This spring I was out walking my dogs for one of their daily trips near my vacation home in Lakeside, Ohio when I cam across an interesting find. Most of my three times a day walks come out rather normally, but this one was going to be different.
While walking I came across a large pile of garbage from a cottage that was in the process of being prepared for sale. Not normally being one to look through someone’s trash I was struck by an oil painting of a women that was staring back at me. The picture was of a woman that was dressed in a black dress from the mid 1850’s. Vision’s of the Antique Road show were dancing through my head, but then what caught my eye was the picture behind the women.
The second image was of an older woman that looked similar to Queen Victoria and I was struck by how unusual it was to be throwing it out. The picture to me looked like a photograph that had been altered with color. I would later find out that the picture was taken just prior to 1903. Imagine my amazement when I turned to look on the back and discovered a genealogy of family names which included the women in the picture. Needless to say this got my genealogy blood flowing.
The dog walk was shortened and I attempted to navigate the trip back with two paintings and two dogs on leashes that did not understand what I had just found. Walking two dogs can be a challenging task on its own, but with the addition of the two paintings and genealogy blood flowing it went fast without the usual stops along the way.
Once back at the cottage I began to analyze the information that was on the second picture. The information was as follows.
Sarah Beatty’s mother
John and Rachel Beatty’s grandmother
Marcia Jane and Mary Louise Beatty’s great grandmother
Bella Brown Beatty
Died Sep 3, 1905
Was married Dec 29, 1846
To John Beatty April 16, 1819 to 1897
Joseph Beatty July 4, 1865- March 1907
m. Sarah Henrietta Kerr
John David Beatty
Oct. 4, 1896
Father of Marcia, Mary Louise and David
These were my beginning clues on my search. Being a professional genealogist I thought it would be an interesting test of my research skills in a new way. The older woman in the picture was Bella Brown Beatty. She was married to John Beatty on Dec. 29, 1846. Bella would die in Sep 3, 1905. I was curious about Bella and John’s potential connection to the cottage that was up for sale.
The first step I took was to travel over to the Lakeside Archives to do a search of the property and determine the ownership history. A few years back the cottages in Lakeside were historically evaluated to get the area on the Historic Register. It is a valuable tool for reviewing the history of the homes. I hit pay dirt. The first name was Eloise Matham Hully who owned the property from 1909 to 1956. The owner of the property at the time of the survey was May Beatty Hagen. These were my key names to searching the history of the family in this picture both backwards and forwards.
The second step was to look at both land records for the house and the property owner rosters. The land records date very early starting in 1910 and ending with 1924 with major breaks in between. The person listed as the owner during this time period was a Sarah Beatty. Could this be the Sarah Beatty listed on the cards on the back of the picture? I looked through the owner directories from 1930 to current with major breaks in the books. From 1930 to 1951 the property was owned by a E M Hully. Starting in 1964 the names listed was Mary H Beatty. The name changed to Mary Beatty Hagen in 1973. In 1985 the property would be owned by the Hammer family and this would be the case until 2006. Ownership then would change to the current owner and the person selling the cottage.
The clues gathered here included the Beatty name and the long connection to Eloise who was the E M Hully in the directories. The other address for Eloise and Mary was listed as Deland, Florida. This would be the next step in my research. Starting with the US Census and working backwards I need to determine the connection between these two ladies and the Beatty family on the cards.
The best way to complete the search was to take a look at the 1940 US census and the place to look was Deland, Volusia, Florida. I was able to locate Eloise Hulley age 72 years, widow and born in New Jersey. Living with her was Mary Beatty age 39, divorced and born in Pennsylvania. Eloise was born in 1868 and Mary was born in 1901. Need to identify a connection with these ladies to the cottage in Lakeside.
Moved on to the 1930 census here I was able to identify a Louise Hulley with no age listed, but living in Deland, Volusia, Florida. She was married to Lincoln Hulley with no age listed. Lincoln was listed as a President of a University. The University was identified as Stetson. Louise and Lincoln were both identified as being born in New Jersey. Looking at Stetson University history would offer more clues to my hunt.
Searching for Mary Beatty she was found in Pittsburgh, Alleghany, Pennsylvania along with John Beatty. Mary was listed as born 1901 in Pennsylvania. Curiously her parents are listed as being born in Northern Ireland. Her husband John was born 1896 in Pennsylvania. They had a daughter Marcia who was born in Pennsylvania in 1925. Is this Marcia Jane that was listed on the back of the picture? Later research would confirm this.
It is amazing what you can put together from a picture. Fortunately I was able to piece all the puzzles together using the Lakeside Archives and the Family Search website on the internet. The paper trail continued through vital records as well as the Stetson University archives where pictures of the Hulley family at Lakeside. Lincoln was running bible classes every summer in Lakeside until his death in 1937. The search was complete.
Preservation of pictures is important even if they are not your family. A wonderful story can be created from a picture. Amazing genealogy can happen even when walking the dogs.
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A serendipity made your day, didn't it? Those pictures were saved for a higher purpose. They came into the hands of someone who knew exactly what to do with them. Kudos to you, Derek.
Wonderful story, Derek! I'm glad you rescued them and were able to successfully trace the family. Were you able to find a living descendant to return the paintings?
The irony is that the people that were throwing it out were the living relatives. The two ladies are sitting on the wall in my living room. Amazing how many people fail to take care of their Legacy.