52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 2:
Favorite Photo

William and Uva LaFara

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. It seems my choice of “favorite” changes as I do my family research. If I am fortunate enough to have a photo of the subject I am researching, well it becomes the favorite. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children who were a complete mystery to me until last spring when I was researching for the 2019 Week 16 prompt, Out of Place[1] 

Mystery Photo

A few years ago I was going through photos I inherited from my father and discovered this charming image of these two little children. I’d never seen this photo before, and had no idea who these children were.

I turned the photo over and fortunately someone had written on the back, “From William and Uva Lafara to Cousin Edith.” Unfortunately that caption shed absolutely no light on who these children were. I had no one named Uva Lafara in my family tree. I had some William’s, but none that went with an Uva. And, who was Cousin Edith? I set the photo aside but did not forget about it.

Discovering a Cousin

While researching my paternal 2nd great grandmother, I discovered a “Jesse Lafara, age11, grand son” living with her in Cicero, Indiana in 1900 along with her second husband William Sanders. [2]  I had never heard of Jesse and I decided that once I finished the research of Catherine, I would find out more about Jesse Lafara.

My research quickly led me to realize Jesse was the son of my great grandfather’s younger brother, Henry Lafara. Jesse was born 29 Oct 1888 in Arcadia, Indiana. His father Henry died in 1894 leaving a widow with 3 little girls and Jesse. For reasons I will never know, Jesse’s mother moved to Iowa with her 3 girls and left Jesse with his paternal grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafara Sanders. Catherine had been widowed in 1880 when her husband George Lafara died. Catherine remarried to William Sanders in 1882. About 1904, the family, with Jesse, relocated to Summitville in Madison County, Indiana. [1]

William and Uva Lafara, 1916
Back of photo

As a side note, I knew about Henry’s death and the widow and three daughters, but for some reason had not previously discovered Jesse.

Marriage, Children, Mystery Solved

I soon found a marriage record for Jesse. In April 1910 he married a young woman from Delaware County named Leveria Gibson. [3] The young couple settled in Summitville near the Sanders’ and soon added to their family with a son born in 1911 named William Henry Lafara. [4] The next record I found was for a daughter born in 1913 and named Uva Delila Lafara. [5] This was the “Ah-ha!” moment.

I now knew who those two cherub-cheeked children in that old photo were, and how they connected to me. William and Uva Lafara were 2nd cousins to my father. But, who was cousin Edith? Then I recalled my great grandfather’s sister Elizabeth Lafara Carothers, she had a daughter named Edith. This photo must have come to my father by way of her. I estimate the date of the photo to be sometime in 1916. Solving the mystery of this favorite photo was very gratifying.

Relationship tree

EPILOGUE

I also discovered a newspaper report of young William being sick with pneumonia in the spring of 1918 and later succumbing to the illness. [6] [7] His mother gave birth to a daughter just two months later, and sadly the baby did not survive two weeks. Jesse and his wife soon separated, the divorce proceedings dragged on for three years. [8] At one point, Jesse ran off with Uva but, he returned and the judge gave him joint custody with his ex-wife and he paid her $5 a week for child support. [9] In 1946, Uva married a widower 18 years her senior, and had no children. Jesse lived his later years with Uva and died in 1969, Uva died in 1991. Jesse, his three children, his grandmother, and step-grandfather are all buried near one and other in Vinson Cemetery south of Summitville. [10]

Vinson Cemetery: Lafara and Sanders

Headstone next to plant is William and Sarah Lafara, headstone in center is Uva Lafara Ratchford, military headstone is William Sanders, tall headstone to his left is Catherine Landon Lafara Sanders and headstone to her left is Jesse Lafara.

Other Favorite Photos

John LaFara, 1910

John LaFara, 1910

My paternal great grandfather was a farmer and laborer.  Other than his engagement photo, he is always in dirty work clothes in photos.

Earl LaFara, 1907

Earl LaFara, 1907

My paternal grandfather is a teenager in this photo, proving teenagers of all eras can be silly.

Pearl Osborne, 1914

Pearl Osborne, 1914

My paternal grandmother was just 21 when this photo was taken. I colorized it using PhotoShop and chose to imagine her wearing a dress trimmed in her favorite color.

Grace Osborne, 1928

Grace Osborne, 1928

My paternal great aunt was lots of fun. Here she is hamming it up with a neighbor child, Mary Ann Buskel.

Homer King, 1885

Homer King, 1885

This is a very small tin-type photo of my maternal great grandfather. He was just 20 years old in this image and it is the oldest photo in my mother’s collection.

Edith King and Ella Rumple King, 1918

Edith King and Ella Rumple King, 1918

My maternal grandmother and great grandmother posed on a hay rake.  I like this image because of the outfits they are wearing. 

Roxie King, 1910

Roxie King, 1910

My maternal great aunt was just a teenager in this photo. She seems to be playing dress-up in an oversized coat and hat.

SOURCES

1. https://barblafara.com/catherine-landon-out-of-place/

2. Entry for Jesse Lafara, U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Cicero, Tipton, Indiana; Enumeration District: 0119; Page: 11; FHL microfilm: 1240406

3. “The Alexandria Times-Tribune” 25 Apr 1910, p3, “Society:Personal” col2, “Summitville Man Weds”, Alexandria, Indiana; Online: www.newspapers.com
https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=31908355; accessed 9 Jan 2020

4. Entry for William Henry Lafara, Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 [database on-line], Ancestry.com; Indiana State Board of Health; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Birth Certificates; Year: 1911; Roll: 12; Certificate# 29055.

5. Entry for Uva Delila Lafara, Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 [database on-line], Ancestry.com; Indiana State Board of Health; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Birth Certificates; Year: 1913; Roll: 9; Certificate# 31387.

6. “The Fairmount News” 18 Mar 1918, p2, col3, “Summitville”, Fairmount, Indiana; Online: www.newspapers.com
https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=31910522; accessed 9 Jan 2020

7. Entry for William H. Lafara, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line], Ancestry.com; Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1918; Roll: 7.

8. “The Alexandria Times-Tribune” 10 Jun 1919, p1, col6, “Woman Don’t Like the Town of Summitville”, Alexandria, Indiana; Online: www.newspapers.com
https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=31910634; accessed 9 Jan 2020

9. “The Fairmount News” 13 Jun 1921, p1, col3, “Divorce is Granted to Wife of Lafara”, Fairmount, Indiana; Online: www.newspapers.com
https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=31911099; accessed 9 Jan 2020

10. Find A Grave memorials:
Catherine “Kate” Landon Sanders, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/57766427
Jesse Elmer Lafara, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68854311
William Henry Lafara, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/69602877
Uva Delila Lafara Ratchford, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68853499
Sarah M. Lafara, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/69602915