Presents! I love presents.

Posted on March 20, 2010


Life is full of delightful twists and turns. 

Ruby Calista Blakely's photo album, Petoskey, 1916

This little photo album arrived in my mailbox in a plump package of stories and genealogical research, all the way from Oklahoma. When I held it in my hands, I felt as if I were touching Civil War veteran Daniel Blakely’s coatsleeve.  The album belonged to his granddaughter, Ruby Calista Blakely, and was sent to me by Ruby’s daughter, Georgia Perkins, who is delighted that someone in Eastport is interested in Blakely family history. 

When I opened the album to the first page, I saw someone I knew.

Maud Evans (Ayotte) poses on a stump in an Upper Peninsula logging camp, c. 1915

Maud Evans Ayotte was the great-granddaughter of Civil War veterans Luther G. Evans and Adelia Hoyt Evans. She and her sister Dessie were among Ruby’s best friends. The little album is filled with pictures of them in the full bloom of youth, just as all of them were falling in love, getting married, having babies. One of those babies, Nora Ayotte Metz, still lives on the north end of Torch Lake. I took myself off to her house with the album, and we went through it page by page, Nora providing running commentary.

A tar paper shack and a tent - worker housing at a U.P. lumber camp, c. 1915

Look! There’s the lumber camp in the UP! They used to live in tents even during the winter. They’d put up a smaller tent inside a larger one to help keep the snow out. Later on they had a company house.

Nora's Uncle Lynn and Aunt Dessie and her parents Maud and Joe Ayotte, c. 1915

There’s my father and mother, and that’s Aunt Dessie and Uncle Lynn. I don’t think I have that picture. 

So then we had to go through some of Nora’s pictures, and one thing led to another and pretty soon the whole afternoon was gone.  We found more treasures, about Blakelys and Smiths and Mudges and Pearls, and . .  . they’ll keep for another post. One last photo from Ruby’s album:

Dessie Evans and Ruby Blakely Feb 3 1913