL without losing a thing! My Google Followers came along for the ride, but the Networked Blog followers did not. I will have to hope that they realize I moved and follow me to the new site. The downside of retaining the Google Followers is that everyone that is set up to receive email notifications when there is a new post got a notification for every single one of my posts as if they were new. Lesson learned: this is not something you would want to do if you have hundreds of posts.

Another consideration is that if there are any links to your old blog URL anywhere on the web, they will be broken. I knew of a couple of them and emailed the site owners letting them know to change their links. To accommodate the links I could not change, for example the Sepia Saturday Linky List, I had to get a little more creative. I ended up creating a new blog with my old URL ( with one post saying I moved. And for those links to specific pages in my old blog, I created a Custom Page Not Found in Settings directing folks to my new blog address. It works perfectly!

Now for the Thankful Thursday portion of this post. Although she didn't really know much, if any, more than I did about the tech side of blogging, Wendy took time to help me figure it out. Between the two of us we brain-stormed ideas and came up with solutions and we both learned a few new things. Thank you, Wendy!

This experience taught me something else:
Tech Tuesday + Thankful Thursday = Winning Wednesday!
Thanks for dropping by.
Tech Tuesday and Thankful Thursday are daily blogging prompts from GeneaBloggers. Winning Wednesday is my own invention.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Expanding My World (well, the Blog part of it anyway)

I've been blogging for a year and a half now. It's been sporadic, but I still manage to publish a story now and then.

When I started "My Mother's Family" I didn't really know how I was going to use this venue and decided to restrict it to posts about my mother's side of the family hence the name. But I found myself posting about my father's side sometimes and I want to post about my husband's family, too. So...since I have changed the purpose of the blog I have given it an entirely new look and a new name. It is now "All My Family Trees".

I hope I didn't mess up any links or followers. Thank you to all that read my blog. I hope that I will continue to entertain and maybe even educate you a little.

Something from the Hessig/Hessick family tree to
get things rolling.

Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Caps and Bikes

I missed last week's fruit stand Sepia Saturday challenge, and hope I'm not too late for this one. As usual, there is lots from which to choose...I chose photos with people wearing caps.

Mom in a cap and funny pants, c1935.
I've been looking for an opportunity to show off this photo of my mom dressed funny. Look at those pants! But she is wearing a hat that I can loosely call a cap which qualifies this for the challenge.

Grandma about 1930.
This is her mom, my grandma, wearing a real cap. Nothing was written on the back of this photo and nobody seems to remember the dog which might help identify the time and place. I'm hoping that this blog post will prompt family members to search their memories and help me out. I think she's about 17 in this photo, which would put it in about 1930.
Great-Grandma about 1950

This last one is her mom, my great-grandma, whom you have seen many times before. She is wearing a hat (which I count as a cap) and she is riding a bicycle. A two-fer if I ever saw one! Shep, the family dog, is walking beside her. She wrote on the back "I won the race".

Hop on over to the Sepia Saturday blog to see how creatively others have incorporated this theme.

Thanks for dropping by.