Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What Weird Trick Will Identify These People? #5 Will Surprise You!

[This blog post will be cross posted at Keepapitchinin and Juvenile Instructor.  - BCrow]

A while back we did a post where we tried to match the names of missionaries on the back of a photo to the faces of the missionaries on the front. Well, today we are going to try that again. Only this time it will be a little harder. We can thank Quincy D. Newell, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Hamilton College for her interest in this photo.



For a higher resolution and uncropped version of this photo please follow this link to the Church History Library: https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE7714343

The photo above has a vague label "Elders at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee," a date range from 1894 to 1905, and no readily visible identifying marks. When viewed in person there is some undecipherable writing in the margins written in black ink on a black background which might be names or perhaps only notes from when it was submitted to the Church Historian's office. None of those marks are visible in the scanned image.

It is a great looking photo. Aside from the scenery, the figures are relatively clear, positioned aesthetically, with a mixture of power poses and casual indifference. It has been used in scholarly and church publications before. LDS Church History tweeted the photo last Sunday. Sometimes it came with a description that disagrees with our tentative identification, though as far as I know, none of the descriptions have named any of the individuals in the photo.

The red letters you see on this version I have added for the sake of this exercise. Amy Tanner Thiriot's (you can see some of her work here: http://theancestorfiles.blogspot.com/) quick eyes identified one of the people in the photo as possibly being Ephraim Nye (marked as 3 above). For those who may not have heard of Elder Nye, don't worry. He was perhaps the shortest tenured mission president at the time.

In the 1902, when Ben E. Rich was President of the Southern States Mission, a decision was made to split the mission in two; north and south. The Northern portion was called the Middle States Mission and Elder Rich was called to be the president. A small portion of the Eastern States Mission (West Virginia) was moved into the Middle States as well. The southern portion would keep the name Southern States Mission. A new president was selected: Ephraim Nye. Within a year, however, while attending to mission business in South Carolina, Elder Nye passed away. The two missions were quickly reunited under President Rich and the Middle States Mission ceased to exist.

But this is not a story of the Middle States Mission, or even President Nye. Our story is about the photo. It is President Nye's possible presence in the photo that is a boon for us. It was common for arriving missionaries to do the tourist thing and visit the top of Lookout Mountain. The mission office was in Chattanooga, and Lookout Mountain was an afternoon excursion for them. The Church History Library has scores of such photos, some labeled, many not. This one falls squarely in the "not labeled" group.

And here is the important part. Chattanooga, Tennessee and the northern portion of Lookout Mountain, was not in President Nye's mission. Tennessee was now part of the Middle States Mission. With the split of the mission, Elder Nye moved the office to Atlanta, Georgia. Thereafter, new missionaries met the mission president in Atlanta, not Chattanooga. A trip to Lookout Mountain would have taken perhaps two days for the round trip, with train and hotel expenses on top of that. A side trip out of the mission with the mission president and new missionaries would be unwarranted. Such a trip likely never happened.

So what about the photo? That looks like President Nye. And those are missionaries, right?  Well, it turns out that there was one time of which we know when President Nye was in Chattanooga with a group of missionaries. On the 28th & 29th of June 1902, President Nye was at the old mission office. President Rich invited President Nye and President McQuarrie of the Eastern States Mission and brought in the Conference presidents from the three missions involved for a chance to meet their new leaders. At the meeting were...

A. Ben E. Rich (Middle States Mission President)
B. Ephraim H. Nye (Southern States Mission President)
C. John G. McQuarrie (Eastern States Mission President)
D. Walter Wright (North West Virginia Conference)
E. John A. Morrison (South West Virginia Conference)
F. Edward John Smith (Chattanooga Mission Office Staff)
G. Joseph H. Peterson (Chattanooga Mission Office Staff)
H. Charles H. Hyde (Chattanooga Mission Office Staff)
I. Nathan Harris (Chattanooga Mission Office Staff)
J. Milton Moody (Mississippi Conference)
K. Lorenzo Crosby (Virginia Conference)
L. Anders Mortensen (Virginia Conference)
M. William H. Wilcox (North Ohio Conference)
N. Jacob Crosby (Florida Conference)
O. Ozro Crockett (Middle Tennessee Conference)
P. Limhi F. Zundel (Georgia Conference)
Q. Joseph Johnson (Kentucky Conference)
R. Henry B. Elder (South Ohio Conference)
S. Eugene C. Miller (North Carolina Conference)
T. Clarence E. Ranck (Alabama Conference)
U. Theodore P. Henderson (South Carolina Conference)
V. Frank L. Brown (Alabama Conference)
W. Howard H. Hale (East Tennessee Conference)

Of course there aren't that many people in the photo. If the photo is related to the conference, our assumption is that not everyone from the meeting opted to go on the trip to Lookout Mountain. President Rich and his office staff had probably been there dozens of times. Most of the other missionaries who were part of the Southern States mission had probably been there once or twice themselves. It is easy to imagine a few of them deciding to not join the others. And sometimes missionaries had to forego doing the tourist thing because their train was scheduled to depart before the group would return. Many new missionary group photos on Lookout Mountain do not include everyone who started that day for exactly that reason. With so many people returning to so many places, it was unlikely the train schedules would cooperate.

With that in mind, our task has two parts. First: Demonstrate that this photo could indeed have been taken during the June 1902 meeting. If we could identify two or three of the people in the photo as being people on this list, particularly if those identified were not already in the Chattanooga area, that would do it. Second: If this is the list, connect the names with the faces.

Those of you with a keen eye will have already noticed that there is a black man in the photo. His inclusion was certainly deliberate. But I have no clue about his name, or his relationship with the others, thus the mystery. It isn't likely he was one of the missionaries above. I think we all know why (and wish it were otherwise). Identifying the others in the photo might lead to a journal entry or letter describing the event, which in turn may help in identifying him.

So without further ado, on your mark, set, go!

1. John Roland Halliday ? - CHL
2. Angus Kepp Nicholson ?  - CHL
3. John Mathew Johnson Allen - Tyson
4. Isaiah Cox Jr ? - Whizzbang
5. Pond ? - Ryan
6. William Henry Hindley ? - CHL
7. Leonard Spencer Harrington ? Bruce
8. Frederick Moroni Houston ? - Ryan
9. Francis Bent Rolfson - Ryan
10. John Jacklin - Ryan
11. Thomas Rawlings Smith ?  - Ryan/CHL
12. Albert William Buckwater ? - by default
13. George Thomas Taylor ? - Bruce

For extra credit (bragging rights?) Someone with the ability to inspect this photo in person, perhaps someone who lives in the Salt Lake City area, might be willing to look at the writing in the margins to see if they are decipherable. If even one of the names could be teased from the writing that would help in the identification of the photo.

44 comments:

Last Lemming said...

Last week I took one of those online tests--this one to determine if I am a "super recognizer;" that is, if I am good at recognizing faces. Suffice it to say that I performed very badly. Nevertheless, as a descendant of John G. McQuarrie, I have an interest in your project. There is one picture posted in his Memories section of FamilySearch that probably dates from his time as mission president. (His FamilySearch ID is KWC6-5SK if you want to check it out.) Based on that, I cannot rule out numbers 4 and 11. But it is entirely possible that he is not in the picture.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for starting us off.
#4 was suggested in pre-blog-post discussions as a resembling McQuarrie. We were hoping a family member, like you, would be able to bring a little more certainty. The day is still young.

Tyson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyson said...

I really wish it would just let me edit comments, but whatever.

Number 8 looks like it could be Elias Smith Kimball: https://history.lds.org/missionary/individual/elias-smith-kimball-1857. Which is fitting since the image comes from his collection.

Tyson said...

Also, here's a picture taken during that 1902 meeting with all the individuals identified: https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE7773611. Someone with a better eye than me might be able to match them up with this photo.

Ryan said...

It's possible the date range is incorrect. The photo comes from Elias Smith Kimball's collection he served as Mission President of the Southern States Mission from 1894 to 1905 (the suggested date range). But he also served there earlier as a younger missionary 1883-1886 and he might actually be in the photo #8. See https://history.lds.org/missionary/individual/elias-smith-kimball-1857 for a photo of Kimball as Mission President.

Goody said...

Nice click-bait title Bruce, and yes #5 did surprise me. If I had more time I'd jump in to the search, but will have to content myself as a spectator.

BruceCrow said...

Tyson, I see the resemblance, although as Ryan suggests it looks like a younger version of Kimball, perhaps too young for our tentative date. Do we have to rethink the date altogether?

BruceCrow said...

I starting to lean toward #2 being Ben E Rich.
https://history.lds.org/missionary/individual/benjamin-e-rich-1855

BruceCrow said...

Great find on the photo of the 1902 meeting. Time to look a little closer to compare the two.

Anonymous said...

The hat/cap the black gentleman is wearing is unlike any of the others. It reminds me of a train conductor's cap--maybe he was a driver of some type of horse-drawn commercial/tourist conveyance?

BruceCrow said...

I agree. There were two trams that went up the side of the mountain once operated as early as 1886, but closed in 1898. The other didn't open until 1895, but is still running today. He could have worked for either one. Neither one was really close to the Sunset Rock where this photo was taken. Maybe a mile away, certainly close enough to walk, but not close enough to leave the train unattended. There is quite a bit of land at the top of lookout mountain, with parks, suburban style homes, stores, restaurants and the like.

It could also be that the mission hired a wagon drive for the group as that might have been less expensive than a rail ticket for each missionary. He could have been a driver for the ride.

Ryan said...

Ok, I looked at the original. The writing is super hard to read and I grabbed a bunch of other people to see if they agreed on my speculations. The clearest name is Nicholson and there were two Nicholsons (brothers) in the Southern States Mission but no pictures of them on FamilySearch. The other names we were able to guess at were Houston and Rolfson both have pictures on FamilySearch. I think #9 might be Rolfson and it says "... Houston, Rolfson, ..." So 8 might be Houston and not Kimball. There is also possibly a Findlay and a Halliday.

Ryan said...

By the way, the best quality I've been able to find is here: https://history.lds.org/missionary/mission/southern-states Specifically here: https://content.ldschurch.org/bc/content/missionaries/southern%20states/CHL-PH-3793b3fd6it001alt02-1.jpg

BruceCrow said...

Yes that photo is much better.
So lets run with this.

Nicholson, Angus Keep
Dec 1893 - Apr 1895 Miss

Nicholson, John Keep
Dec 1892 - Oct 1894 Miss & Texas

Houston, Frederick Moroni
Jul 1894 - Nov 1896 East Tenn

Rolfson, Francis Bent
Jul 1894 - Nov 1896 Mid Tenn

Findlay, Hugh William
Dec 1892 - Feb 1895 Virginia

Halliday, John Roland
Jan 1894 - Feb 1896 East Tenn

They didn't all start at the same time, though they did all serve in the same time frame, but not in the same place. The time frame overlap is July 1894 to October 1894.

BruceCrow said...

On July 6 1894 the following missionaries were set apart in Utah : Isaiah Cox Jr, Thomas Rawlings Smith, Francis Bent Rolfson, George Thomas Taylor, William Henry Hindley, Frederick Moroni Houston, Albert William Buckwater, Leonard Spencer Harrington, John Jacklin, John Matthew Allen (Johnson)

If we assume that Findlay was actually Hindley, that puts three of the above arriving on their mission at the same time.

BruceCrow said...

I can place Angus Nicholson in Chattanooga from the last week in September 1894 where he worked in the Mission office until April 1895. His brother was released from Mississippi in Oct 1894.
[speculation]
Could he have swung by Chattanooga on his way home to see his brother and at the same time took a trip to Lookout Mountain? Houston, Rolfson, Halliday and Hindley would have all been in Tennessee at that time.
[/speculation]

Ryan said...

1 might be Thomas Rawlings Smith

Amy T said...

That's great, Ryan. This is making me wish they had invited some women along, since women's clothing styles would have pinned down the year quicker than anything else. (Men's styles didn't vary as quickly.)

Thanks to those names, and to the information I just saw in the mission history, I'd also suggest September/October 1894. By the time the trees would have leafed out the next year, both Nicholsons were back in Utah.

Ryan said...

10 is John Jacklin. That's the first ID I am confident of. There were two Nicolson brothers in the Southern States Mission, but there may only be one in the photo.

BruceCrow said...

It looks like you get the bonus points Ryan, for taking the opportunity to take a look in person. Thank you!

BruceCrow said...

OK, I put a question mark next to the tentative ones, and we'll wait for additional confirmation. But Thanks to Ryan we are probably on the right track.

Tyson said...

It looks like #3 might actually be John Matthew Allen. He was serving in the Southern states at the time and looks similar to his picture on the Early Mormon Missionary database and FamilySearch: image 1 and image 2. But it's hard to tell with the quality of the image and him having a beard.

Ryan said...

By the way, if you want to narrow down a list of missionaries in a specific mission for a specific time the easiest way to do it is go to the mission page like https://history.lds.org/missionary/mission/southern-states then find the president of the mission over the time period. If you click the years under his name it will give you a list of everyone who served under him https://history.lds.org/missionary/mission/southern-states/1894-1898 If that's too many, you can change the year range of the URL in the address field and it will switch to that year. https://history.lds.org/missionary/mission/southern-states/1894-1894

There was also a name in the margin that looked like [Da]vid or [?]is[?] and another name that looked like [K]li[ne].

BruceCrow said...

I agree Tyson.

That is cool. I've been doing it old school from scans of the Southern States Mission Manuscript. Your way is much easier.

Quincy D. Newell said...

Y'all are AWESOME! The identification of John Jacklin led me to this photo at the CHL, which has the advantage of legible labels: https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE7714150. Francis B. Rolfson is also in this photo (as is E.S. Kimball, Bruce), which may help confirm that identification. I'll work on that more when I've got bigger and better screens in front of me, unless someone beats me to it. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has tackled this with such energy, and thanks especially to Amy T (for introducing me to Bruce and helping so much with the initial identification efforts), Bruce (for taking up this quest with such enthusiasm, writing this post, and hosting the ID party on this blog), and Ardis Parshall and the folks at the Juvenile Instructor for cross-posting. It takes a (virtual) village to identify these guys!

BruceCrow said...

Quincy, I think the photo confirms Ryan's ID of Rolfson and Jacklin. And tells me I wrong about #2 being Kimball.

I did get a tweet from a descendant of Allen (#3). She'll compare some additional photos, but she thinks its him.

More to come.

BruceCrow said...

I'll go out on a limb and suggest that #13 looks like George Thomas Taylor

Quincy D. Newell said...

Here's a picture of Hugh William Findlay: https://familysearch.org/photos/people/9846519. I can't see a strong resemblance to anyone in the Lookout Mountain photo, but this is not my strong suit. Can anyone else make the link?

BruceCrow said...

I don't think Findley is in the group.
Here is the list I'm working from. It mostly includes a group of missionaries who arrived in early July 1894, with a couple of exceptions, and is based on Ryan's list of names he saw in the margins. I think Ryan's identification of Findlay may have actually been William Henry Hindley who was in that group of newly arrived missionaries.

Isaiah Cox Jr
1. Thomas Rawlings Smith
9. Francis Bent Rolfson
13. George Thomas Taylor
William Henry Hindley
8. Frederick Moroni Houston
Albert William Buckwater
Leonard Spencer Harrington
10. John Jacklin
3. John Matthew Allen

These next two are solely based on Ryan's discovery. Nicholson was working at the mission office at the time, so he makes sense. Halliday was assigned to the East Tennessee Conference which included Chattanooga, so it is possible.
John Roland Halliday
Angus Keep Nicholson

Anonymous said...

In reading the comments here, and over at Keepa - is there a general consensus on time frame for the photo?

BruceCrow said...

Sorry that got caught in the spam filter.

I believe we are thinking July 1894, probably sometime between the 8th and 15th

BruceCrow said...

The age difference is pretty great but I think #7 looks a lot like Leonard Spencer Harrington

BruceCrow said...

According to a biographer for John Jacklin,
"He was to leave Salt Lake on July 7th but on account of a railroad strike President Wilford Woodruff had them wait a week before leaving. Seven Elders left American Fork at the same time. They arrived at Mission headquarters in Chattanooga on July 21, 1894..."

This would put the photo at least after that. Taylor and Hindley were in West Virginia at a conference by Aug 5th. That creates a pretty narrow window for dating this photograph.

Amy T said...

Count me impressed. What a great exercise in doing history: the preliminary guesses, the collection of data, the online collaboration. Good stuff.

Anonymous wondered a couple of days ago if the black man could be a driver. That was my initial reaction as well. His place in the photo raises all sorts of questions about race and missionary work, questions that, based on my reading of the history of the mission, weren't likely to have been asked in the 1890s.

Edje wrote a helpful post a few years back at Juvenile Instructor about racial language in a nearby mission (Southwestern States Mission: Epithets for African Americans). Besides giving actual numbers (!) he also gave examples that are representative of racial attitudes at the time, attitudes that were likely to have been held by many or all of the missionaries in this photo, and might be helpful in understanding this photo.

Whizzbang said...

Based on the info the CHL sent i'm going to throw it out there that Isaiah Cox Jr. is no. 4 but not 100% on that

BruceCrow said...

That is funny cause I was looking at Cox's photo on Family search. It only has one when his was much older, but I thought the face structure was similar to #4

But even with that, help me out with your thought process. I can be slow sometimes. The way I read the CHL information, Cox is listed last. And the info didn't say which side of the photo the labels appeared.

BruceCrow said...

[For the benefit of those who have not seen the CHL info I'll reproduce it here.]

"The Library staff looked at the Photograph and were able to identify several names written in the border. The names appear to be written to line up with the rows in the photo, and we have copied that on here as best we could:
Halliday, Nicholson
Pond (?), Hindley, Harrington (?), Houston, and Rolfson
Isaiah Cox"

We have been looking through Elias Kimball’s journals for the time period we narrowed the picture down to (MS 13348 box 1 folder 6). His entry for July 13-19th, 1894 states that ten new missionaries arrived in the mission:
Leonard E Harrington (S. in the missionary database)
George J. Taylor
Wm. H. Hindley
Fred. Houston
John Jacklin
Francis B. Rolfson
Albert W. Buckwater
Isaiah Cox Jr.
John M. Allen
Thomas R. Smith
He also writes: “I met with them at the Kenedy Hotel at noon and held a meeting for about one hour, giving them such instruction as the Spirit dictated. I called on Elders Nicholson and Halliday to bear their testimonies. Had Elder Halliday take them out to the National and to Point Lookout. They all left for their fields with a good spirit.”

It seems this was the routine for welcoming new missionaries—Kimball would meet with them, show them a couple places of interest (including Point Lookout, which I’m assuming is Lookout Mountain) then send them off to their assigned field.

It seems likely that this picture was taken on the occasion of this July 1894 visit - many of the names match up to what is written on the photo

We have been unable to identify the African American in the picture. There is no record of a Pond serving in the mission in 1894, so it is possible that he is the Pond that is written on the photograph. However, it is likely he is not a missionary, and most likely not a member. It may be that he was acting as a guide for the group or some similiar explanation. That leaves 12 other people in the photograph - these people could be Halliday, Nicholson (who man have gone with them as well), and the ten new missionaries.

While this does not identify who is in the picture, it provides a starting point to investigate.

BruceCrow said...

Based on that I might guess that Halliday and Nicholson are the first two in the top left . That would move Thomas Smith to #11. Keeping the other in place that would put Pond ans #5 and Hindley as #6.

Whizzbang said...

So, Isaiah Cox Jr. to me his cheeks looks kind of sunken in the missionary photo and the family search photos, plus his left eyebrow looks different then the right and seems to go up right whereas the right eyebrow is more straight and his ears are kinda big! but obviously his familysearch photos are later on life which is why I am not 100% certain

Nicole Dyer said...

I saw this post on the Juvenile Instructor and wondered if the photo would include the Elders who converted my husband's ancestors in Tennessee. Sure enough, Elias Kimball came to the home of my husband's third great grandmother, Barsheba Thorpe Dyer in the 1880s in Hawkins County, Tennessee and taught them the gospel. She and her four youngest children came west. Lewisa Jane Dyer and John James Dyer went with their mother Barsheba to Sanford, Colorado. Charles McKinney Dyer and Elizabeth Frances Dyer Beals went to Pima, Arizona. Barsheba died two months after arriving in Colorado. My husband is a descendant of John James Dyer. Thank you for sharing this photo!

BruceCrow said...

That is so cool. If it was the 1880's it must have been during E S Kimball's first mission to Tennessee. The original baptism records back then were not kept consistently until the 1890s so many of the earlier records have not survived to the present. If you have anything Barsheba or John wrote about how they met Elder Kimball and decided to join the church I'd be very interested.

Quincy D. Newell said...

This is fantastic--thanks to everyone for contributing your knowledge and skills! We know so much more about this photo now than when the original post went up, and that accumulated knowledge opens up several avenues for further investigation. Thanks again to everyone!

BruceCrow said...

Tonight I received a photo that includes 7 of the missionaries in this photo. It was taken just a couple weeks earlier since all seven of them were from the same place: American Fork, Utah. I can't post the photo here in the comments, so I have added it to a new post which you can see by following the link below.

Based on this new photo I think we were right is identifying Houston as #8, Rolfson as #9, and Jacklin as #10.
In addition Harrington may be #7, Buckwater may be #12 & Taylor may be #13. I'll need your keen eyes to help on those.
I am pretty sure Hindley is not #6, but he might be #1.

http://amateurmormonhistorian.blogspot.com/2016/10/update-on-identifying-missionaries.html