Ah! Another page of familiar faces. This woman’s stare…I have seen it somewhere. The eyebrows are a horizontal accent to an intense gaze. The mouth is held in a slight frown and she has that Minor Roman nose. Who does this woman remind me of?
Sarah Minor, that’s who! My great-grandfather’s sister.
The story here is of a blended family, thrown together by society’s constraints and family tragedy. Both Owen and Sarah lost their first spouses and were left with a daughter each to raise alone. They joined forces to make a stronger family unit, and created one more daughter–Florence. Or Flossie as I knew her.
Yes! That little girl grew up and lived down the street from my Minor grandparents in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, though I remember Flossie as an old, very old lady. Flossie and Arthur Titus were regular visitors during our summer visits, and it pleases me no end to have a photograph that unites my ancestral and my childhood pasts.
I have scanned a number of family photographs from the early 1900s recently. I paused over this one, and returned to gaze upon this scene, time after time. The baby of the trio, Paul, appears to have pulled the book, hard, his way, so that he can see what Ivan and Janet are smiling about. Click on the photograph, to the attachment, and take some time to enlarge this group shot. The children are not reading a book aloud, to keep Paul still. They are looking at a photograph of three children. I imagine Paul, clambering up on the table while yelling, “Let me see! Let me see!” When at last he sits still, photograph in hand, little Paul shrieks with delight. “That’s ME!”
Then, in that moment of still recognition, Al Eckerman captured his subjects in this beautiful portrait.
Bedie Harrington Vannoy was the daughter of Sarah Minor Harrington McClure. Born in Greene County, Pennsylvania around 1880, Beatrice “Bedie” married John Vannoy in the early part of the 20th century and moved with him to Iowa, where he was a minister. Bedie kept close touch with her family back home, writing frequently, particularly to Donald Minor, her cousin, born in 1902.
As she had children, Bedie would write postcards to Donald and her grandfather, Francis Marion, who lived with Donald and his parents, Robert and May Minor. This photograph was one such card, and reads:
“Dear Grandpa, We are all well and enjoying a cool wave very much for it has been so awfle (sic) dry and hot here. This is our new baby. He has no name yet but weighs 16 lbs. He is awfle (sic) good and we think him fine. Janet and Ivon have grown so much this summer. I hope you are well and enjoying life every day. I often think of you. Lovingly your Granddaughter Bedie
If you are a descendant of John and Bedie Vannoy and would like copies of the family portraits within my family archives, please contact me!
In 1911, Donald Minor’s cousin, Bedie Harrington Vannoy, had her third child out in Iowa. The little boy was eventually named Paul, and returned with siblings Ivan and Janet to visit their grandmother, Sarah Minor Harrington McClure, and their great-grandpa, Francis Marion Minor, with whom Donald lived while his father convalesced from migraines in health resorts like the Markleton Sanitorium.
The Tama, Iowa photographer, C. W. Wright, printed the photograph of this six-year-old on postcard stock, and the note accompanied other mail delivered to Ceylon Lane, Garard’s Fort, Pennsylvania.