Alma Virginia Wells

A local antique store in Portland, Oregon had this sweet photo album on display. The title page had an inscription in silver pen:

A present from Mama and Papa

Alma V. Wells

Dewitt, Virginia

July 11, 1925

It was filled with old family snapshots, most seeming to date from the 1920’s and 30’s. There were many taken around a farm. Lots of candid photos and group shots, and a few pictures of older folks. I thought, somewhere there has got to be a family that would love to have these. I bet I can find them.

So off I headed to my trusty internet sites — Ancestry, Rootsweb and Findagrave. After a few hours, I was able to find Alma in a tree, and find a relative who was still tending the family graves in Dewitt. Her name is Demsie Wells and she’s a very active genealogy buff. It turns out the farm in the photos is the “old homeplace” of this Wells family, and was settled by their ancestor Samuel Wells two hundred years ago. It is still in the hands of a Wells descendant today, though the old house is no longer in  use.

It was such a pleasure to communicate with this family and learn about their history. The album has been toted to family reunions and they’ve had fun trying to identify everyone. We’re not sure how the photo album got to Portland, but one of her nieces said in an email:

My dear Aunt Alma! When I was a little girl, she rocked me while singing hymns to me! I’m sure that photo album was in the trunk full of her things that Uncle Webster saw when she died in Arizona. He accompanied her body back home. Her husband said he would send the trunk to Virginia, but he never did.

Alma passed away back in the 1950’s, and the antiques dealer thought she may have picked the album up in Palm Springs. Whatever the case, it has found its way home now, where I believe it will be safe and sound for years to come.


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