Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh! Baby

This entry is for the 7th Edition of Smile for the Camera. As the title suggests the subject is babies. Always a good subject as I don't think I'll ever run out of baby pictures. This time I've chosen not just one but a series of pictures. I thought it would be fun to see baby pictures but also pictures of the same subjects as they get older.

The first picture is William Trever Longwell, known as Trever who was my grandmother's brother. He was born 12 March 1894 in Tower Hill, Illinois and died in Frederick, Oklahoma 1947. He was the son of Edwin Plummer Longwell and Ida Edana Conrad. Trever was a dentist in Frederick, Oklahoma and for many years the Secretary of the State Dental Association. He was a wonderful musician, as well as a sought after vocalist. He married Winifred Newlin in 1918 and together they had two daughters.

The next three pictures are Trever and his sister Floy, my grandmother. Her name was really Hester Floy but she always went by Floy. I didn't know Hester was her name until I was grown. I guess she didn't like it much. Floy was born 14 October 1896 in Tower Hill, Illinois. She married my grandfather Harry Brandes in 1920. Floy was the mother of my Dad Kenneth and his sister Beverly Jo.

Here they are a bit older.

The Edwin Plummer Longwell family moved from Tower Hill, Illinois to Frederick, Tillman County November 8, 1908 where Plummer worked as a barber.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Crowning Glory -Smiling for the Camera

Crowning Glory should be about hair I guess but in this case, I didn't have much. I'm not sure why this picture was made wearing the huge hat and I've never asked Mom where the hat came from or why it was used. What I do know is that this picture was taken in early November of 1950 just before my Daddy left for Japan. He didn't return home again until February of 1952. By then I wasn't really a baby anymore. Mom said it took awhile for me to get used to having him around...and having to sleep in my own bed!
Mom entered this photo in the Tulsa Tribune's amateur snapshot contest. It tied for first place in the "Class A, Babies and Children" category.
Published in the newspaper Wednesday July 25, 1951:

"Five Photogs Winner of Lucky 7th
by Winnifred Gillette
Snapshot Contest Director"

"The seventh (and last) week of the Tribune's amateur snapshot contest was a lucky seventh for five Tulsa photographers...........
The judges couldn't decide between two entries in the "Babies and Children" class and photographers Bagby and Brandes will each receive a $5 prize for first place in that class."

"Brandes' check will have a long way to go--the Tulsan, whose home address is 1401 W. Easton pl. is now a pharmacists' mate first class in Japan, where he has been stationed since November 1950: He took his prize-winning photo of daughter Sue Lynn just before he left, and Mrs. Brandes entered it in the Tribune's contest for him."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Harry Brandes in World War I

Harry Carl Brandes (1892-1974) enlisted as a Sergeant August 16, 1917 at Ft. Logan, Colorado. He received training at Ft. Riley, Kansas as part of Field Hospital Co. 16, Second Division Regulars, U.S. Army.

Field Hospital Co. 16 served in the American Expeditionary Forces from January of 1918 to August of 1919. Harry C. Brandes’ discharge papers list his service: Toulon Sector, Aisne Defensive, Chateau-Thierry Sector, Aisne-Marne Offensive, Marbache Sector, St Mihiel Offensive, Meuse-Argonne Offensive (Champagne), Meuse-Argonne and in the Army of Occupation from December 1918-July 1919.

From April 26, 1918 until January 4, 1919 Field Hospital Co. 16 handled over 28,000 patients, traveled over 1,560 kilometers, jumped (moved) 51 times, setting up the field hospital on each move.

They cared for the men of the Second Division which played a part of great military and historic importance in World War I. It served on seven fronts, fought five pitched battles or series of battles, always defeating the enemy, and won the right to have inscribed on its banners the names of the brilliant victories won by it at Chateau-Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel, Blanc Mont-Champagne, Meuse-Argonne. Its casualties were 732 officers and 23,653 enlisted men. This was 10 percent of the total casualties of the American Expeditionary Forces. It captured 12,026 prisoners and 343 cannon.

After discharge Harry Brandes returned to his home in Frederick, Oklahoma and married Hester Floy Longwell in August of 1920.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Favorite Picture

One of my favorites is this cute little fellow, Harry Brandes (1892-1974), my grandfather. He's all decked out in a white ruffled shirt and long skirt. And that hat! You can tell he thinks he's quite something. I'm guessing that he was about two or so when this was done so that would be about 1894. The family did not move to Oklahoma until about 1906 so this was in Illinois, probably Hillsboro, Montgomery County or Taylorville, Christian County as those were the largest towns close to Raymond where they lived when Harry was born. Since his daddy was a carpenter I wonder if the horse and wagon were his creations or just the photographer's props.

Harry's parents were Christian (Christ) Frederick Brandes (also spelled Brandis) and Wilhelmina Carolina Lange.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Is Lydia and She Is Dead.

The trunk was probably my great grandmother’s. It was obvious to me that the contents were the collections of Ida Conrad Longwell and her mother. The small picture caught my eye. It was alone in the trunk, not in an envelope, not with other pictures, just loose among the albums and papers. It is card size, about what we’d call ‘business card’ size today. I didn’t recognize the handwriting on the back as any that I’d seen before so this person must have been of an undiscovered generation before my great grandmother’s. I knew ‘Lamb’ was a family name.

But who was Lydia?

The line back from me to the Lamb family goes like this: Me, my dad Kenneth Brandes, his mother Floy Longwell Brandes, her mother, Ida Conrad Longwell, her mother Judith Lamb Conrad. That was as far as I’d taken my research at the time.

But who was Lydia?

During the years that followed the discovery of Lydia’s picture in about 1984, she stayed in my mind. Actually, I told people that she “haunted me”. Perhaps it was her challenge for me to continue to try to discover more about her and how she was related to me…or not. I took the picture out from time to time to just look at it. And, she continued to haunt me.

Before the photo technology that we have today where most of us use digital cameras, in order to get a good copy of a photograph you had to have a negative made and a print or prints from that. I know that most of you who read this will remember those times but it is necessary to say this as it is part of the story.

During the 1980’s I had a lot of negatives made from my old photographs. At that time we lived in Altus, the small town in southwestern Oklahoma just down the road from Frederick where my Dad was born. There was only one photographer in town that made negatives from old photographs, an elderly man who worked from his home. I usually took him a few pictures at a time to make copies as it was an expensive thing for me to be spending money on while we were trying to raise four kids. One particular trip to see him, I took Lydia along, kind of as a whim thinking I might be glad to have a negative of her at some point.

While discussing the order (you can see the old man's shaky writing: “2-3x5” on the back) I mentioned to Mr. “X” (darn if I can think of his name!) that Lydia had haunted me for years. His response was…”Well, she’s dead!”. “Of course she’s dead.” I said, “It says so on the back of the picture!”. I said this while laughing, thinking I might soon become hysterical. “No, no” he said, “She was dead when they took her picture!!”.

Oh, my!

At that point in my research experience I did not know that people even considered taking pictures of dead people although since then I've taken many myself. I found that it was a common practice in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It may have been the only photograph ever taken of a person. (There are lots of websites on the subject. Just search “postmortem photography” and you'll find more than you wanted to know).

“She was dead when they took her picture!!” No, wonder Lydia haunted me!

But, who was Lydia? It took me another ten years to find the answer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Experimenting with Blogging

I'm not a writer. My friends (and some of my relatives) will attest to that. Right Dusty? However, I really want to learn to write, especially about my research. I'd like to write short biographies of my (dead) ancestors and be able to share photos and documents and my notes and thoughts about them with those that might be interested in the particular families that I research.

This first post is about a picture that I found just a few days ago in a long time closed box that contained some of my grandmothers dishes. In the bottom was a stack of postcards that I'd never seen. Well, at least I don't remember ever having seen them. Anyway, among those post cards was a picture of two men that I recognized as my dad and his dad.

It is a picture in bad condition. My dad, Kenneth Brandes and his dad Harry Brandes are seated, looking at a book. It is hard for me to date this photo. Dad appears to be in his teens. Other pictures I have of him at about 18 when he joined the Navy show him with alot less hair so this one must be when he was a younger teen...maybe 15 or so...which would be about 1939-40. His dad (my "Pappy") looks really young to me here too.

Most interesting to me is the background. Gosh, what on earth is the pattern of those curtains? The rug isn't something I'd have picked either. Whose house is it? The love seat they are sitting on I was thrilled to see is the one I now have in my own home, inherited from my dad. Of course the finish and the upholstery is definitely not the same anymore. Floy Brandes (my "Nana") had it 'antiqued' sometime in the 1960's when it was popular to do that horrible thing to furniture. She had the baby grand piano done too and I remember almost passing out with shock when I saw it.

If this isn't my grandparents' house then it is likely that of my Great grandfather Christ Brandes My grandmother told me that the love seat had belonged to his wife Minnie (Wilhelmina Carolina Lange) and she died in 1915.

Probably, I'll have this picture restored. Too bad it isn't in color though as I'd really like to know what color that love seat upholstery was!