Monday, March 3, 2014

My cousin posts a photo of his great-grandfather on Facebook and solves charcoal drawing mystery

Photo of John Gideon Hurdle and his wife Jessie Inez Bunch
Charcoal drawing of
John Gideon Hurdle
found in attic
    More than 10 years ago I found a charcoal portrait in the attic of what was once my grandparents' house. The portrait is of a young man of perhaps 20. I asked my dad and various other people and no one had any idea of who it was; no one had even a clue.
    In fact, I asked a cousin less than a week ago if he had any idea whatsoever who our mystery man was. He didn't. At some point the drawing was at risk of being thrown away, because there is just so much stuff one can keep. We're trying to clean out my dad's office and there isn't a big demand for drawings of unknown people.
    Along comes my cousin, Michael Hurdle, with a new Facebook page called "Hurdle Descendents," to be used to share old photos and stories. Two of the photos he posted were of his great-grandparents, John Gideon Hurdle and Jessie Inez Bunch Hurdle, of Taylor. Although he died before I was born, John Gideon Hurdle, was or is my great-uncle.
    I think Uncle "Gid," as the family called him, moved from Marshall to Lafayette County some time right after 1900. My grandparents lived in Lafayette County for a few years before returning to Marshall County. I'm pretty sure my grandfather worked with Uncle Gid in some fashion.
    As soon as I saw the photographs that my Cousin Michael had posted I knew I had found the identity of our mystery man. What's interesting is that Michael posted a copy of a heavily damaged photograph. The charcoal drawing I have appears to have been drawn from that very photograph. Either that or Uncle Gid always wore his tie flipped over to the right.
    Our charcoal drawing is a bit worse for wear, but I'm going to try to clean it up a bit and perhaps stick a frame on it to hang along the photos of other ancestors and relatives I've never met.


Suz said...

Hi Frank... I always enjoy reading your blogs. I'm also one of Michael's cousins and this photo of Gid Hurdle is my grandfather. My dad was James Hurdle, superintendent of Philadelphia (MS) City Schools until his death in 1968. You and I have a mutual friend, Ellen Meacham. Please give her my best next time you see her! Suzanne (Hurdle) Dangerfield

Col. Reb Sez said...

Suzanne, I didn't know you knew Ellen. I will tell her hello.

I think I told you this, but my grandfather paid $25 per month towards your dad's education at the Mississippi Synodical College in Holly Springs. After he graduated and got a job he paid $25 per month towards the cost of my Uncle Jake's education. At least I think that's how the story goes.