Sepia Saturday – An Uncle I Never Knew: A Tow-headed Boy

The month of January and a health emergency declared in the state of Washington because of a measles outbreak had me thinking about an uncle I never knew.

One can only imagine the joy felt by Tom and Eveline Hoskins upon the arrival of their first child, Wilbur Thomas.

Tom and Eveline celebrated their first wedding anniversary on Sunday, March 23, 1924 and eleven days later, Wilbur was born on April 3rd. He was likely born at the home of his maternal grandparents, Mary and Joseph Coates, as that is where the rest of Tom’s and Eveline’s children were born.

When Wilbur was three months old, the family posed outside on a sunny day for a photograph. Eveline was twenty-three; Tom was twenty-seven.

My grandmother Eveline’s handwriting identifies the time and place, but not the occasion. The baby’s light-colored gown might suggest his baptism, or maybe the occasion was simply that Wilbur was three months old.

A later photograph shows Wilbur sitting in a wicker stroller in front of a wall of some kind. Wilbur is outfitted for a chilly day.

Let’s have a closer look without all that wasted space to detract from the center of attention. This photograph is not dated, but Wilbur looks to be about two years old.

There is another photograph that suggests that Wilbur may not have been the child originally in the stroller that day. In this photograph, Wilbur kneels beside the stroller and his baby brother, Albert, occupies center stage.

Albert was born on January 20, 1926. Perhaps this is his three-month photograph, which would be right around Wilbur’s second birthday. Wilbur seems to have a protective hand on Albert’s chest, perhaps helping him sit up without falling forward.

On a warmer day in 1926, Tom and Eveline brought the boys outside for a photograph. Eveline sat on a chair and held baby Albert, while two-year-old Wilbur, his blonde hair blown by the breeze, stood on the chair behind his mother, looking over her shoulder and holding on to her for support. Albert, dressed in a light-colored gown and bonnet, looked down at his foot, but Wilbur looked straight at the camera.

This last photograph of Wilbur is perhaps my favorite. He looks a little younger in this one. Could it have been taken in the fall of 1925 when apples were ripe for picking?

I wonder what Wilbur was saying while holding that big apple?

The prompt photo this week is a series of photos of a man walking and tipping his hat. My response to the prompt is to begin a series of posts about Wilbur. I have major surgery scheduled for Monday, so we’ll see if I follow through. I have the next post almost finished, so I should at least follow through with that one!

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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. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

15 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – An Uncle I Never Knew: A Tow-headed Boy

  1. How neat to have this series of photos…worked well with the prompt. Fun to see Mystic, Iowa, on the photo…another reminder of our shared history. And here’s another…my birthday is on the same day as Albert’s…January 20th…21 years later. Hope all goes well with surgery and a full recovery is made.

    • My name is peggy marie Clark,salina kansas .William Aaron Strange and Una were my grandparents my mother was Loreen jo (the oldest of una and williams) I love the way you have laid out our strange ancestor and thankyou for all your hard work .

  2. I have an uncomfortable feeling about where this series of pictures featuring Wilbur is going since you mentioned the measles outbreak in Washington & Oregon, but I’ll wait to see what the next installment brings?

  3. Dear Kathy, you’re so good at describing the photos. I enjoy the details of them. Hope the surgery goes well and get well soon.💗

  4. A wonderful set very evocative of the era. I imagine bringing up a family then in a rural small town presented parental challenges very different from today’s modern life.
    I wish you a speedy recovery too.

  5. I LOVE these photos. You are so clever to create a series of Wilbur at different ages. I confess, I dreaded reading this post because your headnote made me think this little boy died from measles. Whew – glad that wasn’t the case.

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