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.
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 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 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.
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?