Tuesday, December 18, 2012

May-December Romance

I wish that the little elves that helped the shoemaker would make a nocturnal visit to my house to label all of the old, unidentified photos I have accumulated. I would dearly love to put faces to some of the names in my family tree. While most of these photographs will remain a mystery we can occasionally hypothesize about who might be posing.


I suspect this photograph is from the wedding of my gg-grandmother's sister. Maria Therese Lane married Peter W. Rose in 1869, according to her widow's pension application (Peter served during the Civil War). There are a few clues that lead me to believe this may be Maria and Peter.
  1. The photograph was in an album we (my mom and I) believe belonged to my gg-grandmother, Arletta.
  2. The apparent age discrepancy between the sitters is a big clue. Peter was thirty years older than Maria who was a mere fifteen when she married.
  3. The Carte de visite format was popular when Peter and Maria married (1869). Though I make no claims to know much about fashion, the dress the woman wears could come from this time period.
  4. As sisters who kept in touch it makes sense that Arletta would have a photograph of Maria.  I know they kept in touch because Arletta wrote an affidavit for Maria's widow's pension application.  They could even have visited as they both lived in Kalamazoo for a number of years.
  5. Maria resembles identified photos of Arletta from the album.

A tin type photograph identified as Maria's sister, Arletta.

One amusing anecdote about when Peter came to the Lane house to seek a bride comes from Maria's widow's pension application. Maria's sister, Arletta, wrote an affidavit describing how Maria came to marry Peter (and to state that she knew Peter's first wife was dead and Maria had never been married before her wedding to Peter).  Arletta stated that their family lived 2-3 miles from Peter.  After his first wife died "he came to [Arletta] to keep house for him, but [she] refused to go."  Evidently, Maria was prevailed upon to accept his proposal.

Maybe someday I'll uncover new information that will help me to positively identify the people in the photograph.  Until then, this is my best guess, with the emphasis on "guess."

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