My Fair Lady Wishes You A Happy Christmas!

Sent with no message, December 22, 1909

This fair lady sends greetings for a Happy Christmas. Seven year old Donald C. Minor received this card at Christmastime 1909, and though the painting is not signed, I believe it to be another Ellen H. Clapsaddle card.  Why?

  1. An embossed frame of gold holds the portrait of a sweet young lady, hair swept stylishly up and under a hat bedecked with fresh roses.  A ruffled collar frames a face full of youthful innocence.  Such a joyful illustration of Victorian youth is characteristic of Ellen H. Clapsaddle’s work.
  2. Turning the card over, I discovered this:
  3. The International Art Publishing Company was established in 1895, merging companies formerly run by Messrs. Wolf and Samuel Garre.  Their most prolific artist was Ellen H. Clapsaddle, as I discovered while researching Skating to Greet YOU!, a card also printed in 1909.

Until a collector convinces me otherwise, I stand on my judgement: My Fair Lady is a Clapsaddle original.  Happy Christmas!

A Joyous Christmastide – Christmas in Postcards

Printed in Germany

Dear Cousin

Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since.  Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy

A happy Christmas “meow” to you! The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor of Greene County, Pennsylvania wishes for a joyous Christmastide.  The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.”  Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.

The note’s salutation led me on a goose-chase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan.  The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11 am, 1909.  While some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I haven’t seen the name Vannroy in any family documents.  

Finally, exasperated, I took the shortcut offered at the Thomas Minor (The Immigrant) Society web page, searching the site by surname.  Within the descendant surname list I spotted the family name: VANNOY.  When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.

The Story Unfolds

Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert.  John P. was the eldest, then Olfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Priscilla.  Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane.  Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906.  They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.

Behind this pair of kitten’s lies a family story wherein Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa.  In the fall of 1909 Bedie traveled home with her family, including young Ivan, returning to Iowa before winter set in. The Christmas kittens were then sent in three-year-old Ivan’s name to six-year-old Donald, the cousin with whom he had played during his Pennsylvania visit.

A Joyous Christmastide to you and yours!

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It All Starts Here

It all starts here, with a man of determination and cunning, ambition and drive. 

John Pierson Minor was born in 1791 in Middlesex, New Jersey, the eldest child of Abia and Margaret Pierson (Pearson) Minor.  The couple moved their family to the wilds of Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1796, and there John Pierson grew up and prospered.  

A veteran of the War of 1812 he began his family in 1816 with Hannah McClelland.  They had two boys, Abia and Robert, before she died.  John P. then married Isabella McClelland and together they had Hannah, Mary Ann, Margaret, Rebecca, Samuel Pierson, Francis Marion, Isabelle, Sarah Ellen, and Frances Caroline.  John P. Minor was a cattle drover, a farmer, a dry goods store entrepenuer, and in his later years a cattle dealer.  Recognizing the land as the asset of his century, John P. purchased hundreds of acres around his home farm in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in addition to hundreds of acres in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.  Much of this land was passed on to his offspring; the rest was sold as seemed prudent.  John P. was a Democrat throughout the Civil War, supporting the reunion of the country but opposing the abolition of slavery.  He lived out his later years in the home of his middle son, Francis Marion and Mary Jane Gwynn Minor with their children, John Pierson, Olfred, Sarah Priscilla and baby Robert (b. 1869). He died at home in 1874.  

This portrait of my great-great-great-grandfather was taken near the end of his life by Greene County photographer, Thomas W. Rogers of Public Square, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.  

Christmas Presents of Christmas Past: 1960

If safe-keeping is any indication of what we value, then a Santa gift from 1960 must be one of my most important treasures.  Both the doll and the doll bed, complete with original bedclothes sewn by my mother, are stored in my attic, saved for some distant day when a grandchild comes to visit.  

Wordless Wednesday: Minors of Greene County – 1875

With my trusty Flip Pal scanner, I captured this image of a family heirloom.  The photograph is snugly framed, with a sturdily nailed backing that I didn’t want to disturb.  So I did the best I could and scanned from on top of the glass.  The image  will be useful in identifying other photographs that my mother is letting me take home, since we know the identities of these folks.

Seated are my great-great grandparents, Mary Jane Gwynn and Francis Marion Minor.  The little boy standing to their left is my great-grandfather, Robert Minor.  Standing behind the trio are the older children – Sarah Priscilla, John Pierson and Olfred Minor.  I know that Robert was born in 1869, and he looks to be about 5 or 6 here;  T W Rogers of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania took this photograph sometime in the mid-1870s then.

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