Photo Identification?

I have something a little different this week.

The Montpelier Foundation recently received the photograph posted here. The picture was donated to the vast Clara Ellis Payne Collection by Mrs. Clara Ellis Payne herself! We are grateful for her generosity, knowledge and willingness to share.

I chose to publish the photo with the hope that readers will be able to identify some of the men in the picture.

Mrs. Payne wrote the following about the photo:

“The enclosed photograph hung in my Uncle Fred’s room in our old home place in Orange, Va. Uncle Fred Ellis was born in July of 1876 in Orange, Virginia and he passed there on February 12, 1952 and is Int [sic] in the family cemetery on the property.

Thinking back a bit, I do believe it was Tucker McDaniel who left Orange, Virginia in pursuit of employment that was not open to him in Orange, Virginia. He returned to Orange and recruited our young men, and those he knew in Unionville, Louisa, Green, etc., to fill the openings in street paving- Pgh [sic] in Pittsburgh, Penn.

My Uncle Fred is to the left, second row, second person in—who is holding something near his mouth.”

It was a common practice late in the 19th century and well into the 20th for residents of southern rural areas to migrate north to the larger, more industrial cities in search of sustainable employment. It was also common for those who found some success to reach out to others back home to join them.

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Some of those entrepreneurs would return home seasonally while others decided to remain in their new surrounds. There are countless folks in Pittsburgh, Rochester, Chicago and many similar places with deep roots in Orange and numerous other Virginia locales.

Please study the photo and share with friends and family. If you believe you recognize someone here, contact me by email, phone or by writing to the Orange County Review.

Until next week, be well.

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