Monday, May 20, 2019

Rayson Brown, 1920s Nature Photographer

G. Rayson Brown (1898-1974) was fascinated by the wonders of nature. He combined that love of the outdoors with his photography hobby in the early 1920s after moving to Los Angeles, California. Rayson was my husband's Great Uncle. Warren, Rayson's only child, inherited the collection. Warren didn't have children and when he passed, my husband and I became the keepers of the collection.

Rayson photographed people, always outdoors, as well as majestic scenery, plants, animals and insects. Some of his close-up plant, animal and insect photos were sold to magazines and published. He took great pride in carefully documenting and cataloging his collection. Out of the hundreds of photos, I chose a few of my favorites to share.

Rayson married Edythe Grace Sisson in 1923, soon after arriving in Los Angeles. Edythe and her family are in many of Rayson's photographs.

Edythe and Mrs. Holden at Camp Baldy, 1924

Edythe and her mother in Stoddard Canyon, 1924

In the photo below, from left to right, are Edythe's father Charles Sisson, Edythe, her Uncle Herbert Bragg and Aunt Mae (Duffield) Bragg, her mother Edith (Duffield) Sisson, her sister Vera (Sisson) Armstrong and brother-in-law Bill Armstrong.

Sissons, Braggs, Armstrongs & Brown picnic, Stoddard Canyon, 1924

"Yours truly" [Rayson] & wife, 1926

Edythe and Aunt Nellie Nettleingham at Seal Beach, 1927

Edythe's Aunt Mae and Uncle Herb lived in Long Beach. The family took many trips there to visit and enjoy the beach.

Long Beach Pier, 1923

Long Beach Waterfront, 1923

Rayson and Edythe, usually with her sister Vera and brother-in-law Bill Armstrong, explored as much of the state as they could when not working. Rayson always had his camera and tripod on hand to document their travels.

Lighthouse at end of San Pedro Calif. breakwater, 1923

Road around Catalina Island looking East, 1923

Glass Bottom Boat Catalina, 1923

Scene from Busch Gardens, 1924

There are dozens of photos of the aftermath of a 1925 earthquake in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Earthquake ruins, 1925

Yachts in Race to Honolulu, 1926

Rayson must have truly loved photographing and documenting the plants, animals, and insects found in nature. There are hundreds of photos and boxes and boxes of slides. Getting clear, close-up photos is a challenge for photographers today but was even more so in the 1920s.

Tarantula and it's abode, 1923

Carpenter bees, 1925

Butterfly, 1925

Sow Bug, 1925

Spotted Anthomya fly (Gray), 1925

Elderbug, Black, white and red, 1925

Buffalo tree hopper (Green), 1925

Milliped (Brown), 1925


Crane fly, 1927

Alligator in Los Angeles alligator farm, 1923

Lizzard, 1924

Burrowing owl, 1925

Geranium seed (magnified), 1926

Friday, May 10, 2019

My Great Aunt Betty

This week the prompt for the #52ancestors project is "nurture". Of course, we all think of our mothers and grandmothers, or a nurse in the family but nothing I came up with felt quite right. Then I thought of my great Aunt Betty. She was one of those people that makes everyone feel at ease. As a kid, I never felt like I was bothering her. As wonderful as my mom and grandma were, I know I sometimes got on their last nerve! But not Aunt Betty. She just loved all the children.

Betty Louise Kinser was born on September 14, 1929, to Doc Lonzo Kinser and Sadie Marcella (Myers) Kinser in Kansas City, Missouri. She was their only child and was doted on by her mother.

Betty and John Powell

On October 11, 1947, just after turning 18, Betty married Omern "John" Powell in Kansas City. They were very much in love and longed to start a family. Sadly, they were unable to have children. Betty traveled with John to his military posts while he was in the Navy, and waited as patiently as she could while he served at sea during the Korean War. When his service ended, they made their home in Independence, Missouri.

Betty and John are the couple on the left with their arms wrapped around one another.
Also in the picture are many of John's siblings and their children.

John was one of eight children, so there were many nieces and nephews for Aunt Betty to love on back in Missouri. She really, truly, loved them all. And when the nieces and nephews grew older and started having children, those babies were loved on by Aunt Betty and Uncle John, too.  Every one of us lucky enough to have spent any time with them has special memories.

Betty and John Powell, seated, with three great-nieces soaking up their attention.

Betty loved to entertain and hosted family whenever she could. Because they were a professional couple without the expenses that children bring, they had all the nicest things. For example, Aunt Betty collected decorative eggs and had them displayed in cases. It was always fun to look at them, though our parents cautioned us, "Don't touch!" She also enjoyed buying a little gift for each child when we came to visit, making us feel special and welcome.

Betty passed away in 2011, followed by John in 2014. When their home was being cleaned out by the family, several items were discovered with notes attached saying who the item should go to. Betty had done this before she died. What wonderful surprises those things were, coming after she was gone. By saying who the items should go to, she made it so personal and special. One last gift from sweet Aunt Betty.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Cars (and trucks) in Family Photos

I have a bunch of old family photos that feature a car. Some of them are just the car, but most of them have some people posed in front of the vehicle. People have always been proud of the vehicles they buy, so some of the pictures are probably to show off that car. Some of them were taken on arrival or just before leaving after having traveled somewhere for a visit. Others might just have been a coincidence. I went through all the pictures I have and chose some of my favorites to share, along with the captions written on the back, if there was one.

Bobbys 59 Buick
This one makes me laugh. It's a fantastic photo of my mom with her siblings, probably taken in 1959. Their Uncle Bobby's car would have been brand new. What's funny about it is what's written on the back of the picture. Not a date, not the names or ages of the kids, not what they were doing, but "Bobbys 59 Buick". That was what we needed to remember about this picture, haha.

May 25, 1947
This photo, taken in the Spring of 1947, is of my Grandma Cobb (far right) when she was about 7 months pregnant with my mom. The other two women are unknown. The only thing written on the back was the date.

Bob & Roy
My Grandpa Cobb and his brother in about 1946. I'm not sure if it's when Grandpa was released from service or if he was just home on leave.

Bobby, Louise & Jeanie Cobb
 My mom, on the right, with her little sister and their Uncle Bob.

This is my mom's cousin's husband. I love the flip in his hair and how he's standing with his face in profile - looks kinda "Hollywood" to me.

My Grandpa Cavanaugh is in the middle with his brother Melvin (Deacon) on the left and an unknown man on the right.

These are my Dad's parents, probably about the time they were married.

This is the German jalopy I had (It fell apart!)
This is Oliver Timson, husband of my great aunt Evelyn, when he was overseas in WWII.

 Great Aunt Evelyn with her daughter, Carla.

My great-grandpa Cavanaugh, his son Melvin and dog Skippy getting ready to move some apples.

My Grandpa Cavanaugh looking very debonair in what looks like a racing car.

Dec. 29, 1951

My Grandma Cobb on her parent's farm for a visit in 1951.

Aug 1958

My great-grandma Powell, on the right, with her sister Maxine. 

My Aunt and her new husband in 1957.

This was my Dad's 1966 Ford Fairlane 500.

I don't know whose Maverick this was, but I love this picture not only because someone was super proud of this car, but because that's my grandparent's house in the background and there are so many great memories there.

Aug 19, 1951
And this one is just adorable. It wasn't only the grown-ups that were proud of their cars. My mom is in the driver's seat and her little sister is posing on the hood.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Cobb(s) and Bruton Parish Church

Robert Cobb(s), 1627-1682, son of Ambrose Cobbs and Ann White, arrived in the United States with his family when he was 8 years old. As a young man, he settled in Marston Parish, York County, Virginia where he served as church warden of Marston Parish from 1658 until 1674, when Marston Parish and Middletown parish were absorbed into Bruton Parish. Then he became one of the first vestrymen of the Bruton Parish Church.

A tile I found at an antique shop features the present day Bruton Parish Church.

In 1677 the vestry decided that instead of repairing the existing churches in the parish, they wanted to build a new one out of brick to serve the entire consolidated area. An agreement was signed in 1681 that would require the payment of  "L150 and sixty pounds of good, sound, merchantable, sweet-scented tobacco. to be leveyed of each tytheable in the parish for three years together" in order to build the church. The land for the church and churchyard was given as a gift forever by the wealthy colonist, John Page. It was in what was then known as Middle Plantation, but in 1699 it was renamed Williamsburg when it became the colonial capital.

A plaque commemorating those involved in the building of the first brick church
at Bruton Parish includes the name of Robert Cobb.

Robert Cobb(s) died in December of 1682, midway through the construction of the church. A new, larger church was built in the same location in 1715, when Robert's son Ambrose was a member of the vestry, and still stands in Williamsburg. 

A plaque commemorating the 1710-1715 vestry, when the present church was built,
includes the name Ambrose Cobb(s), son of Robert Cobb(s).

Robert Cobb(s) was my 9th Great-Grandfather, his son Ambrose, my 8th Great-Grandfather. These men were in the midst of the beginnings of this country and knew all the important players in colonial Virginia. They were strong Christian leaders in the community and I'm proud to have them as ancestors.