“This is for Ottie”. I know who Ottie is, my grandmother, and this was among her photos. At first glance, the 3.3″ x 5.3″ postcard doesn’t hold my interest very much, perhaps because of all the same shades of white in the clothing and the house.
I looked carefully at each person in the photo and, although I didn’t find my grandma, I did recognize that the lady holding the child on the porch was in other photos but I didn’t know who she was. I knew that my grandmother’s paternal grandmother lived in Lawton for a time and I noticed the photographer’s name and location on the postcard is “Logston, Lawton, Okla”. What I discovered when I researched the photographer was that an Edwin Logston had also lived in Ponca City, where my grandmother Ottie’s maternal family lived. (1)
I put the postcard away until a few weeks ago when I received a family photo from a newly found relative, thanks to the Internet and my blog posts. He identified the family in his photo as Lester and Orcelia Marks with their children (from whom he descends). Orcelia was Ottie’s grandmother who had married Lester after her first husband, Ottie’s grandfather, died.
When I saw his family photo I instantly could match people in other photos I have, including the postcard at the top of this post! Specifically, two of those in the postcard I can now identify are the women on the porch. The one holding the baby is Jessie Rynearson nee Marks, Ottie’s aunt & the older woman holding a basket is Ottie’s paternal grandmother, Orcelia Marks. Below are the photos that helped to identify Jessie and Orcelia plus a closeup of the portion of the postcard with them in it. Using this same family photo as identification, I wonder if Jessie’s sister, Avis, might be the woman in some of the other photos I have.
Upon further inspection of the children in this postcard I found one who might be my grandmother, the little girl on the back row on the far left. What do you think when compared with other known photos of my grandma at a similar age? If it is Ottie then this postcard would have been taken no later than July 1913, which was when Orcelia became paralyzed from a stroke and Ottie turned 5 that June.
All the expressions in the postcard are fascinating. Since there are so many people in the postcard, I’m providing a closeup and some of those looks. As I viewed this postcard carefully & identified people, I discovered more of interest than the first glance of white.
I’m not quite sure where to turn next to learn more information about this postcard and always appreciate suggestions. I do have a list of questions that, if answered, might help me understand the significance of this postcard:
- The building looks like a home but why are all these children there? Whose home was it?
- According to Ottie, Orcelia had worked at a children’s hospital after the Civil War in New York, was this a home for orphaned or sick children? If so, my Grandmother was not an orphan or sick. If that photo is of Ottie, maybe that would explain why she is not dressed in white like almost all of the children.
- If that isn’t my grandma in the photo, why would someone have given it to her?
- Was the home in Lawton or was that just where the photographer lived?
The December edition of A Festival of Postcards will be the WHITE Issue. So this is your chance to share any of your black and white postcards, or colour postcards featuring white (think white sands and snow, White Cliffs of Dover etc.). As always, feel free to play with the theme. Do you have postcards depicting places that incorporate the word white (or bianco, blanc etc.)? How about a play on words (e.g. white elephant, it`s not black & white?) You’ve pretty well got carte blanche! Publish 1 or more postcards or altered postcard (mail art, postal art) that relate to “White”. The ideal post will contain the front & back of the postcard and its actual size. You can add a little blurb or an article but it’s not obligatatory.
(1) Research showing residences of Ottie’s family and Edwin Logston from 1880-1930:
- The 1880 census shows Ottie’s father, his mother and siblings living in Kansas but by 1890 they were in Oklahoma.
- 1900 Edwin and his wife Ethel were in Ozark Township, Anderson, Kansas. They both listed their occupation as photographer. He was 36, she was 25. It indicated they had not ever had children.
- Both the 1900 & 1910 census indicate that Ottie’s maternal grandmother lived in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
- In a book published by the Elgin School (in Commanche county) in 1976 there is a picture of the First Thanksgiving Dinner in Elgin attributed to local photographer, Mr. Logston. Date of the picture is 1903.
- 1910 Edwin W. & his wife Ethel N. Logston were in Ponca City, Kay, Oklahoma and listed his occupation as photographer gallery and she was a helper at the gallery. He was 46, she was 35.
- By 1910 Ottie’s paternal grandmother Orcelia Marks & her husband Lester lived in Lawton, Oklahoma with her daughter Avis and her husband James Mayfield. Orcelia died in Lawton December 5, 1913.
- 1920 Edwin W. & his wife Ethel N. Logston were in Lawton, Commanche, Oklahoma and listed his occupation as farmer and hers was none. He was 54, she was 44.
- On a Lawton listserve there was a comment indicating that a Logston was taking pictures in the early 20s through the 50s
- 1930 Edwin W. & his wife Ethel N. Logston were in Lawton, Commanche, Oklahoma with his wife and they both listed their occupation as photographer studio. He was 65, she was 55.