Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sepia Saturday #281, 2015 May 30: Cooking Up Memories

 The Sepia Saturday #281, theme image is a 1972 archive photograph from the Flickr Collection of the Cloyne and District Historical Society of Canada. In may put you in mind of baking, kitchens, or pies -- or for me, it brought back memories of the family cookbook thatI put together in 2004.  My younger grandson, quite seriously, remarked to me:  "Gram, I think everybody has their own special recipe."  He then proceeded to tick-off the recipes for which he thought family members were "famous " his mom's blackberry Bar-B-Q ribs, my "famous" chicken, Poppy's tapioca (only because he made it in quadruple batches so he and grandkids could have their fill of tapioca, Aunt Sue's Chocolate Chip Cookies, and the list went on and on.

That conversation percolated in the back of my mind for a year or so, before I started The Cookbook. I put out the word to all family members that I was going to make a family cookbook of all our favorite family recipes.  I did give a deadline, not that any one paid any attention -- and I was editing in "late" recipes as I was printing the book. (All copy, pictures, printing, and collating was done in my office on my computer and printer  --- collated was stacks of pages on every flat surface of the house.)  Here are a few sample pages:


My  delightful daughter-in-law, otherwise known as
the tall daughter, helped me with the design and set
up.  I had no idea what I was doing, just an image
in my mind.   We used what we knew how to use;
she knew how to use Power Point and get images
off of the WEB; Back in those days I was not very WEB friendly, but was a determined learner. 

 As you can see, the decade of use has faded the colors, to say nothing of the splotches of chocolate, blackberry stains, and general cooking slops have graced it's pages.  I should have take photos back then.  Oh, I did, but that was several computer crashes ago -- and the document still resides on my computer, just not very accessible.  O well, hope springs eternal and someday I may be able to access all of that hard work.

The page to the right features family foods favored my
my father's family.   When I told my cousins about how
my dad loved his Oyster Stew for special occasions, and his bedtime snack of bread and milk,  they laughed because they remembered their dad ( my dad's brother) liked the very
same foods.  Nancy and Marilyn added their dad's favorite
Milk Toast recipe, which was rather close to my dad's
Bread and Milk recipe.

I also posted the Oyster Stew recipe on my McPherson blog
(Ancestry.com fiasco version), and distant family members wrote  to tell me that Oyster Stew was a favorite
holiday treat for their families.  That was so cool!

The page to the left is one of the pages of my Mom's recipes.  She always loved soups.  I think my grandmother made soups, probably because they were rather poor, and it was a necessity to stretch the food budget.  Some of my fondest memories were coming home after ice skating, football games, Christmas-tree-hunting, and Mom would make up a big pot of soup.  She really loved tomato soup, and when money was short, a can of tomatoes and milk (sometimes powdered milk) made a big pot of soup that could feed a whole bunch of hungry kids, teenagers, and adults.

As Mom grew older, and was cooking only for herself, the microwave became her friend --  a quick and easy tomato soup.

One of the greatest lessons that I learned from my Mom was that no matter how many unexpected guest showed up, the soup pot could feed the multitude.   She didn't take much to set invitations, but rather her table and doors were always open to all who showed up.  No one was every turned away, either overtly or by innuendo.  Until I was writing this post, I hadn't thought about what a great lesson of life that she imparted to me  -- and without making a big fuss.   A lesson for which I am grateful.

I find that I love this cook book more with the passing years -- mother, father, husband,  daughters, son and daughter-in-law, grandchildren, sister, brothers and their wives, nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins,  and grandparents are all represented.  Recipes with a walk down memory lane.

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 May 25, Amanuensis Monday: J.P.McPherson's Diary, November 11,1850 through November 30, 1850

      According to the diary, as the harvest work came to an end, James P. McPherson's work on his house ramped up.  William Beats helped him haul the last of the logs for his cabin;  Thomas Miles helped with the logs;  Mr. Anderson hewed the wall plates and John Eadie fitted the joists.   Then on November 26th, the men of the community assisted in the "raising" of  the house.  On the following Saturday, November 30th, J.P. participated in the Miles' "raising."  After the "raising" of the McPherson house, Mr. Anderson helped with the getting the house ready, and Mr. Cummings helped chink.

      I have often read about house and barn raisings and it always seemed like a party  -- and perhaps it was.  However in reading the diary, one gets the feel that the raising of a house or barn was just one of the necessities that was done in the course of life, like digging potatoes, cutting hay, thrashing, planting.

     To me, one of the most notable parts of daily life in 1850s Springdale, Wisconsin, was the strong sense of community and neighbor helping neighbor,  which was indeed a necessity in that time and place.  Nonetheless, in my heart of hearts,  I believe that  it would have  been nice to live in 1850s Springdale.

Journal Entries for
November 11, 1850 through November 30, 1850

Novr   11  Monday        Thrashing for Mr. Paton.

   "     12  Tuesday             "           "    "      "

   "    13  Wednesday          "           "    "      "  & Daniel Lester

   "    14  Thursday            "           "    "      "   & John Eadie.  Received letter from Ann Adamson.

   "    15  Friday      Working at my house – logs. Posted letters to Ann Adamson & Robt Brand.

   "    16  Saturday   Working at my house – logs.

   "    17  Sunday     At Mssers Paton and Beats.

    "       18  Monday    Working at my house – logs.

   "    19  Tuesday     Wm. Beats with his own & Mr. Lamonts oxen hauled the balance of my logs.

   "   20  Wednesday  Working at my house - logs.

   "   21  Thursday       DO     “    “    “         “

   "   22  Friday           DO     “    “    “         “ & Mr. Miles.

   "   23  Saturday       DO     “    “    “         “ 

   "   24  Sunday     Called on Brown and Rutherford to come to my raising.

   "   25  Monday    Mr. Anderson hewed my wall plates in forenoon
Mr. John Eadie fitted joist in afternoon.

   "   26  Tuesday    Raised my house, assisted by Messers Anderson, Miles, Menzies, John & James Eadie, Mitchell, Dd. Beat, G. Davidson, J. McDonald Jr., Dan Lester, Wm. Thomson, and Mr. Lamont and his oxen.

   "   27  Wednesday  Working at my house.

   "   28  Thursday       DO       DO    Assisted by Mr. Anderson in the forenoon.

   "   29  Friday     At the saw mill for lumber. Mr. Cummings chinked the lower part of my house. 

   "   30  Saturday  At Mr. Miles raising forenoon. Working at my house afternoon.

Note: For  McPherson family members, or other interested parties,  who have asked how to know when there are new posts of James Peter McPherson's diary, you can enter your email address in the block at the upper right-hand corner of the blog, labeled  "Follow by email."

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, May 18, 2015

2015 May 18, Amanuensis Monday: J.P.McPherson's Diary, September 9,1850 through November 10 , 1850

Throughout these entries listed below, James P. McPherson was busy with helping his neighbors and friends.  He put up hay, cut and hauled corn, thrashed, dug potatoes, and went to "Mitchell's raising."

He lifted his own potatoes and had someone, haul them to Springdale and pit the potatoes for winter use.  Possibly Mr. Brown helped him, as J. P.  went to see Brown the day before the potatoes were hauled.  In addition, McPherson cut logs and thatch for his house, and when the weather was rainy he spent his time sewing for his neighbors.  He was spending more time in Springdale and the walk from Stewart's Stone house was taking more time, J. P. boarded with neighbors in Springdale , first with Mr. Miles, and the with Mr. Anderson.  He was anxious to finish his house and move his family to their land in Springdale, so his hours were long and busy.

Another thing to ponder, October 28th, J.P.  walked to Madison for some purchases.  Madison is about 20 to 25 miles from Springdale, depending upon the route and where in Madison he was headed.  It was definitely a "hike."  Fortunately, he got a ride back with Mr. Paton, to within 3 miles of Mr. McKay's, where he spent the night.  The diary reader will notice in many future entries that McPherson often made this walk to Madison, unless he was lucky enough to get a ride with a neighbor with a horse and wagon.  Life in Springdale in the 1850s was not easy.

Now on to the Journal entries.

Journal Entries for 
September 9, 1850 through November 10, 1850

September 9  Monday  Making hay for Paton.

 Up to     14  Saturday      DO   DO  DO  DO

   "        15  Sunday   Up to Dunkles with families in Patons waggon.

   "       16   &  17   Making hay for Paton.

   "      18  Wednesday Lifted potatoes in forenoon - putting up hay in afternoon.

   "     19  Thursday  Gathering wood forenoon – putting up hay 

   "    20  Friday    Cutting corn for Mr. Black.

   "   21  Saturday   DO      “     “      “

   "   22  Sunday    At home.

   "   23  Monday   Hauling hay for Mr. Paton. 
   "   24  Tuesday  Home forenoon- hauling hay afternoon.

   "   25  Wednesday  Cutting corn for Mr. Black

   "   26  Thursday   Thrashing for Dan Gardner.

   "   27  Friday          DO         "  Mrs. Thomson.

   "   28  Saturday       DO         "    "       "

   "   29  Sunday   At home.

   "   30  Mondy   Cutting thatch in Springdale

Octr   1  Tuesday  Digging potatoes for Dd Beat

   "    2  Wednesday   DO       DO   till noon: Thrashing for J. Cumings in afternoon.

   "   3  Thursday  Thrashing for J.C

   "   4  Friday      At home sewing. Rain in the afternoon.

   "   5  Saturday   Digging potatoes for Dd. Beat.

   "   6  Sunday    At home. Mr. Mitchell and family at Springdale.

   "   7  Monday   Digging potatoes for Mr. Beat.

   "   8  Tuesday     DO      DO      “    “     “

   "   9  Wednesday  Digging potatoes till noon. Rain in afternoon.

   "  10  Thursday   At home sewing.

   "  11  Friday      Digging potatoes for Mr. Beat.

   "  12  Saturday    DO       DO  till noon. Hauled corn in afternoon.

   "  13  Sunday    At Mr Patons in afternoon.

   "  14  Monday  At home sewing.

   "  15  Tuesday    DO  DO    DO

   "  16  Wednesday  DO  DO    DO, and cutting thatch.

   "  17  Thursday   DO  DO    DO,   "        "         "

   "  18  Friday       DO  DO    DO

   "  19  Saturday   DO  DO    DO

   "  20  Sunday   At Mr. Browns in afternoon.

   "  21  Monday  Had my potatoes hauled up to Springdale and pitted.

   "  22  Tuesday  Cutting house logs on my place in Springdale.

   "  23  Wednesday Helped Mr. Miles haul his oats.

   "  24  Thursday   Cutting house logs. Mr. Miles helped me half-a-day.

   "  25  Friday         Do        Do    Do

   "  26  Saturday     Do        Do    Do  Boarded with Mr. Miles these last five days.

   "  27  Sunday    Went to Mr. Patons in afternoon.

   "  28  Monday  Walked to Madison, made some purchases, rode with Mr. Paton within 3 miles of Mr. McKays. Stopped with Mr. McKay all night.

   "  29  Tuesday  Went to Springdale after dinner.

   "  30  Wednesday  Cut thatch & forenoon: Helped Mr. Miles to haul
some hay in afternoon; stoped by rain.

   "  31  Thursday  At Mitchells raising.

Novr 1  Friday    Hauling house logs with Mrs. Thomsons oxen.

   "   2  Saturday Raining. At home all day. 

   "   3  Sunday  Thick foggy weather.  At home all day.

   "   4  Monday    Do     Do     Do       "      "     "     "

   "   5  Tuesday  At Springdale.

   "   6  Wednesday  Moved up to Mr. Andersons.

   "   7  Thursday  At Messers Stewart & Patons.

   "   8  Friday   Thrashing for Mr. Paton

   "   9  Saturday     Do       "   Do    "

   "  10  Sunday   At home and Mr. Miles. 

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sepia Saturday #279, 2015 May 16: Sawmills

Sepia Saturday 279 - which features a picture of an old Australian blast furnace .  I knew immediately what I wanted to post, which dealt with safety and perhaps a bit of danger.

1978 ICS Newspaper
Photograph, MMT
Courtesy of Roots'nLeaves & JGH

In 1978, my business partner and I started a company we called ICS (Industrial Consulting Services) from which we provided "early return-to-work" services to assist injured workers to return to their jobs.  Our grandfather account was a sawmill.  Logging and sawmill people became like a family to me.  It's a close bonded group and if they accept you, it's a good thing.

One of the things I first noticed was that many of the old time sawmill workers and loggers, often had missing finger or fingers.  It was a dangerous job in the days of the first sawmills -- though safety measures have reduced injuries such as these for current sawmill workers.  Never-the-less, the guys are working with big trees, sharp objects,big gears,  fast moving lines, and in the old days none of the saws, gears, lines, etc., had guards to prevent hands, arms, legs or other body parts from danger.

Courtesy of
 Manville, NJ … Revolution on the Millstone | Page 2

Although this photograph is from a north east sawmill, circa 1920,  it reminds me of a photograph that my boss had on his wall depicting one of  his family's early sawmills. Early sawmills tended to look very much alike, no matter the part of the country in which they were located.

Courtesy of

Sometimes the old sawmills were just located in the woods, close to the big trees -- no buildings, just big saws, no guards, and guys cutting logs into lumber.

Courtesy of
Umatilla National Forest - Home

 This photo is reminiscent of many of the long gone sawmills.  I live about 5 miles from a small southern Oregon town, which had a saw mill as it's major employer for many years.  However, at the turn of the century,  there were many sawmills in the area.  One was located less than a half mile from where I now live, and another just another two miles down the road.  Fifteen to twenty miles up the mountain, another sawmill stood until there was no available timber.  All of these little mills, had a similar look as the photo on the left.

One of Jabez McPherson's sawmills
Most likely the second, judging by the cars
Courtesy of Bentley, Alberta, Museum's Chronicles of Bentley

At the right is a 1906 photograph of  one of Jabez Burns McPherson's sawmill located not far from Bentley, Alberta, Canada.  This Jabez Burns McPherson was a cousin of  my grandfather (yet another Jabez Burns McPherson).  Thus Canadian Jabez evidently cut logs as long as the source was available, then he would close down that sawmill.  Later on he started other sawmills in the area.  Transportation of logs and lumber determine the profitability of sawmills.  

Once you have been around sawmills, you can never forget the sounds of massive pieces of machinery cutting up logs -- and the logs used to be massive -- into lumber.  You never forget the closeness of the folks that work the machines, cut the logs down, cut logs into lumber.  It's a family thing and many times the folks all come from the same location and/or are related. 

 Most of all, I never will forget the smell of fresh cut lumber.

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, May 11, 2015

2015 May 11 :Amanuensis Monday: J.P.McPherson's Diary, August 4,1850 through September 8, 1850

During the period of this set of diary entries, August 5, 1850 through September 8, 1850,  James P. McPherson spent much of his time harvesting for Mr. Paton.  I thought it interesting that  on Sunday, the 25th,  he notes that "With Mr. Paton a short time in the family."  McPherson rarely worked on Sunday's, and  was usually home, unless he/they went visiting, so it would be surprising if he was working  for Mr. Paton.  The wording "a short time in the family" is consistent with his seemingly staunch stand on spending Sunday with the family.

On September 29, Mrs. Mitchell delivered a baby girl.  Although J.P. doesn't mention that his wife Mary attended Mrs. Mitchell, the likelihood was great that she did.  Mary, according to family stories and other record and writings, was often called when their was a birth or if there was an illness in the family.  However, J.P. rarely, if ever noted her work in is diary.

The last item of note is the marriage of John Beat, on September 6, 1850.  The diary records not only the marriages that James P. McPherson performed as Justice of the Peace, but also many of the marriages of his friends and neighbors.

 James P. McPherson's Diary
August 4, 1850 through September 8, 1850

 August  5   Monday   Harvesting with Mr Paton 

   "       6   Tuesday          DO            DO

   "       7   Wednesday      DO            DO

   "       8   Thursday        DO            DO   Half day. Cut vest for Dunkel.

   "       9   Friday            DO            DO    All day

   "      10  Saturday         DO           DO        DO

   "      11  Sunday    At Garden with J. Mitchell.

   "      12  Monday    Harvesting with Mr Paton.

    "     13  Tuesday            DO          DO

    "     14  Wednesday         DO          DO

   "      15  Thursday           DO          DO

   "     16   Friday               DO          DO  Posted letter to A. Adamson 

   "     17   Saturday  At Home. Heavy rain during the night which put a stop to harvesting.

   "    18   Sunday    Heavy rain during the day and night.

   "    19   Monday   Great storm of thunder, wind and rain in the morning and with intervals during the day. Sick with diarhia

   "    20  Tuesday    In bed all day.

   "    21  Wednesday Rain during the night and day. Somewhat better.

   "    22  Thursday   Made vest for Dunkel Boy. Better

   "    23   Friday    Working for Mr. Beat.

   "    24  Saturday  With Mr. Beat until 2 ½ o'clock P.M. When Mr Paton sent for me. 

   "    25   Sunday  With Mr. Paton a short time in the family.

  "    26   Monday  With Mr Paton. Bad with D.

  "    27   Tuesday        DO       DO         DO     Better

  "    28   Wednesday    DO       DO         DO    
  "    29   Thursday  At Springdale Cleaning barn for breaking. Mrs. Mitchell delivered of a girl.

   "    30   Friday   Rain during the night and day. At home.

   "    31   Saturday  At Home. Rain forenoon – clear afternoon

September 1 Sunday      DO        DO.           Rain.

   "   2   Monday          DO        DO.            Rain.

   "   3   Tuesdsy   At home. Commenced to bail oats for Dan Gardner – Stopt by rain.

   "   4  Wednesday  At Springdale, choping & rain at night.

   "   5  Thursday   At home. Sewing.

   "   6  Friday      Working with Mr. Paton. John Beat married.

   "   7  Saturday  DO         “     “     “    and concluded his harvest.

   "   8  Sunday   Up to Dunkle's.

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications




Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sunday Synopsis, 2015 May 10: A Review of James P. McPherson's First Year in Springdale

1850 J.P. McPherson Diary Yearly Review 

 Family: James Peter,(b. Nov 14, 1816), 34 yrs.; Mary Burns, (b. Jan. 30, 1822), 28 yrs.; William B. (b. Apr. 24, 1843), 7 yrs.; James B.,(b. Mar. 17, 1845), 5 yrs.; Jabez B., (b. Aug. 12, 1847), 3rs.; and Ann A., (b. Jan. 31, 1850, 6 mos.

During this first year, J.P was a busy Scot. After arriving in Springdale, he and his family moved into John Stewart's log cabin, and later into Stewart's stone house. He planted a garden in Verona with lots of potatoes. His neighbors helped him locate farm land and helped J.P. cut log and in building his log cabin.

On Tuesday, November 26, the McPherson house raising took place, assisted by Messers Anderson, Miles, Menzies, John and James Eadie, Mitchell, Dd. Beat, G. Davidson, J. McDonald, Jr., Dan Lester, and Mr. Lamount and his oxen. After the “finishing” touches (chinking, doors, thatched roof, J. P. moved his family to their new home (quite likely the first home they ever owned) on December 17, 1850. His pride in ownership comes through during those first few years when he refers to “my house” and “my land.”

The tailoring skills that J.P. had honed in New York City, he now utilized to help pay and barter for necessities, as well as helping his neighbors in Springdale and Verona Townships. It appears from the diary entries that folks in that little community each used his skills and resources to help friends and neighbors, and were certain that the community would be there when they needed help. McPherson made pants and vest for John Stewart; pants for John and D. McDonald, and pants for McDonald's father-in-law, John Gow; a vest, coats and pants for Dunlop (who left the stone house on July 15, 1850, and the McPherson family moved into the the Stewart's stone house the next day). J. P. made pants and vests for S. & Jas McKay; for Mr. Dunkle, he made coats and pants). These items may have been made in lieu of goods or future help in work, or in coin --- not likely coin, as J.P. usually wrote down coinage.

That first year, he noted in is diary that he spent one day mending his and the children's clothing – I am guessing the Mary did her own mending. In an era where work was laboriously done by hand, it is interesting how ready these folk were to lend a helping hand to one another: plowing up a garden spot; hoeing vegetables, planting and harvesting wheat, corn and hay; butchering and preserving meat; and of course, the “raising's” whether it was a house or barn, the folks around came, helped with the raising and then went home to finish their daily work. During McPherson's first seven months that he lived in Springdale, he attended raisings for Alex Brown, Widow Thornson, Mitchell, Miles and, of course, his own  -- five "raisings" in just seven months.

Although there is no mention of church or religious meetings in the diary, it is interesting that the McPherson family did not work on Sunday. They stayed at home, received visitors, and visited neighbors. Another notable feature of the diary is that J.P. rarely enters personal feelings into the diary, and rarely mentions family. For instance, on August 29, 1850, he notes that “Mrs. Mitchell delivered of a girl.” There was no mention of his wife Mary, but from other writings and family stories (and reading between the diary lines in other entries) Mary was regularly called upon to help with birthings or with folks that were ill. In addition, she was often paid (usually food stuffs, etc), but there are not entries documenting the what Mary brought into the household.

The diary was, in addition to being an almanac of what and when to plant and harvest, and a record of work done by J.P., and services rendered to him,was a detailed account of his correspondence.
from May 21, through December 31, 1850,  J.P. wrote to  and/or received letters from the following: James Westwood, Ann Adamson, Dd.Beat, and Robert Beard. He also wrote to his brother-in-law Jabez Burns, but did not receive a reply – or at least didn't appear to because J.P. seemed to be very conscientious about noting correspondence in his journal.

 People Mentioned in the Diary:
 Anderson, O
Black, John
Brown, Alex
Brown, Ann
Beat, John
Edi, John (appears to be written as Eadie sometimes)
Eadie, James
Dunlap, S.
Gordon, Dan
Gow, John
Lamont, Samuel
Lester, Daniel.*
 McDonald, D
McDonald, John
McKay, Jas.
Menzie, W
 Miles, Thomas
 Mitchell, John
Rutherford, John
 Stewart, James
 Stewart, John
 Thornson, Widow

*JP started working for Lester in 11/1850

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sepia Saturday 278 -- 2015 May 9: A McPherson Blur

Our theme image for Sepia Saturday 278 is a photograph that is little old and tired. It comes from the Flickr Commons archives of the Romanian photographer, Costica Acsinte. It should provide a suitable prompt to remind us of those old and tired images in our collections. Images that are past their best or in need of a little care and attention. 

My contribution for this week is a photo about which I have quite a bit of information and other photos taken on the same day.  However it is this photo that keeps drawing me back time and again.  It was taken at a McPherson gathering in the late summer of 1918.  My great grandparents, James Burns McPherson and Elizabeth Henrietta (Libby) McPherson, nee Ireland, were moving from the house along the shore of Crow Wing Lake.  Several years prior, their eldest son, James Septimus and his five children moved back to live with his parents after his wife died. Now, James S. had taken a job in Barrows, about 10-15 miles north of Crow Wing Lake and was moving with his parents and his five children, as well as his youngest brother Clare.     My grandfather Jabez, who was the next oldest son of James B. and Libby, planned to move Elizabeth, and their seven children into the house vacated by the  move to Barrows.

Until the move, James B, Libby, and five of their seven children (and their families) lived in relative close proximity to one another.  In fact the elder McPhersons, and three of their sons and twelve grandchildren lived within walking distance of Crow Wing Lake.  So when this photograph was taken it was a time of change, a time to exchange memories,  convey best wishes to those who were moving away and take photographs of the gathering.

Most, if not all, of the family of James B. and Libby are included in this photo, but --- as you can see, the picture is out of focus and is badly blurred.  Some of the folks are recognizable by their stance, clothes or other attributes.  It also helped that  there are  other photos taken at the same gathering with which one can compare.

1918 Gathering of the James Burns McPherson Family at Crow Wing Lake, Minnesota
Courtesy of  the Roots'n'Leaves and JGH Archives
The children are fairly easy to identify as there is a couple of much better  photographs of the children -- and I knew the children that should have been in the photo.  Great grandpa James B. is easily recognizable with his shiny bald head (secnd from right),  as is his youngest son, Clare,(middle of back row, for the same shiny bald pate.  Great grandmother Libby (second woman on left) is easily recognizable due to dress and stance, as is her daughter Aggie (far right). My grandparents too are easy for me to spot.  In group pictures, Grandmother Elizabeth is always hiding in the back row, and  my Grandfather Jabez was never far from her side.  She is that little white shadowy head just to the left of Great Grandmother Libby.  My grandmother is holding her then youngest child, Allen Clifford.  My grandfather is the shadowy shape just to grandmother's left.  So out of  a gathering of thirty-two adults, children and babies, I can be reasonably be sure of the identity of twenty (twenty-one, if I count the blanket which I am assuming my grandmother has wrapped around baby Allen.  The rest of these folks taunt and tease me.  I have an idea of who should be in the picture, but without more to go on, and more clarity, I am at a loss.

1918 McPherson gathering at Crow Wing Lake, Minnesota
Children included are James S. and Jabez B. McPherson children (12)
and Aggie Fiske's children (2)
Courtesy of  the Roots'n'Leaves and JGH Archives

The above photograph, which itself is pretty tattered and torn, but the people are recognizable.  You can also see my grandmother, Elizabeth, hiding in the back row, holding baby Allen.  This photo was very helpful in identifying the children.  Many of the children looked quite similar as adults, and especially held themselves in the same way.

The above photograph shows four of the seven children of  James B. and Libby McPherson.   I am guessing that the eldest son, James Septimus, is the photographer, and the two younger daughters and
husbands hadn't arrived yet.  This picture made the identification of these six easy to identify by clothes, bald heads, and stance.

However, I will continue to wonder about this photograph of the McPherson gathering at Crow Wing Lake.  Who is the lady on the left with the baby?  Who is the kneeling lady with a baby (I think)?  Who are the two ladies in black skirts? The lady on James B's right is most likely a daughter, but which one?  And the men? (No clue!)  None the less, the enjoyment  and openness of this family on the brink of big changes in their lives makes this photograph one of my all time favorites .  I also love that it almost seems as though they are all lined up, laughing and waving to me to join them  --  almost.

Now good Sepians look through the lens of others to see the tattered, torn, faded, and blurry pictures of the past.

  ~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications