Sepia Saturday – Sisters, But Not

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

Today’s prompt image is a photograph of Lala Williams and Elgie Crook from the Samuel Bell Maxey Collection at the Texas State Archives. Upon first glance, we might assume that the two young girls are sisters. We would be wrong – but not entirely. Elgie’s mother and Lala’s father were siblings. Elgie’s mother died when she was a little girl and she was sent to be brought up by her uncle. The cousins grew up as sisters.

And so I have chosen a picture of two (older) girls who are not exactly sisters, yet they are.



















The young woman kneeling is my grandmother, Eveline Coates. She is pictured with Edna Hoskins. On the back of the photograph, my grandmother wrote “Pals”.

And so we know that she and Edna were close.

Eveline and Edna grew up in the small communities of Walnut and Mystic, Appanoose County, Iowa. In the 1920 U. S. Census, their family homes are separated by one house. Eveline and Edna both married in 1923 – Eveline in February and Edna in August. With the marriage of Eveline Coates to Thomas Hoskins, Eveline and Edna became sisters…in law.

I have a picture of Edna that may have been taken on the same day.

Edna Hoskins

I think Edna looks happier in the company of Eveline. Or maybe she just didn’t want to stand in the cornfield.

And here is a picture of Eveline wearing the same dress – but this doesn’t look like it was taken on the same day. Her hair is different. She is in a different location. And she has a pretty lace hat.

Eveline Coates


















It is hard to tell, but Eveline may be wearing a ring on her left hand – possibly her wedding ring, which would date this picture (or both?) as 1923 or later.

A few years ago, I found a heritage craft in a magazine that I took inspiration from and made this little tribute to Eveline and Edna.

To see what others have created with today’s sisterly prompt, visit Sepia Saturday.



Sepia Saturday – My Childhood Library

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

All those books!

I could begin with a picture of the stacks of books I have purchased but still haven’t read. Libraries, book stores, used book stores, estate sales, book jackets, jacket-less books, – they all call to me! Read this! Read me! And some that I have already read join in and call, “Read me again! You know how much you love me!”

Seems like I spend a lot of time reading blogs these days and very little time with my books. The stacks grow taller.

I do love books and places where there are books. But I don’t recall having many books when I was a child. Only a few, I think.

One of my favorites was – and still is – “The Little Engine That Could”. I love the illustrations. And, like all kids, I loved the repetition. And the story of the little engine that succeeded because of kindness, hard work, and determination.

I no longer have the book I read as a child, but I have the one I read to my children.


I also enjoyed this book of nursery rhymes. But this book stands out for another reason. When I was little, I sometimes had trouble going to sleep. There were snakes under my bed and monsters lurking in the dark. I would feel afraid and unable to close my eyes and fall asleep. I found a mental image that helped me overcome these feelings and nudge me to a restful state. It was the image of monkeys running around in a tree and acting silly. I think I got the idea from this book.


And then there is the story of “Snoopy – The Nosey Little Puppy” who was rescued from the pound. I was going to scan all of it to add here, but I had some little sisters who did a lot of scribbling in it. Let’s just call this one well-loved.

Another book I remember owning is one I no longer have nor can I remember the title or the name of the main character – although I did for many years. It was red, with the cloth library-type cover and simple black line drawing on the cover. The story was about a little girl who went to the circus alone for the first time. She bought cotton candy as soon as she arrived and then couldn’t find her ticket. The story was about her going from place to place and person to person, trying to find her ticket – which was, of course, stuck to her cotton candy. Not sure why I liked or remembered this book, except that, as I said, I didn’t have very many. If this story sounds familiar to anyone, I’d like to know!

Since American Thanksgiving is next Thursday, I’ll close with one last book from my childhood – although I really don’t remember it. Guess it wasn’t a favorite.

It claims to be an illustrated version of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, however, has this to say about the poem:
This three-stanza, 21-line poem has long been attributed to Emerson, but is definitely not by him. No author has been discoverd. It is widely reprinted in hymnals, and has been published separately as We Thank Thee (Racine, Wisc.: Whitman, 1955) and Father, We Thank You (New York: SeaStar Books, 2001).

It is always good to count one’s blessings!

If you would have preferred something that included a sepia photograph or two, I invite you to view a post I wrote about my great uncle who lived by his motto: If you can read, you can do anything. It fits the theme pretty well.

Please turn the page to the Sepia Saturday blog where you can read what other bloggers have created for today’s prompt.



Treasure Chest Thursday – Eveline’s Sewing Machine

Karen at Ancestor Soup has been sharing pictures of her grandmother’s sewing machine this week, so I decided to join her and we can compare.

Grandma’s sewing machine sat at the entryway into her kitchen, right below the mirror where Grandma fixed her hair every morning.

That indistinguishable blackness behind and on the left of cousin Deb is Grandma’s sewing machine cabinet with a decorative linen on top. Although I was a little too short to see into the mirror very well, I stood in front of the closed sewing machine cabinet most mornings so Grandma could comb my hair. The shelf just below the mirror is where she kept her pearl blue comb and some bobby pins. The rubber band to hold my pony tail waited on the sewing machine cabinet so I could hand it to Grandma at the proper time.

That’s not Grandma Eveline in the picture, by the way. The woman is Eveline’s mother, Mary Harris Coates, pictured with her great-grandchildren. I’m the one sporting the modified peeled onion look. It’s unfortunate that I can’t find a better picture of the sewing machine in Grandma’s kitchen.

Grandma’s sewing machine is a Franklin. The International Sewing Machine Collector’s Society website provides the following information on it’s page about Sears:  Beginning in 1911, the company introduced a number of machines based on Singer designs. They were the ‘Franklin’ (1911) and the ‘Minnesota A’ (1914), copies of Singer’s Model 27/127 class manufactured by the Domestic Sewing Machine Company of Buffalo, New York. The ‘Franklin’ was decorated with Egyptian styled decalcomania, clearly in imitation of Singer’s beautiful ‘Memphis’ decoration scheme. The ‘Minnesota’ was decorated in the same type of gold filigree used on the Davis-made ‘Minnesota A.

The machine folds down into the cabinet. The finish on the cabinet had turned dark and tacky with age, so my sweet husband had it refinished as a gift to me, leaving it with this beautiful oak finish.

Here you can view an advertisement from the 1916 Sears Catalog for a Franklin sewing machine that looks just like this one. And here is an ad for this cabinet style, called the “Sit-right.”

I don’t know when or from where Grandma got her sewing machine. The Sears Catalog seems likely.

The Franklin sewing machine is decorated with a colorful Egyptian scarab design. I saw one for sale on the internet that referred to this as “The Tumble Bug” sewing machine.

Grandma didn’t use her sewing machine much when I lived with her, but I know she used it countless times to make clothes for her children and herself. There are many indications of wear and use.

I never knew Grandma to buy a pattern – she made her own – or sometimes just measured and started cutting. And yes, she used flour/feed sacks to make clothes for her kids. Flowers for the girls and not flowers for the boys. Mom told me about a fancy dress she wanted for a dance or some special occasion. Grandma went to the store, looked at the dress Mom wanted, and then made one just like it.

I remember Grandma making a doll dress for me. It was yellow with black trim. Short sleeves, tucks enhancing the bodice, and a full skirt. I need to find out if that dress is still at Mom and Dad’s. Even as a little girl, I was impressed by Grandma’s ability to make that dress with no pattern. And I remember – just a little – the sound of the treadle moving the needle up and down.

Unfortunately the belt that makes it all work is broken. You can see it hanging loose down inside the cabinet. It should run up through the hole on the left top, around the middle of the hand wheel, and back down into the cabinet through the hole on the right.
There is just so much beautiful detail – like the plate on the end. (You can click to enlarge.)


The belt from the treadle also powered the bobbin winder above right. You can read more about early Singer sewing machines and knockoffs at Wikipedia.


Above is a cover on the back of the machine. I don’t know what’s inside, but Grandma must have needed to get in there for some reason as the cover plate is bent along the edges as if she had used a screwdriver to pry it open.


From what I can gather, this was a “vibrating shuttle”. Looks like it needs cleaning!

And here is the bobbin shuttle from inside the machine. You can barely see the long bobbin sticking out the left side.

That’s enough for today. More on Eveline’s sewing machine to come.

I’d love to hear about the sewing machines in your family, so please leave a comment!