A couple weeks ago I wrote about the discovery of a brother to my 2nd great grandfather, the elusive James Joseph Murphy. This brother, Harry Murphy, had immigrated a couple years after his parents and siblings to Sharon, Pennsylvania. The only way I found out about him is because my great grand aunt had his obituary with a large pile of old photos which was then passed on to her niece who recently passed the photos on to me. Many of the photos are of unknown people; my mom and relatives have gotten lots of “who are these people?” emails.
There are 6 photos with nice little captions on the back, all written by the same person in a somewhat affectionate way. One in particular stands out.
Stylish woman, new car, and a huge cat! I love it. I must be related to her.
The caption of the three men below tells me that the recipient probably didn’t speak or visit those in the picture on a regular basis. Maybe they are cousins of my great grand aunt’s husband?
In this big pile of old photos and obituaries is also an envelope from H. Letson in Huntington Beach, CA to Mr. Harry Murphy. That’s Harry Letson, Harry Murphy’s son that lived in Huntington Beach. Nothing in the envelope though; I wonder why it was saved.
As I was scanning some photos today, I realized that the return address handwriting is strikingly similar to the handwriting on the back of these photos.
The “to” address is written in big block generic letters so it never stuck out, but the return address gives the clue.
Bingo! Harry Letson was sending these photos to his (estranged?) father.
Another clue: the date on the stamp is June 13, 1956. Harry Murphy died in 1956. Was his son sending him photos because he knew his father was dying soon? I can only wonder. All the captions are very kindly written and I get a sense that they were selected specifically to let the recipient a view of the immediate family living in Huntington Beach.
Luckily, I found a descendant of Harry’s brother Jim on ancestry.com. Hopefully they can provide some context. Meanwhile, I need to find the exact date of Harry Murphy’s death.
Your suggestion that an estranged son was sending these pictures to his dying father makes sense. The captions and the photos are wonderful.