A reader from Indiana recently sent me a copy of an old photo. Donna found the photo among her sister’s items and had never seen the photo before.
Their mother is standing with a group of young adults and Donna believes the photo may be an eighth grade graduation picture, taken about 1910 at a school near Chattanooga, Ohio. But I wonder…
Donna and her family lived in Chatt when she was a child. Her paternal and maternal grandparents lived in or near Chatt as well. Donna’s father was William Andres and her mother was Minna Baumgartner. Minna was born in 1897 in Indiana.
Donna’s mother is the young lady standing to the far left in the photo below. Donna wonders if the photo was taken at Wildcat School because she believes her mother attended Wildcat School at one time. Wildcat School was a one-room school located a mile north of Chatt. It once stood on the very lot where I grew up.
Donna is sure that this photo is not a church photo and it does look like it may have been taken at a graduation. The individuals are holding rolled up papers that look like diplomas. The students are all dressed up. Everyone is in their Sunday best and it looks like this was an important event. The girls are wearing pretty, white lace-trimmed dresses, white stockings, and big bows in their hair. The boys have on their suits and ties.
One very interesting thing about this photo is that each of the students signed their name on the bottom of the photo. It is often difficult to find an old photo in which everyone is identified, let alone finding a photo that has everyone’s signature on it. The signatures at the bottom of the photo are written in the order the students are positioned:
Mina Baumgartner, Flossie Stoll, Carl Berron, Alvina Keck, James Gibbons, Rosa Betzel, Isa Martz
Dolan Loree, Rosa Turckes, Herald Redger, Irma Wilson, Chester Kincaid, Eda Kable
Ed Bauer, Hugo Fancke
I looked up the names of all these individuals in the1910 Census and I found the name and age of each, except for Harold Redger. [Thanks to Miriam who found Harold after this was posted.] All were living in Liberty Township and they were enumerated with their parents. Below are the names of the students, their ages, and the names of their parents, as enumerated in 1910  :
Minna Baumgartner [12, Jacob & Rosa]
Flossie Stoll [Liberty, 14, John & Sarah]
Carl Berron [13, George & Mary]
Alvina Keck [20, John & Enna]
James Gibbons [14, William & Nancy C]
Rosa Betzel [15, Jacob & Mary]
Isa Martz [“Icy” 13, William Sr & Luania]
Dolan Loree [13, Marion & Sula]
Rosa Turckes [“Rosa S” 11, Joseph & Catharine]
Harold Redger [11, William & Harriet "Roettger"]
Irma Wilson [11, Liberty, Scudder & Christina]
Chester Kincaid [11, Alec & Mahala]
Eda Kable [14, John & Annie]
Ed Bauer ["Edward" 12, Fred & Mary]
Hugo Fancke [11, John & Louisa]
The photo might have been taken at an eighth grade graduation. In the early 1900s the eighth grade was often the highest grade achieved by many people. Eighth grade graduation would be comparable to today’s high school graduation. Yes, a big event.
But I also looked at a 1900 map of Liberty Township, to see where each family was living about ten years before the photo was supposedly taken. Not all of the young adults lived near Chatt. In fact, they lived all over Liberty Township. Miles away from each other. There were schools all over the township and schools were just a couple miles apart. It is hard to believe that students from all over the township would attend one particular school that was farther from their home. Or that they would attend a school in another township. Wildcat School was in Black Creek Township and these students were from Liberty Township.
Could this photo have been taken to commemorate another event? Perhaps some township-wide event or some special recognition? Donna said her mother took piano lessons and performed in a piano recital at least once. Was this a group of piano students?
Donna also told me a little about her family. Jacob Baumgartner, Minna’s father, owned and operated the sawmill in Chatt from 1896-1915. The Baumgartner family, per the 1910 census: Jacob, 52; Rosa, 48; Paul, 22; Samuel, 19; Minnie, 12. 
Minna married William Andress in 1915.  William’s parents, John and Sophia Andress were from the Chatt area. In 1910 they were living in Black Creek Township.  Black Creek Township borders Liberty Township on the north end of Chatt. William Andress took over the sawmill from Jacob Baumgartner in about 1915.
Donna also told me a story about her mother Minna. Donna said that there was a fire at Minna’s school one day. Minna enjoyed school and was very upset when the school caught fire. She went home crying because she thought she would not get to go back to school.
I would love to hear from anyone that has knowledge of the people in this photo or the event in the photo.
 1910 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 0119; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 November 2013); from National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1214.
 1910 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 0119, p. 16B, dwelling353, family 314, Jacob Baumgartner; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 November 2013); from National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1214.
 “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:MM9.1.1/XZTX-T62 : accessed 21 Nov 2013), William Andress and Minnie Baumgartner, 04 Apr 1915; citing Mercer, Ohio, United States, reference cn913 p.457; FHL microfilm 914959; citing Vol. 10:457.
 1910 U.S. census, Black Creek, Mercer, Ohio, ED 0107, p.5A, dwelling 97, family 97, John H. Andress ; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 November 2013); from National Archives microfilm T624, roll 1214.