Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dad and Sister

This photo was taken in the spring of 1912.

Dad is the baby and his sister, Clarice, is holding him.  They are seated in front of the first house that my grandfather, Clifford Alton Matheny, built on the land he homesteaded near Blackduck, Minnesota in 1904.  Some years later, he built a new, more modern house that was stucco on the outside and had a second story for the children's bedrooms.  Dad told me they built the new house around the old one.  They tore down the old house as the new one went up.  The new house had electricity, but no running water or indoor plumbing.  I remember that water was pumped using a hand pump just off the back door of the house, and the outhouse was a short distance in the same direction.  Water had to be carried into the house, and I remember that the drinking water was in a white enamel bucket sitting on a stool by the kitchen door.  There was a metal dipper in the bucket, and when someone wanted a drink of water, they filled the dipper and drank from it.  It was the best tasting water I have ever had, and I don't think anyone ever got sick from drinking from the dipper.  Folks were a lot tougher then.

This photo is also of Dad and Clarice, and Dad said it was taken in the fall of 1912.

Clarice's job was to watch over her baby brother, and she continued to do so for over 90 years.  They probably had one of the closest sibling relationships that I know of, and even when both were in the nursing home in Blackduck, they enjoyed each other's company.  Dad is wearing a dress in this photo, and he said that was common practice back then for a boy to wear dresses until about the age of three years, when he was old enough to manipulate the buttons on the fly of a pair of pants.

I have always treasured these two photos for the fact that they are now over 100 years old, and they are the only photos I have of Dad as a baby.

I think this may be my favorite picture of Dad and Clarice in their later years.

I have always thought that Dad looks like he either has been up to some mischief, or that he is about to.  Which wouldn't surprise me one little bit.


  1. Thanks for sharing your family history. my grandpa was born in 1910, I was his little buddy as my grandson is now mine. I have worked on family roots and took a break due to stress of hitting some road blocks. Some day when I have time I want to dig some more.

  2. You are welcome, Rob...I do most of my family research in the winter when other things slow down. Those roadblocks can be frustrating, but I look at it as solving a mystery, and for me, that's half the fun. I think family history is important. We come from people who believed in hard work, who trusted in God and who, even in the darkest of times, took responsibility for their choices and did not stand in line for a handout. We need to remember where we came from.

  3. My grandmas Dad (Carter) came from Kentucky. (Mom told me she drank some moonshine once while visiting family) My grandpas parents came from Sweden. His moms sisters helped raise him. (Holmes) I could not find out his fathers first name, but last name is Peterson. I think Peterson is the Norwegian, bloodline, Holmes is Swedish bloodline, and Carter is Irish. Still looking as I said maybe more this winter.

    I know that my dads side of the family has been traced all the way back to Sweden. Their surnames are Anderson, and Johnson...Ya sure, ya betcha....

  4. Rob...No wonder you have a hard time finding some of your ancestors. There must be a zillion Andersons and Johnsons and Petersons!

    My kids are part Norwegian (Ya, sure. You betcha!) on their Dad's side. Someone in that family has done extensive research so there is lots of information there.

    My people come from France on my Dad's side and from Scotland on Mother's. With other nationalities thrown in along the way for good measure. Some I can trace back to the early 1600's and others I hit a brick wall at my great-grandparents. Keep looking. There is new genealogy information being put up on the internet all the time. It is sort of like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle - one piece at a time. :)

  5. Thanks, Gorges...I've scanned a lot of old family photos, but I am amazed that the originals have actually survived this long.

  6. Anderson/Johnson/Goodman was dads side Peterson/Carter/Holmes was moms. My moms maiden name was Peterson as was my wife's. We both have brothers named Steve, both an Aunt & Uncle named Carol who lived a few blocks away before I even meet my wife. Small world ???

  7. Rob...I think that's half the fun...finding the coincidences within families or finding the interesting things they did in their lifetimes. One of my ancestors was almost literally run out of town on a rail because his neighbors just got tired of his drunkenness and troublemaking ways. And another was a Revolutionary War hero. Personally, I get a kick out of finding the black sheep in my family. Most folks want to prove they are related to royalty. I like to find I am related to the scalawags. :)