Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who are the people in these photographs?

Now that I have collected a fair amount if information of who may have been at the Cane Creek Massacre, I have taken the opportunity to go back and review some of the first things I was given and see if there was anything I missed.

Patricia R. Major Miller sent me some a bunch of stuff and among them were some photographs that an historian from Lewis County, Tennessee was trying to identify. The only clue was that they were supposed to be girls who were from Cane Creek at about the time of the Massacre. That narrows it down to just eight or nine girls. The other were either male or would have been too old after they joined the Church to have been the women in these photos.

These photos are clearly taken in Salt Lake City, Utah. Of all the people who belonged to the Cane Creek branch, only a small number went to Utah. Only four, in fact, though they went to Cache County. John Westbrook (I have a picture of him and he didn't look like either of these two), Lavina Shaw (she was much older than this when she went to Utah) and Lavina's two nieces Josie and Ada Turner. Could these be the Turner Girls? If I had such a theory, how would I go about proving it?

Of course, any of the others could have visited Salt Lake City from where they were living; Colorado or Tennessee. Many people did make such a trip to go to the temple, or for any number of other reasons.


Amy said...

I just looked at John Morgan's bio and the catalog of the John Morgan photograph collection at the U of U. I don't see the names Westbrook, Shaw or Turner. Of course, his photographs tended to be of members from the Haywood Valley Branch and/or Manassa Settlements.

BruceCrow said...


Thanks for taking the time to look. The catalog at U of U is large. I've skimmed it before, but that was before I knew the Turner girls names.

The Turner girls joined the Church after John Morgan turned the daily, on-site, management of the mission over to B. H. Roberts. It doesn't surprise me there were no photos of them in his collection.

Ardis Parshall said...

You might use the "Ask a Librarian" link on the website for the new library and ask whether Bill Slaughter or April Williamson, THE experts on photographs in their collection, whether they have any advice. They may, for instance, be able to tell you exactly when those photographers/studios were in operation, which might change your estimate of the ages of the women in 1884.

Beyond that, I don't suppose the newspaper that covers this area might be interested in doing a little local history feature on your photos? If they were, I'd suggest not actually giving the names of women you suspect they might be, because that would taint the ideas of readers. Your only real hope, I think, would be to have a family member recognize the photos as women in their own family albums, and to do that you have to get the pictures in front of lots of eyes from that neighborhood.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks, Ardis. Those are good ideas. I wondered if there was enough information on the back of the photos to identify when they were taken.

As for family, Josie had no descendents. But Ada had one son, Vivian Kenneth Ricks, who in the 1930's was living in Salt Lake City. Since Josie and Ada were living together any photos belonging to her would have passed down to Ada's son as well.

Ardis Parshall said...

Even if the studios were in operation for a long period, I know that Bill has dated some photos by the style of the logos printed on the back, because they changed over time.

The Las Vegas newspapers, and probably lots of others, used to have a Sunday feature that printed an old local photo and asked readers to help identify the occasion or the faces. Wouldn't it be fun if the Church News -- or Mormon Times? -- had a similar feature for Mormon family photos?