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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


UPDATE - this group of photos has found a home with the descendants of Henry and Nellie Opperman. They are going home!  On March 10, 2007, a box of old photos at an Antique Show in Georgetown KY yielded 5 good possibilities - meaning they were labeled with enough identification that I felt confident I could place them back into homes. Little did I realize at the time, but these five photos were in the same box for a reason - they were all related.

Upon arriving home, I set to work researching the photos and discovered something I had not noticed while at the show - three of the photos contain images of the same young man - HENRY OPPERMAN.

On back "Henry Opperman"
Another is a group photo. Henry Opperman can be seen in the middle of the back row. The back of the photo says simply "About 1903".

On back "About 1903"
The third photo is of a smaller group of people. Four young students and an older man; the older man has a bushy mustache and may be a professor, the young people are all holding rolled certificates.

The back contains a wealth of information. It says: "Front - M.G. Barnhart, Ethel Shearer. Back - George Kingdom. Henry Opperman, Wm Donahue. Cullom ILL High School, Class of 1903". The matte frame is stamped "Stevens - Gratsworth, Ill."

Photo number four is labeled "Nellie Walton, about 1907" and is one of the most beautiful portraits of this era that I've ever seen.

"Nellie Walton, about 1907"
There were a lot of photos in this particular booth at the Antique Show, and had my budget for this project been larger, I would not have limited myself to just 5 photos. Therefore, it is a strange coincidence that I should have picked up Nellie Walton along with Henry Opperman, as further research online indicated that Henry Opperman married Nellie Walton.

June Ferguson Barger
The fifth photos from this outing is of JUNE FERGUSON BARGER, circa 1899.

Further research online shows that Henry Opperman and Nellie Walton produced a daughter named Iolla, who married a man named Golden Barger. June is then related by marriage in some way to Henry and Nellie. An in-law, possibly the mother or aunt of the Barger boy that married Henry's daughter.

UPDATE - I was able to locate the obituary on June Barger, and this provides excellent family data on her.

This obit is from the Mattoon Illinois Journal Gazette, Dec 19, 1965.

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