Uncle John Visits The Chippewa Tribe of Manistee 1926

In an address Stacy C. Thompson gave to the Filer P.T.A. on February 25, 1932, he goes into considerable detail concerning the history of the Chippewa Tribe of Manistee, Michigan:

“A government reservation was set aside for them, embodying a strip of land six miles in width and extending 22 miles east and west, including the valley of the Manistee River and the river outlet into Lake Michigan.  This reservation was taken up by the government in 1849 and the land brought into market.  The tribal relations of the Manistee Indians were then broken up, some migrating to the Leland reservation north of us, some scattered elsewhere, and some remaining in the vicinity of the outlet of Bear Creek into the Big Manistee River, where numbers of their decedents still live.  While there is no census showing the early population of the Chippewas, it was estimated that those on the reservation numbered about 1,000 in all.”

Stacy continues:

“When your speaker came here 62 years ago, an old Manistee Indian Chief, blind and said to be nearly 100 years old, was frequently led along the streets with a string by a young brave.  His Indian name — as near as it could be put into English — was ‘Ke-wax-i-cum.’ He said that when he was a boy he hoed corn on the marsh between what is now Parkdale and Eastlake. He was the last chief of the local tribe, and stated that his father lived here before him.  During the early 1870’s numerous Indians camped on the north side of the Manistee River where the Century Boat Co’s plant now stands, and the squaws did the limited washing by pounding the clothes in the water with a stick — quite a different process from the present electric washer.”

Stacy and four brothers travelled with their father, Stacy Webb Thompson, to Michigan shortly after the Civil War.  Here is  a photograph of Stacy and two of his brothers taken near their home in Curwinsville, Pennsylvania. Stacy is in the center.  His brother John is to the left and his brother Edwin is to the right.

John Edwin Stacy Thompson circa 1864

In 1926, Stacy’s brother, John Alexander Thompson and his family returned to Manistee where he was once its Postmaster.  John had left Manistee many years earlier with his wife Ella Long Thompson, first traveling to Colorado and later establishing a stock brokerage firm at the distinguished address 55 Wall Street, New York, New York. Ella Thompson died in 1924.

John Alexander Thompson 1926

It must have been quite a reunion in the summer of 1926.  One of the activities that Stacy offered his brother’s family was to visit the remains of the Chippewa Tribe “in the vicinity of the outlet of Bear Creek into the Big Manistee river.”

Indian Camp Manistee 4

Here  we see the John Thompson Family –  John, daughter Faith Sayles and granddaughter Hope – along with three of Stacy’s children – Stacy W., Gail and Ida May – standing with a tribal elder of the Chippewa Tribe.

Indian Camp Manistee 3

The back of this photo says: “Gail Blanche Thompson, an old Indian and Hope Thompson Sayles.  July, 1926”

Indian Camp Manistee 2

This photo has no inscription  on the back, however to the left is the Indian Family and to the right is Ruth Porter Anderson, Marian Thompson with two of her children.

Indian Camp Manistee 5

This photo also has no inscription, but clearly shows two children from the Indian Tribe and two children from the Thompson Tribe.

Indian Camp Manistee 6

On the back of his photo is the inscription: “Hope Thompson Sayles and Gail Blanche Thompson at Green Lake.”  I presume Green lake is in the vicinity of the Old Indian Camp.

The Thompson’s must have visited the Old Indian Camp many times,  As a boy I remember traveling to see the Tribe.  I have no photographs, but some memories.  In 1928 some of the Thompson’s returned to the Old Indian Camp.

Indian Camp Manistee 1

Indian Camp Manistee 1 back

Another visit, another generation.  This time Guy Thompson Jach, grandson of Stacy C. Thompson visits “Chief Wiggiwamus”, then 82 years old.


California Cousins: Jack P. Anderson, A Cousin I Never Met

Growing up in Michigan, I knew that there were cousins in other parts of the country, but I really didn’t know where.  I was especially interested in California Cousins because even at a young age I knew that living in California was to be a part of my destiny.  All I had to do was grow up to a point where I could leave Michigan and find my spot in California.

It must have been the same  way for the Porters and Anderson’s who grew up in Manistee, Michigan. They left Manistee in the late teens of the early Twentieth Century, moving as a family to Detroit, Michigan where on May 2, 1917, Jack Anderson was born.

Jack A Infant nude

The Porters and Anderson’s lived on Lincoln Avenue in Detroit, Michigan for a short time  as an extended family.  The Federal Census of 1920 lists 8 people living together at 76 Lincoln Avenue.  Many of the persons listed are just names to me, but I think at least two are relatives of Jerry Anderson.  Jack appears to have had a happy, but not always happy childhood as you will see in the gallery of photographs below, all taken in Detroit and Manistee, Michigan before 1921 when the Anderson and Porter family left Michigan for their new lives in California.

In 1921 Bess Porter received a postcard from a friend in Onekama, Michigan, with a prophetic message.

Jack A postcard Onekama

The postcard was from a Mrs. John Muller, showing her on the front porch of the Lakeview Hotel on the banks of Lake Michigan, in Onekama, Michigan.

Jack A postcard back

The postcard is dated June 16, 1921 and has the following message:  “I expect this will be my home for the summer.  Wish you were here for a time, but I believe you have got the Cal. Fever. You will wish you were back in good ole Michigan before you are   there for a week. Write me a letter.  Our love to Both.  Our address: Lakeview Hotel, Onekama, Michigan.”

In 1921, the Porters and Anderson’s arrived in California, the place they would call home for the rest of their lives.

Porches 28

Jack was four when he arrived in California, and started to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine that his new home had to offer. His picture with a horned goat portends a time later in his life when he was stationed in the Mid-east during World War 11.

He went to Manzanita School in Oakland, California. You can see him in the back row third from the right.

Jack A boy Manzanita School

Jack and his family left Oakland, California for Sacramento where Jack grew into adolescence and early adulthood.

He graduated High School in Sacramento, California.

Jack A youth

Before long World War 11 was declared and Jack enlisted in the Army AirForce.  He had already met the love of his life, Lucy.  They were ready to get married when the war broke out, but postponed their marriage until after Jack returned.

Jack A WWll portrate

Jack was stationed in Bagdad where he worked on bombers that played a crucial part in the war.

Jack A WWll airplane

Jack also had some fun while there as can be seen in the next set of photographs.  He spent some time in Cairo, Egypt.

Jack A WWll Pyramids

Remember the photo of Jack as a boy riding a cart drawn by a goat?  Well later in life he would have the opportunity of repeating the act, however this time it would be in the Mid-east and horses would be drawing the cart.

Jack A WWll horses and cart

Jack met Lucy at a USO dance.  She remained in Sacramento during the war and for a time took care of Jerry Anderson who had contracted tuberculosis and decided to stay at home rather that retreat to Weimar clinic in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

When the war was over, Jack returned to Sacramento where he and Lucy were married.

Jacck A wedding Lucy and company


And, as is often said: “The rest is history.”  I enjoyed recounting part of the life of my cousin through the photos loaned to me by Lucy Anderson.  I trust I got much of the history correct, however I rely on you the viewers, especially the Anderson viewers, to correct me where I have erred.



Porches: Manistee, Detroit, Oakland and Sacramento


Ludwig and Emma Bucher’s Front Porch Parkdale, Michigan 1910


This is the front porch of my great grandparents home in the small town of Parkdale, bordering Manistee, Michigan.  The photograph appears to have been taken in 1910.  I recognize the small girl on the lap of my great grandmother as being “Aunt Hazel” born in 1909. All eyes are focused towards the camera save those of my great grandmother whose attention is on the small child on her lap.  Uncle Earl sits to the side of my great grandmother, apart from the rest of the family.  My grandmother Blanche, with a white gardinia in her hair sits next to my grandpa Walter. Great grandfather Ludwig sits with Uncle Goodenow on his lap.  Uncle Otto and Aunt Lilly are to the right of my grandparents; Aunt Lilly has a dog in her lap. My father is on a lower step wearing knickers and appearing sullen and uneasy.

It is early summer in Parkdale,  with lilies  in the foreground and roses adorning the lattice work above the porch.  A lone canary hangs in its cage directly above my great grandfather. The windows are trimmed with lace curtains, pulled apart to allow sun to enter the interior of the house. The curved steps leading to the porch and front door appear to be worn with scuff marks from shoes hitting the back of them.

This is the scene that my ancestors chose to create, preserve and pass down for others to see. This is my family’s photograph which I have looked at countless times throughout my life.  More than any other photograph, this one identifies to me my family as it existed over one hundred years ago.

Here we see other photos of porches with people either on them or posing in front of them.  All are from the Anderson Collection and show many photos of Ruth Porter. In the last photo we see Bessie with another person sitting on a back porch with a broom standing upright behind them.

76 Lincoln Ave closeup (2)_0001

Shortly after Ruth Porter became Ruth Anderson, the Porters and Andersons left Manistee and moved to Detroit, Michigan.  They moved into a new house on Lincoln Avenue.  Here we see them on their front porch, looking quite happy. Bessie is seen sitting on the top step of the porch.  Her husband, Albert, is sitting in a chair.  Her daughter, Ruth, is standing on the lawn in front of the porch and her husband, Jerry Anderson, is standing near the stairs holding their son, Jack. They stayed in Detroit for a short time, then moved on to California where they first lived in Oakland before moving on to Sacramento where they  remained for the rest of their lives.

76 Lincoln Ave Detroit, Michigan 1919A wider view of the same photograph shows this house to be larger than that of my great grandmother.  However the porch is smaller and a sidewalk appears to be quite close to the row of houses that have been built along Lincoln Avenue in Detroit. One can imagine the street to be just to the left of the row of trees that border the street, and knowing the year of this photograph to be 1918, it is easy to image cars traveling up and down the street. In the Federal Census of 1920, the Porters and Andersons are listed as living at 76 Lincoln Avenue.  The Randalls (Bessie’s older sister’s family) are listed as living at 66 Lincoln Avenue.

76 Lincoln Ave. Street scene

Here we see Lincoln Avenue in Winter, trees laden with snow, a lone car approaching, the Anderson house to the far right.

76 Lincoln Ave. Detroiit in winter

And here we see the Anderson house with  a visitor approaching the front porch.

Here are other photos, the first showing Bessie on her front porch, the middle may be Jerry’s mother and the last is Bessie, this time looking away, perhaps dreaming about moving westward to California.


Porches 61

By 1921 Albert and Bessie, along with Ruth, Jerry and Jack are living in Oakland, California.

Porches 36

They moved from house to house, experiencing California in the 1920’s.  Houses were closer together than in Detroit, but the porches still were central to the neighborhood.

Porches 37


Porches 12

One house in the Anderson Collection stands out from the rest.  I think that this is Jack Anderson.  He obviously is all decked out in his Sunday best, standing on the sidewalk near his front porch.

Porches 25

The address is 2841.  I know neither the street nor the city, but this house with its welcoming front porch is showcased in many photos.

Porches 44_0001

One of the very few with writing on the back, this one says: “This is the back showing my breakfast room with the vines about the window and my neighbor boys – also the garbage can.”

There are front porches and back porches.


Porches 27

Porches 26

Besse and Albert are seen on large porches as well as small ones: sitting, standing, together, alone.  These photos are all taken in Sacramento which will be their home for the remainder of their lives.

Porches 52


Jerry’s mother visits one of these porches.   On the back of this photo is written: “Ruth purchased the beautiful corsage she is wearing on her right shoulder and it made her happy to be made of.”

The Andersons, The Thompsons, the Porters and their friends have been seen on many different porches throughout their lives. Take a few moments to sit with them, say hello to them and wish them well, wherever their spirits may dwell. I leave you today with a photo from the Ellsworth Thompson family porch, taken in Roseville, Michigan in 1940.  Many of the people you first saw  on my great grandmother’s porch in 1910 are again seen on this porch.  The oldest woman in the photo is my great grandmother Emma, however this time, instead of a little girl commanding her attention, it is a little boy – yours truly.  The woman with the lovely smile is my mother, Mabel. She has her arms around her second born son, John, who is severely mentally retarded. That didn’t interfere with a mother’s love that is so poignantly evidenced by this photo.

Roseville 1940 grandma B


Courting in Manistee 1913

In 1913, Ruth Porter and Jerry Anderson were an “item.”  Ruth was 15 and Jerry was four years older.  Included in this collection of photos are those taken at Orchard Beach, another taken on board a boat anchored along the shores of Lake Michigan and still others taken in stylish automobiles that recently replaced the horse and buggy as a favorite way to go on a Sunday afternoon tour.

Courting 1

B&B Boat&people

Courting 7

Of course, I was not around in 1913, so I can only surmise what fun these folks were having.  But from what I see and what you will see in the following gallery of photos, they were having the time of their lives. They were young, good looking and enjoying life in a most picturesque place in Northern Michigan.  Soon most of them would leave for other parts of the globe, but for a while they lived and “courted” in Manistee, Michigan,

Here are Ruth and Jerry which I might have guessed was taken after their marriage as there is a small boy in a carriage that they are pulling along a board walk.  However when I examined the back, Ruth had written: “Taken at Manistee September 19, 1913.”

Courting 18


It was a different time and all of us who gaze at these photos can only guess what it was like to be alive when the automobile first made its appearance in Manistee, let alone a few years after Albert Einstein wrote his treatise on Relativity, or Thomas Edison invented the light bulb..

And yet there was dissension, as is evidenced by the last photo I will share with you this time.  It was taken at Orchard Beach and has an inscription that says: “A Sunday Afternoon At Orchard Beach.”  Everything looks perfect until you look more closely and see that one person in the center of the photo has X’s drawn through her..  Your guess is as good as mine.

Courting 19



Beaches & Boats: Manistee in 1913

Pages: 1 2

In 1913 Manistee was a small thriving city located in the northern part of Michigan bordering Lake Michigan. The Thompson’s and the Anderson’s, along with many more families lived in Manistee and enjoyed its many amenities.

B&B Town

Manistee, Michigan 1913 High School, Congregational and Unitarian Churches


In 1913, my Grandfather, Walter S. Thompson, had a boat livery business in Manistee.  He had eight steel boats, “unsinkable” according to an article in the local newspaper, which he would tow every morning from the Manistee River to the shores of Lake Michigan and return every evening.

Walter’s Boat Livery, snaking home after a day on Lake Michigan

Walter’s Boat Livery, snaking home after a day on Lake Michigan

B&B Rowing & Fishing

The Manistee River had a bridge that crossed Maple Street.  According to my cousin, Ryan Jach, who is my “go-to” expert on Manistee geography, the same bridge still crosses the river.

B&B Bridge

Maple Street Bridge Manistee, Michigan

Further up the Manistee River, the wetlands are found.

B&B Manistee wetlands

Wetlands of the Manistee River


Near where the Manistee River flows into Lake Michigan there is the famous Manistee Pier which juts out into the large Great Lake and offers a break in the waves that can sometimes torment the town with their fury. This is a photo from the Anderson collection taken sometime around 1913.  It shows the pier with the old lighthouse and in the background a nearby steamer with smoke billowing from its chimney.

B&B Manistee pier_0003

Manistee Pier 1913

In 1913 many large ships traversed Lake Michigan, some carrying fright, some carrying passengers, all experiencing the beauty of the waters, and some facing it’s perils. The next two photos are from the Anderson collection.  I could not make out the names of the ships.  One is a steamer, probably carrying fright of some sort, the other is a ferry, carrying vehicles and people.

B&B Manistee steamer


B&B Steamer LaIn the Anderson collection of photos of Manistee are found a few of Jerry Anderson as a visitor or a passenger on a large steamer which travelled the Great Lakes and may have come to port in Manistee.  The name of the boat was the SS Keewatin.  The reason I know the name of the ship which is not full shown in the collection is by reading its name on the hat of one of its mates who is standing next to Jerry Anderson.



Pages: 1 2

The Chair

This is the story of a woman named Ruth and a man named Jerry who were married in Manistee, Michigan in 1916 and moved with her parents, Bessie and Albert Porter, to Detroit, Michigan in 1917, where they resided at 76 Lincoln Avenue.  They lived together in a large Victorian house close to the center of the city. Here they awaited the birth of their first and only child, later in the year.

76 Lincoln Ave. Detroiit in winter

76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan


Ruth was Nineteen.

The Chair Ruth

Jerry was Twenty Four.

The Chair Jerry

On May 2, 1917, Jack Anderson was born.

The Chair Ruth & Jack

The Chair Ruth, Jerry, Jack

The Chair Ruth nursing Jack

Jerry is seen sitting in a chair, and in another photo he and a friend are peering over the foot of the bed, as if looking at the new born baby.

The Chair Jerry in other chair

The Chair Jerry & friend in bed

Bessie Porter, the new Grandmother, is seen in the old black leather chair, admiring her new Grandson, Jack. Notice the music folder on the piano, “You’re The Best Little Mother That God Ever Made.” Notice the two small photos above Bessie, the same two photos that you saw at the beginning of this story, one of Ruth, the other of Jerry.  Notice the image on the wall directly above and to the left of Bessie, and now look at it as it has been preserved for one hundred years.

The Chair Bessie & Jack

The Chair Ruth model

And now cast your eyes again on the chair that holds baby Jack and all the adults who are holding him – the large, black leather overstuffed chair, with oak rockers and large tufts and pleats in the leather.  Consider the dreams of those who held little Jack, think of all that has come and gone.

Now look at perhaps the same chair,  residing in Walter and Blanche Thompson’s  home and holding me in 1940.

The Chair David in chair 1940

Now look at that chair again,  residing in  Ellsworth Thompson’s home in Detroit, Michigan.  Imagine his dreams, notice his pondering pose as he gazes away from the camera and into the fire burning in the fireplace.

The Chair Ellsworth 1985

Now look at the chair as it appears today, sitting in my home in California, newly upholstered, the oak refinished, the rocker springs replaced. But the same chair that perhaps once held Jack and now awaits another visitor.

The Chair The chair today

And now put your own dreams into The Chair: ponder that which has come before and imagine what is yet to follow.


1953: Aunt Bess and Uncle Albert visit Detroit

In 1953, Bessie and Albert Porter decided to travel back to Detroit to visit their Thompson family and  help celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Bessie’s brother and his wife, Walter and Blanche Thompson.  At that time they were living in Sacramento, a sprawling city in the central valley of California.

1953 Sacramento

Sacramento, California 1953 State Capital in upper right.


They travelled by train, leaving Sacrament and traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Then on to Denver and Chicago before arriving in Detroit.

1953 Train

1953 Train interior

They arrived in Detroit, Michigan on an April day in 1953.

1953 Detroit Bessie,Grace,Ray,Walter,Albert

Grace, Bessie, Albert, Walter and Ray


Bessie and Albert had lived in Detroit in 1918.

76 Lincoln Ave Detroit, Michigan 1919

76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 1918

Here is a close up of the same photo, taken in 1918 on the front porch of their home at 76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. On the porch you see Albert sitting in a chair, Bess sitting on the step, Ruth Anderson standing next to a child’s sleigh and Jerry Anderson holding his son, Jack Anderson who appears to be one to two years old.  Jack was born July 2, 1917 in Detroit

76 Lincoln Ave closeup (2)_0001

Close up of Jerry, Jack and Ruth Anderson, Bess and Albert Porter 76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 1918

And another of the same house in Winter.

76 Lincoln Ave. Detroiit in winter

76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 1918

A street scene of Lincoln Avenue in Winter.

76 Lincoln Ave. Street scene

Street Scene 76 Lincoln Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 1918

Bess Porter had returned to Detroit at least once before 1953.  Here she is photographed with Claudia Randall, Blanche Thompson and Hazel Thompson.  The occasion was Hazel’s graduation from Eastern High School in 1927.

1927 Claudia,Bess,Blanche,Hazel Detrot

Claudia Randall, Bess Porter, Blanche Thompson, Hazel Thompson Detroit, Michigan 1927.

1927 Detroit Bess and Hazel

Bess Porter, Hazel Thompson Detroit, Michigan 1927

Twenty five years later Bessie and Albert Porter would return to Detroit, older, wiser and ready to celebrate Walter and Blanche’s Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.

1953 anniversary invitation


Well, that was quite a trip down memory lane!  I hope I got most of the important dates correct, and if I didn’t, please feel free to contact me.  Remember to double-click any of the gallery photos and they will come up larger with a caption identifying people and places.



Aunt Bessie’s Photo Album

Perhaps the best way to begin this story is to tell a backstory.  A few months ago I got an email asking if I knew anything about the Thompson’s now living in Manistee, Michigan.  At the end of the email the person writing it said:  “I think we might be related.”

That got my attention.  She went on to say her name was Christa Anderson, and she was the great, great granddaughter of Bessie Thompson Porter, who was my grandfather’s sister.  We emailed back and fourth, exchanging information and decided, we indeed were cousins. Small world.

In August,  Mike and I along with our dog Lula went to Sacramento to meet our new family.  We had a wonderful time meeting new relatives and looking at a trove of photographs that were now in the possession of Lucy Anderson, Christa’s 92 year old grandmother.

In October, Claudia Breland, another cousin from Seattle and a professional genealogist arrived for a first time visit and another family gathering was arranged, this time taking place at Mike’s and my home.  The same trove of photo’s that we looked at in Sacramento arrived and was left with me to scan and present in my blog.

Among the many photographs is a group of them collected by my great aunt Bessie and bound in a beautiful album.

BPA Cover of ablum

Inside the album was the following inscription:  “To my dear daughter Ruth – from her Mother.  June 10th, 1947.”

I opened to the first page and there was a photograph of Aunt Bessie’s father Stacy Clay Thompson, my larger-than-life great grandfather.  However it was not one of the many photographs I had seen previously.  Rather this was a photograph of a stately, but very young Stacy Clay, probably in his early twenties, and taken about the time that Bessie was born: 1879.
BPA Stacy Clay _0001


This dapper young man has hair!  His hat is on the chair to his left, and there is a photograph to his lower right of a woman who I can only imagine to be one of his mother.

The next photograph is one of Aunt Bessie, her husband Albert Porter and her daughter, Ruth,

BPA Albert, Besie and Ruth

The next is one of my grandfather, Walter with his two sisters, Claudia on his right and Bessie on his left.  I have never before seen my grandfather as such a callow boy.

BPA Walter, Bessie and Claudia 1885

The next is one of Bessie herself, looking quite beautiful as a ten year old girl.

BPA Bessie 1889_0001And the next is again of Bessie, perhaps a year older.

BPA Bessie 1889

Next comes a picture of Bessie’s daughter, Ruth Porter Anderson, taken around the time she was to be married in 1916.  I believe this was taken in Manistee

BPA Ruth 1913 The following photo is one of my Great Grandmother, Ida Mae Goodenow Thompson taken in Chicago in 1866 when she was a ten year old girl.  I have very few photographs of Ida Mae.  This one shows her sterner self, even as a young girl.

BPA Ida Mae Goodenow 1866

Although not found in Bessie’s Album, among the trove of photographs was found this gem of historic as well as familial importance.  It is a metal print of a photograph taken of Ida Mae Goodenow Thompson in 1856, the year of her birth.  Photography was still in its infancy in 1856, and being able to present it is a joy and a privilege. The actual size of the photo is as it is presented.

1856 metal photo of Ida Mae Goodenow

The next is of Stacy Webb Thompson, my great, great grandfather, the father of Stacy Clay, and the grandfather of Aunt Bessie who assembled all of these wonderful photos. This photo was taken in Eugene, Oregon during one of the last trips Stacy took to the west. My guess is that this was taken in 1890 to 1892.  Stacy returned to Michigan and died in the home of one of his son’s in 1896.  He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Manistee, Michigan.

BPA Stacy Webb 1890

The next is of Albert Porter, or as we called him, “Uncle Albert.” In this photo he is young and dapper, probably taken in Manistee, Michigan shortly after he arrived.  He left London where he was living, travelled  to Buenos Aires to visit his father, and then on to New York.  Somehow he decided to go to  Manistee, Michigan where he met Aunt Bessie.  She was 17, he was 27.  The rest is history.

BPA Albert Porter 1895

Next is a photo of Albert’s beautiful sister, Ida, dated 1889, with a salutation saying: “To my loving brother from Ida, 1889.” The photograph was taken in Venice, or Venezia.

BPA Albert's sister Ida

The next photo is of Albert’s mother.

BPA Albert's sister or mother

The back of Albert’s mother’s photo gives the place where the photo was taken as being in the city of his birth, Venezia.

BPA Back Albert's sister or mother

The next photo is of Ruth Thompson Porter Anderson, taken when Ruth was about 10 years old, putting the date at approximately 1908. Those same piercing eyes with a glint of mischief that I saw in 1960 when I visited Ruth in Sacramento are present in this photo.

BPA Ruth about 1908

The next two pages show Claudia and Bessie as girls, one photo taken in approximately 1884 and the following one taken in approximately 1885, both taken in Manistee, Michigan.

BPA Claudia and Bessie 1883

BPA Claudia and Bessie 1885

The next is a photograph of Herbert Randall, Aunt Bessie’s brother-in-law, who was married to her sister, Claudia.  Herbert, or Uncle Bert as I called him is holding his new born son, Raymond, or Uncle Ray as I called him.  The photo was taken in Manistee in 1900. Uncle Bert worked on a ship that sailed in the great lakes region.  He was once reported as being lost at sea, but showed up safe the following day.

BPA Herbert Randall and Ray 1900

The next photo is of Jack Anderson, the father and grandfather  of my new found family and friends . The photo probably was taken in Detroit, Michigan in 1917. What a picture!

BPA Jack Anderson 1917

The next is of Claudia and Bessie, showing their lighter side.  If you look closely at the two sisters, you will soon discern that the faces are real, the bodies are fake.  It would take years for each of them to attain the proportions of the bodies seen in the photo.

BPA Bessie and Claudia humerous

The last two large photos in the album are of Isa May Thompson as a girl, one profile and the other frontal, both represent a beautiful young girl who obviously was the apple of her mother and father’s eye.

BPA Ruth (2) 1906

BPA Ruth 1906

The last pages of the album are filled with smaller photos taken at a later date then most of the photos thus far presented.

I will skip those for now, choosing instead to end with a large photo not included in the album but showing so may of our relatives that it must be a fitting end to this entry of Aunt Bessie’s Photo Album. It is of Ruth Thompson Porter Anderson’s wedding to Jerry Anderson.  The wedding was officiated by Judge Stacy Clay Thompson, and took place in Manistee, Michigan.


Ruth Anderson Wedding 1916 Manistee

Stacy & Marian 1918-1924

Ida May Goodenow Thompson

Ida May Goodenow Thompson 1856-1906

Shall we title this Stacy & Marian or Marian & Stacy? It could be either.  The couple I knew only through family lore, come alive in the following series of snapshots taken from 1918 until 1924.  Most of the shots are of their children: Ida May, Stacy W., and Gayle. However, there are others which reveal members of the family I had never heard of.  I know about these folks because of the fine captioning of the photos done by Marian.  I will share some of her captions and comments with you. They portray a person intent on raising her family and sharing family experiences with her greater family; namely my grandparents; Walter and Blanche Thompson.

But first, a little history. In 1906,  Stacy’s first wife, Ida May Goodenow Thompson, died while Stacy was away in South Dakota.  He ran the Redwater Land and Canal Company, and twice a year traveled to Belle Fourche, South Dakota, first as Treasurer and later as President of the company to manage the companies business.

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Snapshots of Roseville, Michigan 1942

Roseville 1942-14 document1942 was a difficult year throughout the world.  The US was on the defensive in the Pacific, giving up the Philippines and retreating from Burma.  Russia was about to defend Stalingrad against the Germans.  On the home front, the US  was about to begin mandatory rationing of gas, cigarettes, meat and many other domestic items.

The Ellsworth Thompson family also was feeling the stress of the war, but our war concerned serious family matters.  By 1942, mother and dad had increased their family to include Herb., born in 1936, John, born in 1938 and me, David, born in 1940.  Our second brother, John, had serious mental issues  making it impossible for him to develop normally.  My mother said that he seemed to be normal when he was born, but  never really developed at a normal rate.  She and my dad spent much of their early lives together taking John from one doctor to another, from one hospital to another, always looking for some sign of progress and hope.  My earliest memories included hearing John crying in the back bedroom.  My mother said that my first sentence was: “Why is Johnny always crying?”

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