Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Untold stories - Elephants, Native Americans and my Grandad

This is my grandfather, Samuel Horrocks Williams in the 1920's.  He took to farming in Canada instead of following the family mill business in Manchester, England.  My great grandfather told him he has to start, like everyone else, at the bottom sweeping the floor. Grandad had schooling and did not want to start at the bottom so took off for fields a new and became a farmer in Ontario, Canada.

My grandmother, his second wife (his first wife Mollie died of T.B.) had most of his photograph albums and some other things of his that were not tossed out or passed on to other members of the family.  Last year, Gran died.  Almost a year after my mum was able to ship over some of Grandad and Gran's things, reminders of them that have no real value, other than sentimental and keepsake memories.  But Mum threw in a photo album from which the photo above is from.  The album has opened a few questions in the family which cannot be answered, but one of my favorites is this photograph.

Grandad is the one with what looks like a tan shirt and silly hat on!  This photo, as with all the photos in the album, are from Ontario, Canada.  Look at the houses in the background.  And here he is, presumably in one of the farm's fields with a small herd of elephants and a Native American.  And we are left with this great question: What on Earth is going on here?  The only thing we have come to is that the elephants and maybe some of the people in the photo are from a traveling circus.  The elephants, I presume, have been let off the trailers, be they pulled, or from a railway locomotive, to eat and stretch.  But I wish I knew the story of this image.

Grandad died in the 1980's and I had never seen this photograph album.  Most of the photos taken pre-Gran were not let out or looked at. And Gran has gone so I cannot ask her.  My one surviving aunt from my grandfather's marriage to Molli also has no idea, as most of the photos in the album are from Grandad's first trip which he made before coming back to get Mollie.

I love the photo and the mystery it has created.  Grandad loved animals and the letters of recommendation we have from this time period state this categorically.  And I love the fact that Grandad could ride a horse sans saddle.


1 comment:

Carolyn Stearns said...

Simon check this out a quick stop in google search found this

St. Thomas Ontario! and PT Barnum who was from CT.!