Maggie (Foster) Coffin with grandchildren Ben and Vivian

Maggie (Foster) Coffin with her grandchildren, my uncle Ben and my aunt Vivian.

Maggie (Foster) Coffin with her grandchildren, my uncle Ben and my aunt Vivian.

For the mid-to-late 1920s, my great grandmother Margaret (Foster) Coffin’s appearance in so many photographs taken in Maryland might reasonably be remarked upon, given that she lived in Nebraska. There’s another photograph of the whole Fleagle clan in 1925, and in that photo Maggie, the mother of Jennie (Coffin) Fleagle, is again holding Vivian, the most recently arrived of her daughter’s children. In that photo Uncle Ben is literally a babe in arms himself, but here his feet have reached the ground and he is rarin’ to go, and Vivian seems considerably older too, a toddler in her own right.

That makes me think this is a separate visit, perhaps late the next year, 1926, or early 1927 (some leafless twigs are visible). Or did she come and stay for an extended period to help her daughter manage the brood? My Aunt Miriam, older sibling to these two children and two more, notes that the family called Ben and Vivian and Dick “the triplets” because they came so closely after each other. Ben was born in April 1924, Vivian (still living now) in May 1925, and Dick in July 1926. Matter of fact, Dick’s arrival may be the reason Maggie is in this photo and Jennie is not.

The location is not officially identified here by any contemporary metadata, but it makes absolute sense that this would be the house on Walstan Avenue in Reisterstown, and the decoration and placement of the porch pillars strengthen the case; I’ve seen the same pillars in photos of my father Willard, who also grew up in that house. – mdf

Image archive ID:

About the physical photograph:
Nothing written on back. From the collection of Nancy Stake.


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