How many times have you come across an old family photo, but have no idea of the identity of the people in it? Unfortunately, too often our ancestors neglected to scrawl identifying information on the backs of their photos. Fortunately for me, my grandmother Harriott Wickham (second row, third from left in the photo above) understood how important it is to record names of people in her photos for future generations. She not only preserved this photo of her graduating class, she also recorded her classmates’ names on an accompanying scrap of paper.
The members of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907 are no more. But in their day, at the beginning of their adult lives, they were full of enthusiasm and hope for the future. As I gazed at their faces, so serious, yet so full of life, I wondered who they were and how they lived their lives? I decided to find out.
Not only had my grandmother recorded the names of her classmates, she kept a diaries during those years that describe many of them and tell of her interactions with them. Unfortunately, the diary for her senior year is missing, but she did preserve one for May 1908 to May 1909. From it, and from information I gleaned from research, I began to form a picture of these young people and their families; of where they came from and how they spent their senior year–and the rest of their lives.
What did they do? In small town America of the early 20th Century, young people went to balls, hung out at the library, formed societies, performed in plays and concerts, and played basketball (both boys and girls). They had séances and house parties and spent their summers in cottages on Lake Erie, lazing away the days and dancing at “The Grove” at Ruggles Beach at night.
Who were they and their families? What stock did they come from and how did they spend their lives after graduation? Because I have their names, I’ve been able to answer some of those questions. One of the young men in the photo became a U.S. Senator, but the rest of the the class led ordinary lives: some did not do well, some of them had successful careers. But each one of them has a story I want to tell.
Using my grandma’s diaries and research on the internet, I’m continuing to flesh out the stories behind these faces. Over the next year, I’ll post what I’ve learned–and what I don’t know. I ask your help as I take this journey: to correct my mistakes, and to add your stories to the tale of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907.
Please like this post and let me know what you think in the comments. Thank you.
Filed under: Alice McCammon, Arthur Young, Carrie Spurrier, Cleo Collins, Earl Sinclair, Edna West, Eugene Bloxham, Florence Bascom, Florence Davidson, Fred French, Fred Osborne, Harriott Wickham, Harry Holiday, Homer Beattie, Inez Adams, Irene Bragdon, Irene Eline, Lillian Smith, Myrtle Woodruff, Nina Humiston, Norwalk HS Class of 1907, Robert Venus, Ruby Hoyt, Ruth Jenkins, Sarah Barnett, Sheldon Laning, Stephen Young, Uncategorized | Tagged: Adams Genealogy, Barnett Genealogy, Bascom Genealogy, Beattie Genealogy, Bloxham Genealogy, Bragdon Genealogy, Collins Genealogy, Davidson Genealogy, Eline Genealogy, French Genealogy, Holiday Genealogy, Hoyt Genealogy, Humiston Genealogy, Jenkins Genealogy, Laning Genealogy, McCammon Genealogy, Norwalk High School Class of 1907, Osborne Genealogy, Sinclair Genealogy, Smith Genealogy, Spurrier Genealogy, Venus Genealogy, West Genealogy, Wickham Genealogy, Woodruff Genealogy, Young Genealogy | 12 Comments »