Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Among the pictures in the stack of abandoned family photographs I found in a Sonora, California, antique shop was one labeled, simply, Earl Purkey. Since we had already found some other photos with that surname—Purkey—the easy conclusion would be that Earl was part of that same family. Indeed, we had already seen another photo of the Purkey children, and "Leslie Earl" was one of the names on that photo's label.
Erastus Manford and Rebecca Olive Lewis Purkey. Leslie Earl provided us with the clue that, when his parents left Wisconsin to head out west, they didn't just move to Pocatello, Idaho. They apparently went first to Snohomish, Washington—at least, according to their son's World War I draft registration card, which told us that that was where he was born.
That registration card also let us know that Leslie Earl Purkey arrived in Washington on June 22, 1889—though his family soon moved to Idaho, where his sister Myrtle was born by 1892.
By the time of that same draft registration card, Leslie Earl Purkey was twenty seven years of age and still single—but not for long. An index on Ancestry.com hints at his Oregon marriage in 1920 to someone whom I later discovered, backtracking through records, was named Eva Rawlin—at least, that was what she was known as, subsequent to her previous marriage to Australian immigrant Robert Francis Rawlin. Before that previous 1905 marriage, she was known as Eva Tucker—a surname we'll need to remember for future reference.
Though Leslie Earl Purkey's marriage didn't last long—Eva apparently remarried—one son was born to this union. Whether that son is still alive—and, if alive, would be interested in receiving this photograph—I don't have any way of knowing. But once again, I'm putting it out there: here's one abandoned family photograph from almost one hundred years ago, with hopes that someone in the Purkey family would love to have it just as much as I'd like to find photos of my own ancestors.
Above: Undated photograph labeled "Earl Purkey" from a studio in Pocatello, Idaho; photograph currently in possession of author until claimed by a direct descendant of the subject.