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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Family Picture Identified: 1898 Susannah Landtroop-Urban’s family

In 1898 a 17 year old Margaret Urban joined her mother, Susannah Urban, and her brothers, Daniel and Agee Urban, for a trip into town. They were joined by the families of her sisters, Nancy Richardson and Susan Stutts, all of the Green Hill Community of Alabama.

Susan had her husband and her two babies, Frank and Mary with her. Nancy and her young husband were so far childless. For some reason Margaret’s father, Cassandra Urban, was not with them that day.

Dressed in their Sunday best they all posed for pictures that day.

Margaret Urban

We know of at least two of the pictures that were taken that day, the one to the left and a group picture (not Shown)

A few years ago we gained possession of a copy of these two pictures from Annabelle Smith Springer, a niece of Grandpa John’s.

As you can see this picture was developed onto a picture card, probably sometime after the originals were developed. The group picture was also on a picture card. W. LeFan of J.J. LeFan, (Pulaski, Tenn.) took the picture. The reference to him as “Field Operator” might suggest that the pictures were not taken in the Pulaski Studios “1 Door North of Express Office” .

J. J. Lefan lived in Tennessee or Alabama. After his first wife died (buried in Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and Cemetery, Lauderdale County, Alabama) he married Lula Richardson of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. They eventually moved to Green Hill Alabama where they resided for a few years before moving to Greenville, Hunt County, Texas, along with brother W. LeFan (W.J. LeFan). They continued their photography business at least until the 1927 death of J.J., where W.J. is listed as the funeral photographer.*

On the back of the group picture there was no writing. On the back of this picture the name “Margaret Urban” was written. In my files we have 54 Urban’s, of which we only have one possible match if you assume Urban is her maiden name. With no more than that to go on we could not properly identify that Margaret Urban as the one pictured. That left us stalled on the group picture even more so. Even if we knew the young lady was our Margaret Urban there would be no way to match the others in the photo without more information. Was it her and her parents family? Her and her husbands family?, a sister or brothers family?

Fortunately we have come across an earlier copy of the group picture which identifies everyone in the picture. We believe it is an earlier copy for two reason:

  1. Everyone is identified. This could not have been done purely by research. Whoever had this picture either knew of all or most of those in the picture or the persons were identified on the back.
  2. The condition of our pictures were worse than the new pictures and the quality was less. The picture card was not printed on photography paper. It was more like a card stock, like a postcard, which could explain the premature wear and tear.

susannah familynames

I have overlaid the names on this new copy of the group photo. The date at the top the picture was not added by me.  This photo, the date, and the identification of the individuals is fairly consistent on the several internet postings of this picture. I have only this digital copy so I don’t know for sure if there is anything written on the back.margareturbanrobertsonOBIT

Up until now the oldest generation of our Littrell ancestors we had was of the family of Timmons and Mary Catherine Literal. We dated the picture about 1899. Even if that picture actually is older this picture predates it in terms of generation. Susanna Urban is Mary Catherine Literal’s mother. Nancy, Susan, Susan, Agee, Margaret, and Daniel are all Mary Catherine’s siblings.

I include the information on LeFan in the hopes that maybe some Hunt County, Texas researcher may take up the quest to locate where the photographic files of Mr. LeFan ended up. Perhaps the might be more Lawrence County, Tennessee pictures to be discovered.






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