Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mystery Solved - "Uncle All"

Do you remember the first "WTHAT Photo Feature"? (I hope so - it only went up a week ago!)

If you don't recall, or don't want to follow that link, I asked for help identifying this couple. The only clue I had was the pencil inscription "Uncle All" on the back.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that I have an answer on their identity:

He is my 2nd great grand uncle, Lewis Huff (1846-1933). As near as I can tell, he always went by his initials, "L.W." which might explain why the writer of the inscription might have only known him as "Uncle L" - or "All."

The lady is, of course, his wife of more than 60 years, Mary Sophie Hodges (b. 1849).

Your next question should be, "How do you know?"

I believe I have mentioned that I have a whole box of photos and newspaper clippings, and that I've been slowly digging through it for a few years. As it happens, one of the reasons I started this blog was to motivate me to finish going through The Box and scanning, transcribing, and uploading as many of these pictures as I can. It turns out I have a year or two worth of WTHAT photos to share, as well as a number of random, fragile pieces of newsprint to capture.

After posting the Uncle All photo, I happened across two more portraits that looked surprisingly like this couple.

The one to your left there is clearly much earlier, but even if he weren't sporting the same chin whiskers and moustache, she has the same facial features.

And the one below is my personal favorite - taken sometime between the first two, it seems to be the most flattering picture of the three portraits.

But I still would have had a mystery on my hands if it weren't for this newspaper clipping, which I've transcribed for you in full:

Four Wed in Days of Civil War

 "Relief Corps Has Fete on Sixtieth and Sixty-fifth Anniversaries Dates 
Two Los Angeles couples, both the in the evening of life, the husbands veterans of the Civil War, the wives belles of the days of hoopskirts and lasting wedlock, yesterday celebrated their sixtieth and sixty-fifth wedding anniversaries.
   The two couples were guests at an anniversary luncheon given in their honor by the Bartlett Logan Women's Relief Corps, No. 17, of the Grand Army of the Republic at Patriotic Hall.
  Edward Wearne, 85 years of age, and his wife, 83, were married sixty-five years ago, while the groom was serving in the Union forces in the war with the South. Mr. Wearne was then a member of the Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry.  The couple came to Los Angeles in 1903, and now live at 1441 East Fifty-third street.
  Sixty years ago L.W. Huff, 81, and his wife, 78, were married in ohio after he had served through the war with the One Hundred and Ninety-second Ohio Infantry.  They came to Los Angeles in 1902, and reside at 1204 North Avenue 57.
  "We've been married a long time, but we're not tired of it yet," all four said yesterday as they met with friends and comrades gathered together in their honor.
  After the luncheon and presentation of gifts a short entertainment program was given."

(I would love to hear from the family of Mr. and Mrs. Wearne, if they ever run across this - my hope is that they'll be able to solve a mystery or two of their own with this clipping. As far as I know, my Huffs and the Wearne family are not connected in any way other than this clipping.)

Lewis W. Huff and Mary Sophie Hodges, c. 1910 in Los Angeles, CA

I had Mr. Huff in my family tree already, along with the fact that he had served in the 192nd Ohio Infantry, so this newspaper gave me the "smoking gun" I needed to declare this mystery solved!

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