I’ve been trying to bring a little order to the scattered family history notes and photo albums that my mother had pulled together. She had done some good work, assembling scrapbooks with clippings and ephemera (she has my grandfather’s draft card and her own press passes) and neatly typewriting captions for the images. Unfortunately, more recently, she started reworking some of her materials, generally not for the better. Sometimes I trust her research on how this Boyer was related to that one, and sometimes I recognize her newer handwriting and discount those notes.
This photo, which I can date on internal evidence to about 1918, of her mother’s side of the family, is fairly sound. In that year, my grandmother Bessie Williams (second from the left) was 14. I don’t know whether cousin Vernon Friend (in doughboy uniform) was about to deploy to Europe or whether he had returned for this picture. Mom’s notes say that he married a Lula, and that’s all I know about him. The smallest child, in the low-maintenance pinafore, is great uncle Wilson. Great2 grandfather John Childers Friend, with the impressive beard, is first on the left.
Even more valuable is this image from about 1909 of my maternal grandfather’s family. The Sullenbergers were somewhat camera shy, and didn’t get together for family reunions the way the Williamses did. Grandpa was born in the Josie Hill neighborhood of Piqua, so perhaps the unpainted house behind them was located there. The patriarch is Phillip Henry Sheridan Sullenberger, born in 1865 and no doubt named for the Civil War general who grew up in Somerset, Ohio and commanded cavalry in the Army of the Potomac. I’m glad that I inherited Phillip’s nose rather than his male pattern baldness. The other adults are Phillip’s wife, Clara Bagley Sullenberger (at right) and Phillip’s mother Mary (we don’t have a maiden name for her). My grandfather is the towheaded lad between his father and mother; maybe he’s scowling because of the cigar that Phillip has taken out his mouth long enough to pose for the photographer.