Images of the Past


Every morning when I go to my computer for my modern technology fix, my desktop wallpaper reminds me of a very different time, almost 100 years ago.  Taken in 1915, in Mobile, Alabama, this four-generation photograph includes (standing, on the right) my great-great grandmother, Mary Anne Davis Hagan; (standing, on the left) my great-grandmother, Mary Becker Hagan Higgins; (seated) my great-great-great grandmother, Luocretia Hall Davis, born in 1830; and (in her lap) my great-uncle Walter Martin Higgins, Jr., my grandmother‘s oldest brother.  I love the way his mother and grandmother are looking at him with such delighted smiles, which I imagine he is returning.  I think of how he would grow up to be a Brigadier General and how Mima worshipped him.  I wonder about the dog–what his name is and who he belonged to.  And I wonder if the houses behind are still standing and if on one of my now frequent trips to Mobile (where my oldest child attends Spring Hill College) I might be able to find out.

This photo is more formal and I don’t like it as much for that reason, although it is clearer.  I wonder about that day–if they were posing for this formal photograph and then the photographer decided to play around a bit as he was leaving with the smiling shot on the front lawn, so different from most older family pictures.  We will never know, but I am glad they took the time that day to have these pictures made.  There is something awe-inspiring to me about seeing Luocretia, who was born in 1830, owned slaves, and  lived through the Civil War, holding in her lap my Uncle Walter, whom I remember from his yearly visits to my grandmother, always around Halloween for some reason, as a kindly gentleman in a cardigan sweater.

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  1. June 7, 2012

    […] picture (one of a pair) hung on the wall of my Uncle Walter’s nursery, just about 100 years ago.   My grandmother unearthed them when my little sister was a baby, and […]

  2. November 2, 2012

    […] written about my family connection to Mobile before–it had kind of a mythical allure to me growing up, that place we came from.  My […]

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