Everything’s Relative

Everything’s Relative

The lighter side of family history.

April winners: silly subtitles

If these oddballs showed up in your ancestral album, what would you think they were up to? We chose four readers’ captions as the cleverest explanations for this ancestral escapade. Each winner gets a copy of Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs, 2nd edition, by Maureen A. Taylor (Family Tree Books).

Ma Kettle had the gang ready to ride, but unfortunately, the internal combustible engine hadn’t been invented yet.

Jarrod W. Van Kirk, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Mr. Drysdale chauffeurs Jethro and Jed Clampett, Miss Jane Hathaway (shooting) and Cranny on a trip to rustle up some grub behind the cement pond.

Linda Sorenson, Rockford, Ill.

Great-aunt Martha was a visionary: She coached her team for the Olympics in the “Full Family Garden Luge” event.

Salli Rice, Hope, British Columbia, Canada

“The missus said I could buy one of those newfangled cars when pigs fly. Hold it steady, Olaf, he’s in my sights!”

Diana Thornton, Beaumont, Texas

While in exile from New York state, John Hardy Page (right) married Isabelle Francis Barrett (left) by proxy.

Long-Distance Relationship

My great-grandfather John Hardy Page, born in 1837 in New York state, was a Civil War Army doctor at Fort Scott, Kan. Later, he worked at frontier forts and in private practice in Emporia, Kan., and delivered his own children and a few of his grandchildren. He received his medical training and lived in his home state until, as the family story goes, he became involved with illegally using cadavers and was invited to leave the state and never go back.

In 1865, John married Isabelle Francis Barrett (born Francis Isabelle Barrett, but she didn’t want her initials to be F.I.B.). The wedding was in Elba, NY — but remember, he wasn’t welcome there; he was in Kansas. The preacher wrote him:

Last evening at the J.B. Barretts before a select Co of friends about 30 I had the pleasure of uniting yourself & Miss Isabelle in wedlock on your written pledge & Miss I’s personal pledge of love & fidelity…. Your dear wife will write you the particulars no doubt. It was a surprise to all the Co but the relatives. I write you more particularly to thank you for your photograph & the very liberal fee you sent me — $5 more than I ever received before, in some 140 marriages; $10 being the highest…. May your love be mutual and perpetual till death shall separate & you both have good reasons to rejoice that God in his good providence brought you together. Yours with esteem G.S. Corwin.

Their lasting love is evidenced in two poems John wrote to Isabelle in their later years called “Spring Time” and “Love Time” (signed To my dear wife: from her loving “old man” J.H.P. and To Her I Love from Fond “Hubby”).

Their children followed in John’s medical footsteps: Two, including my grandmother, were doctors and one was a dentist. All ended up in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Bob Parsons
Littleton, Colo.
From the June 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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