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History of photo:
This photo first came to my attention after it was published in the book "A History of Evans County" by the Evans County Historical Society with the caption, "Thompson Family Reunion-Tattnall". Afterwards I learned that the photo had first appeared in the book called "Vanishing Georgia" in 1982. The Vanishing Georgia Collection began through the Vanishing Georgia Heritage Photography Project, which was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1977 to 1979. Images continued to be gathered until 1996. Later I learned from my cousin Hughes W. Thompson Jr. that his father, Hughes W. Thompson (Arnie W., William Jackson, John) was responsible for giving a copy of the picture to the Vanishing Georgia Heritage project when they traveled through south Georgia in the late 1970's asking for contributions.

Note: Hughes Thompson Jr. sent me a high resolution scanned copy of his family heirloom for research purposes. Thompson and Allied families of posterity will do well to remember his gift.

From all available remembrances of the Thompson family the photo represented a Thompson or allied family gathering. According to what Hughes Thompson recalls, his father indicated that the photo was taken at their family house. Hughes Thompson Sr. was the son of  Arnie Wesley Thompson, and the grandson of William Jackson Thompson (1855-1822). The house is believed to be the same house the Hughes Thompson family currently owns and rents out.

{In the picture the table is spread full of food and the clothing is somewhat formal. On the right side of the table is what appears to be a cake. Is it possibly a wedding* cake, on the table in front of the only girl in the picture with a hair wreath and coincidentally wearing a white dress?}  Another close up of food on table.

Hughes W. Thompson Jr. estimates the date of the photo to be 1900 or pre-1920's based on comparisons with other dated photos of 1905. He points to clothing, possible horse buggies and architecture as the basis for his estimate, as well as the knowledge that his father probably told the Vanishing Georgia agents the approximate date of the photo which they noted as 1900.

Note also the pan or basket under the table. Another closeup shot of buggies or car roofs and porch area. Was this a road?

Later, I corresponded with Dana Lasseter, a Stanfield* family researcher in Florida who had some different insight into the picture. He related that he had conducted interviews with Estelle Stanfield Durrance Swain, of Tattnall County, currently 84 years old, the daughter of Lesley Earnest Stanfield, granddaughter of Henry Allen Stanfield and great granddaughter of James Allen ("Jim") Stanfield.  Mrs. Estelle Stanfield Durrance Swain reported to Dana Lasseter that she was told by her mother that she and her Aunt Geneva were the two little girls up front with bows. According to Estelle, the house belonged to William Houston Stanfield and he let his father "Jim A" live there in his later years. She also said she recognized the house from her childhood as a place she went for sugar. Her family also had a copy of the picture. If Mrs. Estelle is correct, and assuming she was between 3 and 6 years old at the time of the photo, then the photo would be dated at approximately 1922-1926.

Somewhat later, Hughes Thompson related that he had discovered some more old family photos including one of an elderly couple, marked only with the words "William Thompson" on the back. Hughes indicated that he has seen pictures of William Jackson Thompson that did not appear to match the elderly man in the group photo, so he speculated that "William Thompson" was written on the back of the photo to indicate ownership of the photo. Click here to see a comparison of the two men.

*Margaret Jane Thompson 1879-1942 (daughter of William Jackson Thompson 1855-1922-granddaughter of John Thompson 1823-1901) married Sylvester Stanfield (1877-1931) on 19 July 1898.

More recently a picture of Edward Anderson (1836-1913), a known friend and associate of John Thompson has been compared to the old man in the picture. Click here for that comparison. Edward Anderson lived near the Hopewell Church area and is buried there. He is on the left.
According to Mrs. Estelle's account and estimated dates, it would seem that Edward Anderson died before the picture was taken.

*Another strong possibility is the picture may have been the occasion of the wedding of Edward Anderson's granddaughter Rosella Clary (1910-1950) who married Joe Stanfield (1905-1966) on 8 August 1925. Judging from the clothing in the picture however, it would seem that the participants would be very warmly clothed for an August wedding. Perhaps the photo was taken in the winter or fall months. However, if Mrs. Estelle's recollections are correlated, the year of the wedding and the estimated date of her age in the photo do match. Is this photo the wedding photo of Joe Stanfield and Edward Anderson's grandaughter, Rosella Clary (daughter of Ida Anderson and Henry Clary)? According to "This is Our Life" by James Miller Anderson pg.152, Rosella Clary was 15 years old when she married Joe Stanfield who was 20 years old at the time of the union. Looking at the couple in photo 1, they both appear to fit the ages of the newlyweds. A close up of the couple.

More Conclusions:
The photo was taken in the fall, judging from some bare tree limbs, the fact that the shutters on the house are closed and the fact that everyone is dressed warmly. Also because of all the food on the ground, winter would be better suited for such occasion to avoid swarming flies and insects.
The people are dressed more formally than one would expect for a casual gathering.
The vehicles appear to be buggies rather than cars.
The people are facing east judging from the shadows, thus any road behind them would be running an east to west direction and the front porch of the house would be facing south.

At the 40th Thompson Reunion at Hopewell Church in the fall of 2004, I was told by a Thompson-Stanfield descendant that the photo above was taken on the occasion of the elder Stanfield's 90th birthday.

Any additional insight into the history of this photo would be welcomed by all Thompson, Stanfield and Anderson family members. Please email -tony@kinfolksacrosstheriver.com , post a note on our guestbook, call 912-685-3347 or write to Tony Thompson at 625 Dorothy St. Metter, Ga. 30439.

This page was last updated on: May 24, 2009
Thompson (Anderson-Stanfield?) Photo c. 1895-1925? Help identify the family members in this photo. See history below.  Click the numbers to enlarge portions of the picture.
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Photo courtesy of Hughes Thompson Jr. used with permission