Thursday, August 8, 2019

Placing Frank's Family

Abandoned family photographs sometimes seem an impossible challenge for those trying to figure out identities. With only a few facts, though—perhaps the location of the photography studio plus a set of given names—the identity of the subjects featured in the portrait can often be discovered. Such was the case with a photograph in my possession, thankfully labeled with a surname—though a common one—and a few other details.

The photograph, found in an antique store in Sonora, California, named almost everyone seated in that family portrait. Though the family's name was Tucker—admittedly a hard one to pin exactly on a specific family, being such a common surname—the photograph came with some helpful hints, written on labels on the back of the cabinet card. One of those hints concerned one of the sons, whose name was Frank.

We've already started examining what we can find about this Frank Tucker. For one thing, the family must have, at one point, lived near—or at least passed through—a little town in Nebraska called Wahoo. That's where the family portrait was taken. More important than that detail, though, was the note affixed to the back of the photograph, mentioning that Frank, one of the sons, was killed during World War I.

Fortunately, we were able to find a memorial for this Frank posted at Find A Grave, including a transcribed copy of two articles concerning his death, published in the Klamath Falls, Oregon, Evening Herald. The front page headlines on Wednesday, December 11, 1918, reported that, besides his wife, Frank Tucker left four brothers and two sisters. A later article mentioned his father's name was E. W. Tucker.

The only problem with this scenario is that it doesn't match up with the census record we had found for this immigrating Tucker family from Nebraska. If that record—both in 1900 and again in 1910—were correct, Frank's father's name should have been listed as Samuel. And while Frank had four brothers, at least from what we could glean from those census records, he happened to have three sisters.

Wrong Tuckers? Let's hold off on coming to a decision about this dilemma until we examine a few other records. After all, we've seen editorial errors before; perhaps the details provided will still bear us out.

Since that front page war article also mentioned one of Frank's sisters lived in Spokane, Washington, and the other one in Pocatello, Idaho, let's see if any of the three sisters mentioned in the Tucker census records moved from their residence in Oregon to either of those cities.

The youngest of the three Tucker sisters, Clarice, married a man by the name of William David Dowling. The wedding, in fact, was barely over five months before her brother's death. Until the late 1950s, Clarice continued to live in the vicinity of Klamath Falls, Oregon, close to many of her siblings. She, obviously, would not have been one of the two sisters mentioned in Frank's obituary if, indeed, this was the right family constellation.

That was the youngest of the three Tucker sisters. The oldest, Eva, married a man by the name of Robert Rawlin, and by the time of the 1910 census, she was living in Spokane. One point for us on that score; let's see if this is mere coincidence, or whether she had a sister living in Pocatello.

The other sister, Maud, married a man named Burt Purkey, and by the time of the 1910 census, she and her husband were living with her in-laws in—you guessed it—Pocatello, Idaho. And there's two points covered.

Looking at the names in that last census record starts to conjure up a strange déjà vu feeling for me, and perhaps it does for you, too, if you have been reading along here at A Family Tapestry for a while. Besides that, Maud is the same one who was mentioned in the second hint provided on the back of the Tucker family photograph, a detail we'll examine further, tomorrow. 


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