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Ellis Album, Photo 25 – Margaret, the Graduate

ELLIS, Mary Margaret

Mary Margaret Ellis

I love this graduation photo of my Grandmother.  But, it’s a bit puzzling.  There is a photographer stamp on the back of this photo with the date, 27 June 1947 in Ogden, Utah.  My Grandmother was born in 1927.  I am fairly certain that she graduated in 1945.  I know that she also graduated from Weber College with a degree in Science.  Possibly in 1947…?  Or, is there an even simpler explanation?  Did her parents order the print of this photo two years after her High School graduation?  I have so many boxes from Grandma that I am positive the answer is somewhere in there.  Now I just have to decide if I interrupt my current work to dig around or if I just accept that for now, I don’t know when and why this photo was taken.  Hmmm…

 

 

This photo comes from the thirteenth page of the album.  Here are pages twelve and thirteen to give context for this photo:

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This post is part of a series sharing this wonderful old family photo album.  You can learn more about the album here.

 

 


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52 Ancestors – Orval Jerrain Maffit, A Short Life with a Tragic End

Orval Maffit-6 months, 1910

Orval Jerrain Maffit, 6 months old, 1910

Orval Jerrain Maffit is my great-granduncle.  He is the fifth child and third son of Seth Maffit & Emma Esther Jerrain, my 2nd great-grandparents.  His oldest sister and brother both died as infants, so he grew up as the third child and second son.  He was born 12 May 1910 in Chicago.1 2 3  Five months later he was baptized in St. Anne, Illinois on 21 October 1910.4

At some point after Orval’s birth, his family moved from Chicago to Montana where they tried their hand at dryland farming.  The exact date of this move is in question.  Family records indicate the move occurred between 1911 and 1913.  Emma was most certainly in Chicago on 21 October 1910, when Orval was born, and in Gildford, Hill, Montana on 1 June 1913,5 when her next child, Hope Estelle was born.  Seth, on the other hand, had to have arrived in Montana prior to 13 August 1910 as his first land patent for the family farm was dated 13 August 1915.6  Regardless of when the entire family had moved to Montana, Emma seemed to have a certain amount of mobility as she is back in Chicago 23 November 1913, for Estelle to be baptized.7

These photos all fall in the window of time in question.  I wish I could get my hands on the originals to see if there are any additional clues.  The first two appear to be taken by a photographer in a studio.  I’m leaning toward both of them having been taken in Chicago.

Hilan, Maynard and Orval Mafifit in carriage - Chicago

l-r:  Hilan Thorne Maffit, Maynard Seth Maffit, and Orval Jerrain Maffit

Orval, Hilan, Emma and Maynard Maffit - Chicago- abt 1913

Back, l-r:  Orval Jerrain Maffit, Emma Esther Jerrain; front, l-r: Maynard Seth Maffit, Hilan Thorne Maffit, about 1913

This photo is very interesting.  The note at the bottom indicates the photo was taken on Sunday, the 9th in 1913 and is addressed “to pa”.  I know that Emma was in Chicago in November of 1913 for Estelle’s baptism.  The 9th of November 1913 fell on a Sunday and may very well be the date this photograph was taken.  The outerwear seems appropriate for November in Chicago.

Hilan, Orval & Maynard Maffit, 1913

l-r: Hilan Thorne Maffit, Orval Jerrain Maffit, Maynard Seth Maffit; The note at the bottom indicates the photo was taken Sunday, the 9th in 1913 and is addressed “to pa”.

Hilan, Orval and Maynard Maffit - 1913 in Chicago

l-r: Hilan Thorne Maffit, Orval Jerrain Maffit, Maynard Seth Maffit

Then this photo was taken on Friday, 21 November 1913, just two days before Estelle’s baptism in Chicago and as such, was most likely taken in Chicago.

Grandma Maffit & Hope Estelle Maffit

Hope Estelle Maffit and her mother Emma Esther Jerrain, 21 November 1913.

 

By May 1917, the children were attending Hingham School in Montana.

 

School House 1937

Maffit children and their classmates, May 1917, Hingham School

 

In 1920, the Maffit family was still living in Hingham, Hill, Montana.  There were now eight living children.  Orval was nine years old and listed on the census as having no occupation.8

Orval’s sister, Estelle, compiled several notebooks of family records.  In those records, she shares some details about the move from Chicago to Montana and additional moves that followed:

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1923 was a big year for the Maffit family.  The farm was sold at auction in July,9 and Emma’s father, John Baptiste Jerrain, visited the family in Great Falls.  Here he can be seen with Orval and Jackie.

Orval Maffit, John B. Jerrain, Jackie Maffit

l-r: Orval Jerrain Maffit, John Baptiste Jerrain, Jacqueline Unity Maffit, John was their maternal grandfather, 1923.

Orval Maffit

Orval Jerrain Maffit

Hilan remembers, “that Orval was always on the move and didn’t want to stay on the farm.  He wanted adventure, so Seth and Emma gave permission for him to travel to visit Emma’s relatives.”10

This fateful trip would end badly for the Maffit family.  From the family book entitled Family Tree:  John Baptiste Jerrain & Esther Estelle Therrian,11 comes this compiled information about Orval that was written and reviewed by the grandchildren of Seth & Emma:

“When he was a teenager, he went back to St. Anne’s to visit relatives.  Later he visited Shirlee Jerrain’s family in Elmhurst.  Shirlee’s, father John A. Jerrain, was Emma’s brother.  Shirlee remembers Orval staying at their house in Elmhurst for awhile.  Emma sent a message that he was to come home because a new baby had been born into the family.  Money had been sent so he could buy a ticket and ride on the train.  The family was notified that Orval had decided to ride the rails and was killed in a fall from the train.  The family believed there was foul play in his death as his wallet was missing.  Our family records show that Orval was buried in the Jerrain family plot in St. Anne’s Church.”

Newspaper accounts12 from this time add additional details:

“TRAIN VICTIM IS IDENTIFIED AS LOCAL BOY

Youth Killed in Minneapolis, Son of Seth Moffit, 708 Eighth Avenue North

Orville Moffit, Great Falls youth who was killed Friday at Minneapolis when he fell under a freight train on which he was attempting to catch a ride, was Saturday evening identified as the 16 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Seth Roffit, 705 Eighth avenue north.

The boy whose age was reported in press dispatches as 22 years, was running beside a freight train in the Minneapolis yards in an attempt to catch a ride towards Great Falls.  He collided with a derrick used in sewer excavating and was thrown under the cars and instantly killed.

Young Moffit was accompanied by another youth of about his age, who said that he had been traveling about the country with the Great Falls boy for several weeks. Through letters carried in Moffit’s coat, the address of his parents was learned and they were notified of the accident by Minnesota officers.

The boy, according to Mr. Moffit, who is employed at the Anaconda company’s smelter, was born in May, 1910, at Chicago.  He attended the grade schools of Great Falls for several years and was recently employed by the Rainbow hotel as a bell boy.

“Orville,” said Mr. Moffit Saturday night, “left Great Falls in June and visited in our former home at Chicago with relatives.  He also made visits to other relatives in the middle west and worked in the harvest fields.

“I was informed by Minnesota authorities that the boy with him at the time of the accident said they had travelled together for several weeks, but I know that this is not so.”

In addition to his parents the boy is survived by four brothers, Maynard, Everd, Lorado and Dale Moffit, and four sisters, Hyland, Estelle, Marjorie, and Jacalyn Moffit.

The body will be taken to Chicago for funeral services and interment.”

 

These photos of Orval’s funeral were part of the Maffit photo collection found on a CD my Grandma kept in her private papers.

Orval Maffit's funeral

Orval Maffit's funeral in St. Anne-Grandpa 1st in line

Orval Maffit's funeral #2jpg

 

Emma buried three of her twelve children before her death in 1945.  No photos remain of her first two children who died as infants.  However, there are several photographs of Orval including this one that was said to have been kept on Emma’s desk.

 

Orval Maffit-picture was kept on Emma Maffit's desk

 

It has faded with time, but I wonder if it was her favorite photo of Orval?

As a genealogist, I regularly find families who suffered the loss of children.  But every single time my heart aches for the parents of those children.  Especially the mothers.  Learning details about those precious children and telling their stories feels like a gift for the mothers and fathers who had to say goodbye too soon.  ❤️

 

 

 


  1. I have inherited a small collection of typed genealogy records created by my great-grandmother Estelle Duval and her mother Emma Maffit.  There are three thin binders – two blue, one green, and a white pocket folder.  Each book and folder is very similar to the others. 
  2. Duval, Mrs. Frank. For Deane Alice Duval: Your Relations, Health Record, Birth Information, Wedding Anniversaries, Death, Dates and Causes. 1938. 
  3. Boone, Ardis M. “Father Charles Chiniquy’s Ledger, 1851 : First St. Anne Catholic Church, Christian Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, Second Presbyterian Church of St. Anne.” Father Charles Chiniquy’s Ledger, 1851 : First St. Anne Catholic Church, Christian Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, Second Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, by Charles Paschal Telesphore Chiniquy, Kankakee Valley Genealogical Society, 1851, p. 101. 
  4. Boone, Ardis M. “Father Charles Chiniquy’s Ledger, 1851 : First St. Anne Catholic Church, Christian Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, Second Presbyterian Church of St. Anne.” Father Charles Chiniquy’s Ledger, 1851 : First St. Anne Catholic Church, Christian Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, Second Presbyterian Church of St. Anne, by Charles Paschal Telesphore Chiniquy, Kankakee Valley Genealogical Society, 1851, p. 101. 
  5. Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; U.S., “Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970”; Book Title: Session/Register 1887-1923; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I30608 I42, image for Estell Hope Maffit, baptism 23 Nov 1913, image 182 of 228, line 534; accessed through “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2016). 
  6. A paper copy of Seth Maffit’s Land Patent, dated 13 August 1915, from family records. 
  7. Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; U.S., “Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970”; Book Title: Session/Register 1887-1923; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I30608 I42, image for Estell Hope Maffit, baptism 23 Nov 1913, image 182 of 228, line 534; accessed through “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2016). 
  8. 1920 U.S. census, Hingham, Hill, Montana, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 129, page 1A (handwritten), dwelling 10, family 10, lines 37-46, Seth Maffit household, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 June 2018); original source data NARA microfilm publication T625_971. 
  9. A paper copy of a Sheriff’s Deed dated 7 July 1923, from family records. 
  10. Jones, Peggy. The John Baptiste Jerrain and Esther Estelle Therien Family Tree. 2004. 
  11. Jones, Peggy. The John Baptiste Jerrain and Esther Estelle Therien Family Tree. 2004. 
  12. “Train Victim is Identified as Local Boy,” Great Falls Tribune, 10 October 1926, p. 6, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com, (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/20190883/great_falls_tribune/?xid=637 : accessed 18 May 2018). 


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Photograph Showcase: Two Brothers, for Nancy

PETERSON, Peter and Thomas, sons of Peter B & Ann Powell Peterson

Peter Powell Peterson & Thomas William Peterson, brothers

Thomas William Peterson is my 2nd great-grandfather.  He was born 27 August 1872 in Huntsville, Weber, Utah to Peter “B” Peterson & Ann Powell.  Peter Powell Peterson is Thomas’ next younger brother.  Peter Powell Peterson was born 14 September 1874 in Hooper, Weber, Utah.

Both brothers are seen here with Peter on the left and Thomas on the right.

Their parents, Peter “B” & Ann, were immigrants.  He from Denmark, she from Wales.  When they met, they did not speak the same language.  Their love story is a favorite of mine.  This comes from a history of Peter “B” Peterson written by his granddaughter-in-law, Mabel Alice Green:

“About this time {early spring 1869} he met Ann Powell, daughter of Bishop Thomas and Margaret Powell of Marriott, Weber County, Utah, but it was quite a challenge to court the young lady. At that time there was no bridge across the Weber River, so Peter would remove his clothing and swim his horse across, holding his bundle of clothing high over his head to keep it dry. Upon reaching the opposite side, he would dress quickly, hidden by the willows growing on the banks and then proceed to the Powell residence. Neither could converse in English. She was Welsh and he was Danish, but as he said, “We know we loved each other.” They were married December 12, 1870.”

The back of this wonderful photo is labeled with the brother’s names, but I wish I knew the date and the occasion.  I’m wondering if they were both about to depart to serve LDS missions.  I know that Thomas served a mission for one year in California from April 1901 to April 1902.  You can find him in the “Early Mormon Missionaries” database here.  I cannot find Peter in that same database.

Interestingly, Thomas was married the day after he was officially a missionary.  Now I am super curious about whether his wife, Lettie Taylor, went with him or stayed home.  I need to learn more about these 2nd great-grandparents!

 

Photo back:

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This post is for my cousin Nancy.  Thomas is also one of her ancestors.  Nancy, maybe you know, what did Grandma Peterson do while Grandpa was serving his mission…?

 

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a wonderful photo discovery today!!  xoxo

 

 


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Ellis Album, Photo 24 – Mary Margaret Ellis

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Mary Margaret Ellis

This is my grandmother.  Isn’t she lovely?

I miss her.  ❤️

 

 

This photo comes from the thirteenth page of the album.  Here are pages twelve and thirteen to give context for this photo:

IMG_1655 - edited

This post is part of a series sharing this wonderful old family photo album.  You can learn more about the album here.  I skipped album pages eight, nine, ten, and eleven as every photo contained living people.  They were all descendants of Dale & Jean Ellis.  If you happen to be a descendant of Dale & Jean, feel free to email me (address on sidebar) and I will gladly share.  The coolest photo I skipped is a 5 generation photo.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Cool Grandpa Frank

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Francis Henry Duval, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1940

Oh.  My.

This is one of my absolute favorite photos of my great-grandfather.  It was captured by a street photographer in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1940.

I love it so much!

In fact, it is the very first photo I uploaded on Grandpa Duval’s profile in my Ancestry tree, many years ago.

But once again… I found a negative of this photo and scanned it.  I feel like I just struck gold!

(gold reference as a hat tip to great-grandpa and his parents who mined gold…)

Here is the version I used to have:

Frank Duval (1)

And here they are side by side:

I feel like I’m bragging or something, but seriously, I’m just soooooooo delighted by every single negative I scan.  Amazing!!

 

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you find yourself an awesome negative very, very soon!  xoxo

 

 

ps – I was so delighted when the anesthesiologist offered to knock me out for my cataract surgery and I totally took him up on it!  My eye is healing up nicely and the best news of all – the spot they removed and biopsied (that I hadn’t mentioned before…) turned out to be completely harmless despite its aggressive persistence over the past 7 years.  Phew!  Once I finish healing up, it will be time to decide if/when to do the other eye.  I am currently a one-contact woman.  It’s a little bit weird, but awesome, to be able to see out of one eye without any type of exterior assistance.  And bonus, while I’m still healing, I have a touch of a shimmer in the upper right corner of my vision.  It feels like I have an angel following me everyone I go.  Haha!

 

 


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Ellis Album, Photo 16 – Dale & Jean Ellis

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Dale Huband Ellis & Edna Jean Stokes

Uncle Dale was born in 1922.  He lived to be 91, passing away in 2014.  Aunt Jean was born in 1927.  She lived to be 78, passing away in 2006.  Unfortunately, this photo is not labeled with a date.  I’m guessing the 1980s.  What do you think?

 

 

This photo comes from the seventh page of the album.  Here are pages six and seven to give context for this photo:

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This post is part of a series sharing this wonderful old family photo album.  You can learn more about the album here.  Living descendants of Dale & Jean, please feel free to contact me to obtain scans of the photos that contain living family members.  My email address is on the sidebar.  🙂

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa with his Biplane

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Francis Henry Duval

I LOVE this photo of my great-grandfather!  One of the reasons I love it – aside from the off-the-charts cool factor – is that my brother looks just like Grandpa Duval in this photo.  I think he should recreate it as a fun gift for my mom.  😉

I’ve shared this photo before, but this new version comes from a negative and once again, this is a definite upgrade from the previous version:

Francis Henry Duval by his airplane

Francis Henry Duval by his airplane.

Don’t get me wrong, I was perfectly happy with the first version, but the new image has more detail and is larger, showing us more of the plane.  Swoon.

My mom has an entire box of negatives… file box sized.  I wonder how many more treasures are inside?

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a photo discovery today!  xoxo