Thursday, July 5, 2007
Lost family photos returned
By SUE WATSON
In the late 1970s Russell Gray Houston was driving on Moore Road about a quarter of a mile west of the Red Banks area when he spotted a box tied up with string lying in a muddy ditch.
He thought the box might contain something important; it was something about the string that riveted his attention. So he stopped to pick it up. The box contained hundreds of family photographs going back to the 1940s and some newspaper clippings.
Houston said he believed the photos could belong to someone in Marshall County or in the Collierville or Germantown areas.
“I just saw the box tied up. I don’t know what made me stop and look,” Houston said. “It could have been someone moving or a burglary. The box was partially open.
“It’s a lot of memories for somebody. I picked them up and made inquiries and they got put with stuff in storage,” he said.
As time would tell, Houston was a businessman with family responsibilities to tend to, so he forgot about the muddy box and went on with life.
“When they got out of sight, I forgot about them,” he said.
Then he found them again and once again looked over the pictures for names and places.
One picture was dated 1939. Others were dated in handwriting to the late 1970s. Yellowed newspaper clippings in the collection included a few obituaries, weddings and community events that appeared to be connected to Bolivar and Hornsby, Tenn.
Last week Houston handed over the photographs to Joe LaCroix of Bolivar, Tennessee, after some searching by The South Reporter staff for the owners.
Joe LaCroix filled in some of the missing gaps when he recently came to pick up the photos and to meet Houston.
LaCroix, now about 65, said he had loaned the family photos to his sister, Annie Ruth Donahoe, in Memphis. On a trip back to Memphis, his sister returned the photos and he put them in his car. He had stopped to eat breakfast on 3rd Street in Memphis and was robbed at gunpoint.
The robbers took his car and it was found later and returned but all the contents in the car were missing.
The photo collection was handed down through the family and ultimately to his father Marvin LaCroix.
Included in the collection are photos of Joe LaCroix and his mother Mavis Turner LaCroix, his brother Ray and grandfather Homer LaCroix, his uncles Oakley, Allen and aunts Velma and Thelma.
Some other family names listed on the backs of photos or in news clippings included a wedding photo of Kenny and Penny Barber, married June 2, 1972; Carole and Judy, 1951; Bobby Jean; Thelma Webb; Judith Ann Crowley at age one year and 11 months; school photos from Silerton School; Robert and Hara LaCroix, taken in 1949; Howard and Joyce LaCroix; a meter deposit receipt kept by Marvin LaCroix; family reunion photos; a church choir group; people standing by the Christmas tree with wrapped presents; a 1944 photo of a man in military uniform; a postcard addressed to Mrs. M.A. LaCroix of Hornsby, Tenn.; the Alton children; Carole Ann Welch at 2 years old; Clara Jo with Martha; Aunt Mae and Marvin LaCroix; Ruth LaCroix and Joe Turner LaCroix of Hornsby; one-year-old Clara Jo in the high chair with her birthday cake; Carole Ann Welch at age 3, taken in 1949; W. Q. LaCroix in army uniform; Sail LaCroix; Charlie Jackson; Ruth LaCroix at about age 20; June and Joe Turner; James and Ruby Barber and family; Dorris Hobson of Bolivar; the Primary Class at Hornsby Baptist Church; Mrs. William Crowley with baby of Bolivar; and invitation to a baby shower for Don Sipes at the home of Mrs. Curtis Cox; Joseph Harrel Jackson of Booneville; Irene and Robe Kincaid; Laura Jean Smith taken at Osceola Elementary in 1953-54; a Gardner School picture 1949-50; Jewell, Mab, Ellen, Mother, Willie and Clara at Thanksgiving 1977; and an obituary for Mrs. Jerry Crowley (wife of Jerry Crowley) and one-year-old William Lynn Crowley, who died in a car wreck near Bolivar on the way home from church.
The photos were representative of the dress and habits of the times. People were frequently photographed beside their cars, by the Christmas tree, or inside the home. Included in living room photos are the conveniences of the day, the box-cabinet television, the in-wall double oven, and plywood paneling popular of the day, or at around a make-shift covered table out under the trees during family reunions.
In instances a quick note was left on the back of a photo to someone. In most cases only the studio that developed the picture or a first name were on the back. Most photos were not labeled to identify those in the pictures or the event.
Some photos were attached to black album pages using adhesive corners.
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