Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sepia Wednesday

Great great great (I'm not really sure how many "greats")Aunt Agnes (left in the photo below) was almost always on the conversation menu whenever my family came together for holidays and such.

The picture below was taken sometime after her much maligned move from Boston society to a small farm in Illinois.

Beside her is Dame Edith Sutcliffe.  It is odd that I don't remember Aunt Agne's last name although she was part of my distant family but I remember Sutcliffe from conversations even though there was no blood relationship with her.

It also seems strange to me, thinking back on it, that in the same moldy smelling first album there is a picture of Dame Sutcliffe's husband, Judge Jacob Sutcliffe, pictured below. 


I suspect the person who pasted photos into that album was either proud to have a picture of the great Judge Sutcliffe or perhaps the Judge was taken in by the family, in sympathy, after his wife's westward move.

Arguments around the dinner table often centered on whether she had run out of him or whether he had arranged to have her sent out west because of her political activities on behalf of women.  Looking at thge picture, I see that later in life, he still wore a wedding band.  Whether that had anything to do with his feelings for her or his belief in the legal authority of marriage, I don't know.
It was also argued but never known for sure how, before the operational, if not legal, failure of his marriage, the Judge and Dame Edith became part of Aunt Agnes's life.  She had been a spinster but very outspoken and it is thought she might have met Edith at a political meeting of women.  Although other peoples in my family have argued that she had something going with the judge.  However, that theory bears no weight because...
shortly after Dame Edith moved to Illinois, Agnes disappeared and neither of the women were ever discussed again for at least a generation.  There was only the picture at the top of this story which was sent back sometime later -- apparently to prove she was happy to those Agnes left behind that. Although they don't really look that happy, do they. 
But the photograph provided fodder for much debate for generations to follow.

PS: The Honorable Jacob Sutcliffe apparently was sullied by rumors that his wife had run off with a woman, and lost any opportunities for a political career -- unlike today when scandal seems an essential part of any political career.  The judge took to drinking in his later years and died of gout.


  1. I completely object to this post! It must have been written by Bagman in some attempt to get me back to blogging again. The fact is that Bagman made the entire story up. The only discussion around the dinner table when I was growing up was when my grandfather would pull out the photo and ask relatives, "Do any of you know who these people are?" No-one ever did. But Bagman's post is a complete fantasy. I would delete it but Bagman has changed the password on my blog.

  2. Besides -- it's Sepia SATURDAY, not Sepia WEDNESDAY.

  3. No offense but some of these pictures emanate an eerie aura. Or maybe that's just me. What's ironic is that I like looking at them.

    Haha, what happened, something went wrong with the posting schedule or it's Bagman's fabricated story after all? Ooh, creepy.

  4. Not that I usually notice such things, but those are remarkable dresses those two women are wearing, especially Aunt Agnes. I don't think I've seen anything like it.

    By the way, if Bagman really did write the story, please pass along my compliments. I really enjoyed it, even if he doesn't know the days of the week.

  5. Well the Dame surely looks like the way I am sure a Dame used to look. That was a very interesting story. Where you been keeping yourself? Missed all your funnies along the way.

  6. Did anyone comment on the fact that Auntie is totally inappropriately dressed for her age. Look at the dress too short, the lace fit for a 13 year old, and most noticeably, the forehead curls suitable for an unmarried 15 year old.

  7. With ancestors like those and facial expressions like that...maybe you had an excuse for the role alcohol played in your life! These women are soooo sad!

  8. I don't think a lot of women of that era smiled much for photos, did they? Men, either, unless they were holding a bunch of fish or ducks.

    I have some great-great-great somebody's who look just the same. The cloths are very upscale in your photos. My relatives are wearing depression-era with a hint of gypsy.