I feel very lucky to be the family genealogist for both my and my husband’s families and consider myself the guardian of its history. I am doubly lucky that, being the guardian, I have possession of literally hundreds of family photographs of people born as early as 1818 in places all around the United States and even of a few taken in Europe.
I wasn’t even aware that I had three early school photos until I started looking through pictures that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, Pearl Lillian Brasher, born in on 9 February 1898 in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. Pearl didn’t live in Sulphur Springs for very long as the family moved to Oklahoma when she was a young girl.
One of the pictures is of the third grade class of Hobart, Oklahoma. There is a little boy helpfully holding the class sign for the photographer. Pearl is the girl third from the left in the front row. Each of the photos, which are copies, not the originals, have a little girl marked in them. I suspect that my father-in-law was the one who picked his mother out of the group. Given Pearl’s age, this would be the third grade class of 1907.
Hobart, Oklahoma 3rd Grade Class of 1907
I have two other school photos, which appear to also be taken in Hobart and from Pearl’s apparent ages in them, I would say they are of her first and second grade classes, which would have been the years of 1905 and 1906.
Hobart, Oklahoma 2nd Grade Class of 1906
Notice that five of the boys in the front row, while dressed in their finest, are shoeless!
Hobart, Oklahoma 1st Grade Class of 1905
I knew nothing about Hobart, so I googled it. Hobart is the county seat of Kiowa County, which was formed in 1901, when it was part of Oklahoma Territory. That means this photo depicts a scene from Hobart’s very early history before Oklahoma was a state.
Kiowa County is in the southwest corner of the state, next to Greer County.
The Brashers didn’t live long in Hobart. By 1910, Pearl’s family was back in Texas in Plainview, Hale County.
The photos had no names noted on the back of them, except for Pearl’s, but this is the kind of item that I always try to share with a local historical society. I contacted the Kiowa Historical Museum in Hobart. They said they would love to have a copy of these photographs so digital files were sent off this morning.
I checked the 1910 census – Hobart had four wards by then so looking for twelve year old children who might have been part of that class isn’t very feasible. I hope the Historical Museum will print out a large copies of these photos and display them. Maybe there are children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of some of these students who still live locally and might recognize their ancestors so names can be put to faces.