Thursday, November 1, 2018
When That Face Looks So Familiar
Sometimes, the faces we see in photographs do not have the same look as they did in earlier versions of themselves. Other times, well, if the face still looks familiar, then run with it!
The very answer I was keen to find with the photographs I shared with you yesterday and the day before becomes the crux of the matter with yet another photograph. The older man in Tuesday's photo, who seems to be one and the same as the younger father in Wednesday's picture, is, in my mind, no other than the man in today's portrait of a mature couple taken in South Bend, Indiana.
Could it be the same man? Or am I being too hopeful about identifying a family to whom I can send these abandoned photographs?
If the man we've seen in the past two days' pictures is the same as this man, it makes a lot of sense that he and his wife would have had their picture taken in South Bend. The man and his wife—whom I believe to be George and Elmira Wymer of Marshall County, Indiana—had one daughter, as we've already discussed. This daughter Maude, her husband and her oldest two daughters were likely the younger family posing along with parents George and Elmira in Tuesday's photograph.
Maude's husband, Jesse Reed, apparently died sometime between the 1905 birth of their only son, Loyd, and Maude's subsequent June 1907 marriage to second husband Elbert Harris, a widower living in Michigan. Eventually, the blended family of Maude and Elbert Harris moved to South Bend, where they appeared in the 1910 census.
It would make sense that doting grandparents George and Elmira Wymer would move from their home in Marshall County to live in South Bend near their tragedy-struck daughter during that time period, but especially so upon the arrival of new grandson Franklin Harris in 1909. Then, too, recall the time squeeze in dating these photographs: grandpa George himself passed away in 1912.
If it weren't for what amounts to a timeless facial appearance for that grandfather—added, of course, to the helpful hint on the first photograph, naming Elmira and Maude as part of the Wymer family—I would have been left with three unidentified photographs.
Some people have faces and figures which change as they age. But young or mature, Mr. Wymer's appearance seemed changeless enough to decidedly spot him in all three pictures.
Above: Photograph of George and Elmira Purkey Wymer, taken in South Bend, Indiana, circa 1910. Photograph currently in possession of author until claimed by a direct descendant of the Wymer family.