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Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I have had this photo since June 2001. I thought it was sufficiently labeled to determine who the children are, but it is not. It turns out, the name of the photograph's owner is the only name on the back side.

The back, however, holds lots of clues. First there is a handwritten note that says "From Mrs H L Bunnell, Lawrence, Van Buren Co., Mich."  Then there are some photographer's instructions for making a 14 x 17 portrait from this original, but isolating only the smallest child for the larger finished product.  It is unknown if the elder child got a similar treatment.

It is also possible that the smaller child died and photograph was required for the funeral, or newspaper insert, and this was the only suitable original.

The matte is labeled with the photographer studio being that of "Parker Studio, Lawrence, Michigan".

It is now 2015 and I recently decided to research this photo again.  Now armed with accounts at , and I have found quite a bit of useful information.

Mrs H.L. BUNNELL turns out to be Inez Elvira (Christie) Bunnell of Lawrence Michigan. She was married to Harvey L. Bunnell (born 1854, died 20 Jun 1928) a farmer and earlier settler in Van Buren county. His parents were John Bunnell (1827- 15 Apr 1902) "one of the earliest settlers of Van Buren Co." - and Abiah J. Bunnell (1854-1928).

Elvira Bunnell was born on 1855, died Feb 10, 1924. She is buried at Hill Cem., Lawrence, Van Buren Co., MI. Her parents were James Christie and Mary Steele (pioneer residents of Van Buren Co., but lived the last 40 years or so of their lives in nearby Benton Harbor) .

Elvira had a sister Mertie E. Christie (Myrtle) who married Charles A. Hill, a popular fruit broker in Benton Harbor.. Mertie died 27 Nov 1933 in Benton Harbor. She had 3 children. One died in infancy, the others are Leon James Hill and Faye Jane Hill. Could the children in the photo be Elvira's niece and nephew? I think not. Leon (born 1888) and Faye (born 1886) were only two years apart, whereas the children above appear to be about 8 - 10 years apart.

I will probably have to locate a Bunnell descendant to find the answer to this question.


  1. My apologies, I have been off line for months. Great find and great research. I am H.L.Bunnell's great grandson. (H L. - Ray - Elva, my mother) I have many pictures of the Bunnell's and have do not see it in the ones I have scanned so far, but it looks familiar - so maybe I have a copy and additional information. I will search and get back to you with the result. Jerry Knapp

    1. Looking forward to hearing back from you Jerry. This is a lovely portrait. I just wish I had been able to find out who these people are.