Sepia Saturday – Sisters, But Not

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

Today’s prompt image is a photograph of Lala Williams and Elgie Crook from the Samuel Bell Maxey Collection at the Texas State Archives. Upon first glance, we might assume that the two young girls are sisters. We would be wrong – but not entirely. Elgie’s mother and Lala’s father were siblings. Elgie’s mother died when she was a little girl and she was sent to be brought up by her uncle. The cousins grew up as sisters.

And so I have chosen a picture of two (older) girls who are not exactly sisters, yet they are.



















The young woman kneeling is my grandmother, Eveline Coates. She is pictured with Edna Hoskins. On the back of the photograph, my grandmother wrote “Pals”.

And so we know that she and Edna were close.

Eveline and Edna grew up in the small communities of Walnut and Mystic, Appanoose County, Iowa. In the 1920 U. S. Census, their family homes are separated by one house. Eveline and Edna both married in 1923 – Eveline in February and Edna in August. With the marriage of Eveline Coates to Thomas Hoskins, Eveline and Edna became sisters…in law.

I have a picture of Edna that may have been taken on the same day.

Edna Hoskins

I think Edna looks happier in the company of Eveline. Or maybe she just didn’t want to stand in the cornfield.

And here is a picture of Eveline wearing the same dress – but this doesn’t look like it was taken on the same day. Her hair is different. She is in a different location. And she has a pretty lace hat.

Eveline Coates


















It is hard to tell, but Eveline may be wearing a ring on her left hand – possibly her wedding ring, which would date this picture (or both?) as 1923 or later.

A few years ago, I found a heritage craft in a magazine that I took inspiration from and made this little tribute to Eveline and Edna.

To see what others have created with today’s sisterly prompt, visit Sepia Saturday.



31 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Sisters, But Not

  1. What a creative way to display the photograph! And now you have given them a masterful online tribute as well. Eveline and Edna do look happier together. And thanks for providing a little back story on our Sepia Saturday muses.

  2. Thank you for telling us about Lala and Elgie – you are the first who appears to have done her/his home work. I never thought of sisters-in-law as a theme. At the risk of sounding corny I am always amazed by maize. Edna and Eveline make a fine pair enhanced by your tribute to them.

    • I was going to go with a picture of Eveline and her younger sister until I read that the girls in the prompt were not sisters. That corn is tall, isn’t it?

  3. Thanks for your fine detective work. I have to admit I was too lazy (this time). It is good to hear that Evelyn married the boy (almost) next door. The top picture is particularly charming.

  4. I was going to say maybe she had allergies and didn’t want to stand in the field, but then I got to thinking did folks have those allergies back then like they do so much today? Now there’s and interesting point to google! Great pictures, thanks for sharing them.

    • I haven’t lived around corn since I was small and it was always tall to me then. But I agree with you – it looks very tall. Maybe the picture was to show off the corn!

  5. “Pals” — I’ve seen that written on many photos belonging to my great-aunt. I guess no one had coined “BFF” then, so “Pals” it was. Very sweet story on how 2 pals became sisters-in-law.

  6. Ah! I was wondering about this “sisters” mystery, and now of course, I understand.

    I really do love what you’ve done with the picture frame, and I’m not ordinarily one for all the country-scrapbook type embellishments. I do like this though – really suits the image.

    • Thanks, Kat. I thought the idea from the magazine was nice, so I put it together from things I had around the house. For something with no forethought, I thought it turned out ok.

  7. The topic of sisters who are not-quite-sisters, or sisterly cousins, is very appealing to me. I was born and lived for four years in my cousin’s house, when my father was in World War II. She and I have always been like sisters, and we are still close. As a baby, I was provided “family” besides my mother by my cousin and her mother, my aunt. Don’t know what I would have done without them. Thank you for all these photos with such authentic expressions of the women in them!

    • My mom felt very close to her cousins. They didn’t live in the same home, but in the same small town growing up and she spent a lot of time with them and in their homes. I think her aunts especially were sometimes 2nd mothers. Those family ties are much looser for me, but especially for my children who have never lived in the same town – or in some cases the same state – as their cousins. How nice that you have such a special relationship with your cousin! Thank you for your kind comments!

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