I’ve been looking for this image of the Mayberry School student body of 1899 for many months. I had a bad photocopy of a bad photocopy of it, and I was sure there must be a better printing out there somewhere. I became aware of this photo, like its twin from 1896, only recently when I was going through the genealogical research papers of my Uncle Dick. The bad photocopy had “Taneytown Record, circa 1957” handwritten across the top, and it included a caption with the names of everyone depicted and a footnote saying that the original photo from which the published image was made was loaned to the newspaper by a local named Solomon Wantz, who is standing in the third row here and who I’m pretty sure died a number of years ago. I finally found the original newspaper clipping in a file cabinet in the research room of the Historical Society of Carroll County in Westminster, Maryland, which I visited last week while I was ‘back East’ to attend my Aunt Miriam‘s memorial service. Unfortunately, the mid-Twentieth-Century printing in the newspaper* was also muddy and hard to make out, as I could now see. That’s why I only had bad photocopies of bad photocopies. That’s just how it had been printed.
When I returned home, I was rooting through some old papers that had come to me from…well, maybe from Miriam, and maybe from Uncle Dick via Cousin Tim, I don’t know. But I found some more photocopies of old photos – actually refound; I’d had them for a while and forgotten them – photos that I believe to have belonged to Aunt Janette (my great aunt, actually). Among these items was – mirabile dictu! – a photocopy of the 1899 photo. It was not a bad photocopy but a fair one, and it was not a photocopy of the newspaper clipping from the 1950s but a photocopy of the original print, ruffled edges and all. This is the photo I’ve posted above. It’s just a bit easier to see the faces.
Of the nine children of Benjamin and Martha Jane Fleagle of Mayberry, six are present in this photo. The girl with dark sleeves in the second row, second from the left, is the baby of the family, Aunt Janette, listed as Janet here. Up a row and over one to the right is my grandfather, James, and up another row and one to the right again is his older brother, my great uncle Ben, the tallest boy standing against the brick side of the building. In the same row as Janette but at the other end, Aunt Ruth is the fifth one in from the right, and Aunt Rena, listed here by her full name, Lorena, is almost directly behind her in the next row up (these three great aunts are shown with their mother and brother James here). Lillian, as I said, is the teacher. She is 25 years old here and since she is listed as ‘Miss Lillian Fleagle’ we can assume she is unmarried. Her married name later was Baker. All of her young siblings here became teachers as well. The oldest sister, Carrie, also a teacher, is not present here, having by this time already established herself away from the family farm and local school. Nor is Susan Catherine (“Katie”), who died at age 16 of complications from measles, or Annie Charity, the fourth oldest child and the only one of the siblings besides Katie who did not become a teacher. Annie said that studying made her head ache, according to my Aunt Miriam, and she married a farmer, Thomas Keefer. She is depicted in the big reunion photo of 1925 – alas without Thomas, who had been run over and killed in 1923.
As for the names of the others gathered here, they were in the caption of the newspaper photo but not, obviously, part of the original photo. Following is the text from the caption, as originally published, in case those names are of interest to you:
Left to Right, 1st Row – Edgar K. Fleagle, John Hiltebridle, Charley Eckard, John Humbert, Brooke Hiltebridle.
Left to Right, Second Row – Vergie Carl, Janet Fleagle, Mattie Wantz, Annie Humbert, Tilly Yingling, Winnie Stonesifer, Myrtle Yingling, Romaine Carbaugh, Ruth Fleagle, Bertie Myers, Mary Hiltebridle, Emma Wantz, Ersie McGee.
Left to Right, Third Row – Clarence Feeser, Solomon Wantz, Clarence Crouse, James Fleagle, Huey Hiltebridle, Annie Hiltebridle, Edna Carbaugh, Lila Hiltebridle, Lorena Fleagle, Edna Yingling, Bessie Eckard, Miss Lillian Fleagle, Teacher.
Left to Right, Fourth Row – Roland Zentz, George Bowersox, Carl Eckard, Wm. Yingling, Ben Fleagle, Nettie Carl, Annie Nusbaum, Bessie Yingling, Lulu Slonaker, Alma Hiltebridle.
In the other post I wrote about the school, I included a photo from 1994 that someone took for a preservation document. Last week I looked in at Mayberry to meet up with some cousins whom I had previously never met and did not know. They are the children of Stoner Fleagle, whom I met once in 1992 when Miriam and I spent that wonderful day exploring our family history on the land. Stoner died in 2012. His son Phil now lives on the farm, and his daughter Peggy and her husband live on a farm close by. We had lunch together with another cousin, Hilda Koontz (her grandmother was a Fleagle) and then drove around looking at cemeteries and other locations of genealogical interest. They pulled over in front of the school so I could take another photo of it. I believe, because there is no door visible in the photo above, that it was taken at one of the sides of the building.
The new mystery, of course, is what has become of the original 1899 photograph. Obviously Solomon Wantz had a copy at one time. But apparently so did someone in my own line. Maybe it will yet turn up someday. – mdf
*I’m assuming the clipping that the Society had was from the Record of about 1957, though the clipping itself did not declare itself to be so.
Image archive ID:
Top image: 20170713-001_mayberrySchool1899_originalFromPhotocopy
Bottom image: 20170628-001_mayberrySchoolBldgJun2017
About the physical photographs:
Unknown. This is a scan of a photocopy of the photograph.
Digital image taken Wednesday, June 28, 2017.