Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sepia Saturday #39


Last week, my post centered around my great grandmother, Mary Minerva Smith Felmy, and her sister, Elizabeth Smith Benfer. This week, I'd like to focus on my great grandmother just a bit more. Although my information on her is pitifully scant, I do have a few splendid photos of her.

I have no idea exactly when this photo was taken, but based on the dress style and an estimate of her age, I'd say it was sometime in the mid to late 1880s.

This is the Felmy clan that Mary and her husband, Frank, produced. Based on the hairstyles and my grandmother's age, I'd say this was taken in the 1920s. Top row, left to right: Mary Felmy Fisher, Verna Felmy Miller, Sarah Felmy Shaffer (my grandmother). Bottom row, left to right: Franklin Felmy, Ida Felmy Herman, Mary Minerva Smith Felmy.

And finally, we return to the garden, just down the path from where Mary and Lizzie had their photo snapped. Great Grandma is wearing the same dress; perhaps that was her favorite "going to town" dress. Again, I wish I knew what year this was taken.

Another of my great grandmother's "interesting" recipes:

2 quarts of leaves
1 gallon boiling water
Let stand for three days. Strain and add:
3 1/2 pounds of sugar
2 oranges
1 tablespoon yeast
white of one egg
Let stand three more days, then put in a jug

Personally, I think I'll stick with a nice pinot grigio.

For more Sepia Saturday posts, clicky => HERE


  1. A wonderful post, the historical and genealogical insight was fascinating. I love the photographs, and your great grandmother's recipe is quite delightful :)

  2. Ah, the ubiquitous photographer's pillar. It occurs to me that it probably made staying still for a long exposure much easier, having something to lean on.

    The recipe is a little scary -- were these previously used tea leaves do you suppose?

  3. Thanks, Sam!

    Vicki, I have no idea. But guaranteed, if letting the tea leaves sit for three days didn't turn you off, the raw egg white certainly would. Eww!

  4. The dress in that first picture is a true work of art..

  5. I love the fashions and the hairstyles. Wonderful photos and the recipe is...interesting! I don't know that I'll be trying it!

  6. Certainly different times. Dresses were not so readily available and very expensive. The hairstyles were very elegant; every woman was dressed like a lady, at least the ones who could afford to have their photos taken. A wonderful account of your family.

  7. Another classic post ... and another recipe. Although, on balance I think I will stick to the tried and tested stuff. I suspect you are right with your dating of the first photograph.

  8. Very nice post. The recipe certainly looks 'interesting'.

  9. That really is an interesting recipe. It was created I am sure years ago by trial and error to create the taste with the items available. Great post and nicely accented with decoration.

  10. Your great grandmother was a very pretty young lady in a beautiful dress. I agree with all the others about the tea. 3 1/2 POUNDS of sugar?

  11. Wonderful photos, I especially like the first one. She is so beautiful and I love her clothes. I am another one who finds the recipe interesting but not one I would try. I think old recipes are lovely to have as they are from a time gone by.

  12. I looked at this post last Saturday and wrote some comments, including thanking you for the link to the car ad to help me figure out the year of the photo I posted. It seems that I must have wondered away before typing in the captcha and my comment was lost. I'm so sorry.

    So, thank you for sending the link to It was very helpful. In fact, I wrote a follow-up post at

    Your grandmother's appearance hardly changed as she aged. She is beautiful.