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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, January 31, 2011
A Double Mystery
Posted by Maureen

This week I'm researching a very interesting family photo of two men clowning for the camera. Sandy Forest showed me this image at an event over the weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about it. She's pretty sure about the identity of the man on the left, but the man on the right is a mystery. And why is he holding a spike and wearing an interesting hat? The clues really pile up for this photo, so consider this week's post the first installment of a multi-part series.

These two men are probably celebrating something because they are pouring an alcoholic beverage into a glass. That's just another part of the mystery. What's the occasion?

On the left is Felix Forest, a man famous in the family for his height. He stood 6 feet 4 inches. He was much taller than the average man in the late 19th century. The soft stovepipe hat on his head must have really made him stand out in any crowd.

Felix was born in Bonaventure, Quebec, but in the early 1880s, he immigrated to the United States. He moved around a lot. He married in Manchester, N.H., in 1892, spent time in Lewiston, Maine, and then lived in Fall River, Mass., before moving back to Bonaventure.

While I'm adding up the clues and trying to find facts I'll share my favorite part of the picture—the dog at the base of the column. It appears to be a tin cut-out of a little dog. Finding that dog in another photo could identify the photographer and the location.
The men meant for this photo to be funny, and the dog is just one more comical addition. It makes me laugh out loud.

Next week, we'll focus on baby pictures. Diane Haddad, the Genealogy Insider blogger, had a baby last weekend, so I thought she'd enjoy a Photo Detective post of ancestral baby pictures. Email me yours to

Tintypes | unusual clothing | unusual photos
Monday, January 31, 2011 5:07:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
Thursday, February 03, 2011 9:05:36 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Given that the fellow on the right is holding what might be a railroad spike (how about an enlargement?) and is wearing a hat that looks like the usual hat worn by a conductor....might railroading be involved in some way?
Bill Dalton
Friday, February 04, 2011 1:39:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Bill, I was going to say something similar, since I spent a lot of time in the Intermountain West, especially Golden Spike territory. Maybe they're celebrating the end of the "line," so to speak.
But your focus on the hat is something I missed. I only saw the spike.
Kay McCullough
Friday, February 04, 2011 1:40:16 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
P.S. I love how their legs are crossed!
Kay McCullough
Monday, February 07, 2011 2:27:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'll be back next week with more on the hat and spike <smile>. Thank you for your comments.
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