Tom Selleck Or My Great-Great-Great Grandfather

HWC Folk and His Famiily, ca 1876

At a glance, most Americans or those familiar with American television and film stars might think the older man in this photo was actor Tom Selleck all dressed up for his next movie role. I saw the likeness the first time I came across this photograph of my great-great-great-grandfather, Henry William Capers Folk with his family.

The younger boys on the right and left sides of the photo became physicians like their father, HWC Folk, the Tom Selleck look-alike. The boy to the right of his mother, grew up to be my great-great grandfather, William Nicholas Hemeter Folk who is also the adult male you see in the image below. Standing at his knee is my great-grandfather, William Obed Folk.

Mahala Clementine & William Nicholas Hermeter Folk With Their Children, Mikellah & William Obed, ca 1899

Willam Obed, grew up to marry Annie Claire Mattox, my great-grandmother pictured below. I still have a few gifts she gave me when I was a little girl and some of my earliest memories are being small enough to walk under her heavy oak (I think) table in a darkish dining room.

I wish I had known her when she was a young woman or could find more stories about her now. She looks so sure of herself in the image below. I think she looks like she’s smiling with her eyes even though her mouth is set in a straight line. She’s got a sassy look about her that I like.

I do know that she had an interesting history prior to meeting and marrying my great-grandfather and it was very unusual for the time. She had a first marriage that was annulled according to my mother’s research although I had always heard she was divorced. For the daughter of a Primitive Baptist Minister and a woman born in 1879, I’m sure either would have caused a bit of a scandal.

Annie Claire Mattox

Annie Claire and William Obed had three children, one being my great-aunt, who was christened William Michael Folk, a name which evolved into Wylly Folk with the addition of St. John after her marriage. The baby below with ” Willy Mike ” as they called her, is my grandfather, Walton Obed Folk.

Walton, Wylly & Minnie (Her Doll)

Walton as a baby with older sister, Willy Mike.

Here you see my grandfather, Walton with my great-aunt Wylly and their baby brother, my great-uncle Johnny. ( Photo was hand colored by my sister Margaret )

My great-grandfather, William Folk with his boys, Johnny and Walton around 1928.

My grandfather Walton grew up to marry Elizabeth Procter shown in the photo from the 40s above.

Their only child was my mother, Elizabeth Judith who was born in 1940 and is shown here with her father, Walton.

She married my father, Gene Harper in December of 1959.

Gene & Judy Harper With Daughter, Elizabeth - 1960

Nine months later I was born. That’s me, Elizabeth Elwyn Harper when I was about 12 weeks old. You can find out interesting things when you spend time searching through your family history.

I had always thought I was the fourth Elizabeth in a row in my family, but it turns out my great-grandmother Bess Proctor was not an Elizabeth after all, but a Bessie making me only the third Elizabeth and not the fourth as I have always said when telling stories about my family history.

What about you, have you ever discovered some bit of family history that you’d thought was true that actually was different from what you’d always believed?


8 thoughts on “Tom Selleck Or My Great-Great-Great Grandfather

  1. Okay, you know I have to say this:

    With Tom Selleck in your family tree, and acting in your career history, is it any wonder that you’re married to SEAN CONNORY!!! LOL!

  2. he really does look like Tom Selleck and there is some sort of resemblance i see between you and Annie Claire Mattox – you’ve got the smiling eyes and spirit.
    Family history can be so interesting. I love the old photos too.

  3. See Elizabeth, families often develop stories which are really legends, like the one that got away and the like. After a couple of tellings, they just become part of the family lore. But seriously, Bessie is truly a derivative of Elizabeth. So I don’t think you’re wrong to say you’re the fourth Elizabeth. Even if she was baptized ‘Bessie’, she’s still an Elizabeth. Look at all the names that come from it. Liz, Liza, Beth, Bessie! In Ireland there is the derivative Eilis pron. aylish, and Isabel is also Elizabeth, I believe.

    So you were right all along 🙂

  4. This is such a wonderful collection of photos and knowledge of family history. Have you looked into any possible links with Selleck, as the resemblance is uncanny?

  5. How wonderful to have so many family photos and to be able to trace back so far!

    I’ll be in touch regarding my visit in May – it would be wonderful to meet in person if possible!

  6. I was surprised to learn that my grandfather who had lived all his life as a Canadian was born in North Dakota! And we have a family history that shows I am the 6th generation from the family who immigrated from Ireland in 1821. I wish my great , etc, grandfather had looked less scarey and more like Tom Sellack! They are working on updating the family history to include the 8th generation. We always go to that book to come up with names for our babies.

  7. We share a Great-Great-Great Grandfather in Henry William Capers Folk M.D. .
    Some information from our genealogy-
    Dr. Henry William Capers Folk (2/2/1831 – 5/13/1887)
    Confederate States Army
    Pvt C Hampton Legion Calvary
    War Surgeon
    Manassas, Bull Run, Yorktown Siege, Williamsburg
    Newberry College, Philadelphia College of Medicine, MUSC
    Brunson Town Cemetery, Brunson, SC
    Spoke 6 Languages

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