(Click on the photo to see a version approximately 4 times larger.)

This is a photo that came to me from my mother which she apparently got from her mother either late in her life, or after she died.  No identification came with it but it was in a frame and that implied, to me at least, that this was a photo of greater than average importance... but for a long time I was totally incapable of figuring out whose photo this was.  Now I have, conclusively..

The apparently full grown young woman who is dressed more like a child and is holding a doll... that has to be Drucilla aka Jane Minnie Haire, and her clothing is similar in appearance to clothing I have dated to approximately the 1890s in other family photos.  German bisque dolls with wigs instead of hair molded as part of the face were available through Montgomery Ward's catalogue and other sources by the 1890s.  Drucilla was born on 22 February 1868 and would have been approximately 23 to 24 years old when this photo was taken.

Another thing that might tend towards dating the photo is that the house wall boards are nailed vertically without battens, and had been WHITEWASHED.  In my experience, both of these things seem unusual and place the photo back further in time than most "old" frame Georgia farmhouses that I've seen in my lifetime.

The thing about this photo that always confused me, though, in attempting to date it, is the shirt of the young man on the left... which looks like a "James Dean" model from the 1950s.  But unlike the others in the photo the young man in disheveled attire seems to have come in from work.  His style is "work clothes"... hardly a place to look for high fashion.  The tie on the older man looks quite contemporary to very recent times, but in checking into the history of ties, I found to my great surprise that this general sort of tie with some tendency towards becoming narrower through time, goes back far further than the 1890s.  The shirt collar of the young man on the far right is of a type that is quite correct for and typical of the 1890s.

For a long time, I was also distracted by what seemed to me to be a resemblance between the older man and my Davis ancestors... but I finally noticed how similar his jawline is to that of my great uncle George Washington Haire (see: Uncle George & Aunt Allie  )... and I also noticed his apparent darkness of complexion which is especially in contrast with the young woman.  I also note the much lighter foreheads of the three males in the photo... clear indication of much time spent in the sun wearing a hat...  The women's complexions are both lighter and uniform from the top to bottom of their faces, though only the young woman is of an apparent alabaster whiteness that I associate not with "race" but rather with a specific form of hereditary hypopigmentation (partial albinism) that I believe to have come down through our Butler family line.  It doesn't necessarily affect all descendants or those it does affect uniformly... but it clearly shows up here and there down the line of descent.

The older woman in the photo clearly resembles my grandmother, Mary Lee Haire (see: MerLee ) .  The young man on the far left resembles grandma's brother, John Alexander ("Elic") Hare (sic) (see: Elic ).

If I'm right in identifying the folks in this photo the older woman is my 2-great grandmother Eliza E. Butler, and the older man is my 2-great grandfather John Hair(e).  The young man on the left is probably their second-youngest son Henry Haire (so far as I know I have no photo of Henry nor do I have any idea of "what went with him"), and the young man on the far right is probably their youngest son Dock aka Thomas D. Haire.  I have a photo of Dock Haire as a middle-aged man (see: Doctor Haire ), and though he changed a lot with age this does seem to be him.  Since John Hair(e) died on on 7 January 1896 this photo could not possibly date to a time later than that.  But Dock Haire married in Decatur County, Georgia, on 22 December 1892, not long after he reached age 18.  My best estimate of the date of this photo is circa 1891-1892, and it's likely that what I have is a copy of the original photo... a copy made within perhaps 15 or 20 years after the original, and probably cutting off a more expanded view of the house that was likely to have been in the original photo.  Photographic methods changed sufficiently within that time span that the general shape of the most prevalent type of photos other than tintypes (and this photo shows no sign of the image reversal inherent to tintypes) was altered.

NOTE:  I've left what I said back in April alone, above, but I've reconsidered it.  I think it is very possible that Henry Haire died as a child.  If that is so, or in any case, the young man on the left may very well be my own great grandfather James Daniel Haire (see J.D.).  To the best of my knowledge I have only one (other?) photo of him, at a very advanced age, so I have very little basis for comparison.

This page was created by Richard White on 27 April 2005,
and was most recently edited on 7 Dec 2005.