Sepia Saturday – A Gathering

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.

A gathering of children and two adults in front of a wooden building. Sixty-nine children, if I counted correctly.

Tom Hoskins, 2nd row, 4th from left

My grandfather, Thomas Hoskins, is one of the school children pictured. He is the tallish looking boy, second row, fourth from the left.

Tom Hoskins

If you followed along in the series I wrote about the life and death of Wilbur Hoskins, an uncle who died at five years of age due to complications from measles, you might remember Tom as Wilbur’s father. I think little Wilbur favored his father.

Wilbur Hoskins

Tom Hoskins was born Mystic, Iowa in 1896. He looks to me to be around 8-10 years of age in this school photo, so I’m guessing the photo is from 1904-06. Unfortunately, the back of the photo doesn’t provide much in the way of helpful information except to identify my grandfather.

There are four handwriting samples here. I don’t know who wrote the original Thomas Hoskins on the back. Was it Tom himself, or one of his parents? I’ll have to try to figure that out. The sideways identification in pen was written by my grandmother – Tom’s wife. My mother wrote the instructions for finding Tom on the left side. And I guess I thought it needed some further clarification, as that is my sideways print on the right.

In another follow up to the series on Wilbur …

I was left wondering where my grandfather sought treatment after a “mental breakdown” following Wilbur’s death. This postcard had only “Wilbur” written on the back. There were no other clues.

Going back through my grandparents’ papers recently, I found a certificate and receipts showing that my grandfather had sought treatment in Excelsior Springs, MO in 1927 for an entirely unrelated condition.

Perhaps he had previously found healing in Excelsior Springs and returned there for healing once again. That’s my best guess.

Switching gears:

My last Sepia Saturday post was about my first grade teacher, Miss Willard. Mister Mike of temposenzatempo left this comment on the post: Miss Willard’s birthplace in Marion, KS caught my attention as I wrote a long story last year about a 1890s photographer from there. I included an image of the Marion public school and I bet my photographer knew the Willard family. Here is the link: Mrs. McMullin Took Their Picture

Mike’s comment sent me to his story that takes place in Marion, KS and then to my newspaper subscriptions before I finished reading his blog entry, then back to his blog. I learned that Miss Willard’s parents both had businesses in Marion. Her father was in business with another man as a carpenter and contractor. Her mother had a millinery shop and was also a dressmaker. Later, her father, Charles E. Willard decided to open a restaurant two doors down from his wife’s new location – his restaurant in the building that previously housed her store.

When I went back to MIke’s blog, right there in the right hand columns of the ads for Mrs. McMullin’s railroad photos, I found an ad for Mrs. Willard’s millinery shop …

and for Mr. Willard’s carpentry business – Pyle and Willard, Carpenters and Builders.

The Willard’s lost their home to fire in Nov. of 1896 and then disappear from the Kansas newspapers. Perhaps this loss led to their move to Ottumwa, Iowa.

Marion Headlight (Marion, KS) 19 Nov 1896

I’ll bet the Willard’s were acquainted with the town photographer that Mister Mike wrote about. Perhaps she took a photograph of my teacher as a little girl.

Please gather at Sepia Saturday to see what others have done with the prompt image.

11 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – A Gathering

    • My grandparents kept quite a few receipts and other papers – which is good for me! Not everything I want, of course.

  1. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a fellow Sepian’s post help another find out more information about someone or something they’re searching for, or find what could be a coincidental connection, and that’s one of the neat things about our group. Sure wish we could entice some of our missing members back to actively post with us again! But I’m glad for those of us die-hards who are sticking it out and keeping positive about it!

    • I put the word out to my Facebook friends, hoping to encourage old or new participants. Kat said she would participate next week!

  2. I was surprised to find Excelsior Springs, MO here. I lived there for about 3 years in the mid 1980s. It wasn’t a big healing center any more but the Hall of Waters was still offering a wide variety of healthful waters for sale.

  3. Wow! I’m very pleased to have added a connection to your wonderful story on Miss Willard. But I never expected that the evidence was hiding in plain sight in my clipping! Small town newspapers are amazing compendiums of life in the olden times. I’m now sure Mrs McMullin photographed the Willard family. With a little more research they may have belonged to the same church or social group. Their tragic fire is also a lesson about why the first detailed maps of towns were produced by insurance companies trying to assess risk by identifying the distance to fire hydrants. Sadly for some people the solution was to start over in another town.

    Your discovery of that sanitorium certificate makes a much better closure to Wilbur’s story. And I am very impressed that your grandfather saved such an unusual ephemera but then again it makes perfect sense. How many hospitals today would give a lifetime free warranty on a medical procedure?

  4. It was great fun to find the Willard’s in your clipping. I’m so glad you shared the link with me. If I get the urge to learn more some day, maybe I’ll go looking for more connections.
    Yes – that life time guarantee is quite a deal. Not only did my grandfather keep the certificate, but receipts for payments made – I think it was $65.

  5. How great that fellow Sepians have information of other’s families! And in a small town newspaper no less! I enjoyed reading about the connections. I’ve been a sporadic contributor because I’m dealing with documents more than photos, which don’t exactly meet the Sepia criteria..

  6. Hot springs and mineral springs were so very popular at that time, so it’s no wonder Tom Hoskins headed to one.

    LOVE the connection you made with Mr. Mike’s help. It almost has that “small world” feel.

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