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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hechler Porter

A Picture Worth 1,000 Words

Two weeks ago I reported on my find in regards to Thomas Rock's deathdate. That was not the only find I had about that time.

I recently made it back to Tyler County to visit with my cousin JuJu Standley and to get my hands on some old family pictures that she was gracious enough to let me borrow. Now, I had seen these years ago, and I had borrowed a few of them, but others still haunted me. I just really hate when I cannot identify who the people are in the pictures.

Well, this time around, I knew more about the family history than I did twenty-five years ago. And this time – I hit pay dirt when I studied the pictures once again. In fact, it will take me several postings to report my findings. So expect more than one post about family pictures . . .

Today, I will post about a pic that really makes all the difference in the world – the picture that is worth a thousand words. It is a picture of Tennessee Anne McQueen and her husband, Jean Baptiste Emile Corbello. Anne was the daughter of Milton McQueen and Susan Simmons. Emil was the son of John Alphonse Corbello and Antoine Lamareaux.

Before detailing more about the picture of Anne and Emile, however, I must digress back to two other pictures.

When I looked at the picture below years ago, I found the words this papa and cousin sally written in pencil on the back.

The words are faded and fading, but they are clear enough. The only person on the family tree that fits this description would be Milton McQueen and second wife, Sarah McKenzie Barclay. At the time of their marriage, Sarah was the widow of Robert Barclay, Milton’s nephew and the oldest son of Milton’s sister and her husband, Elizabeth McQueen and Robert Barclay. The children, of course, would have naturally called her cousin sally.

The picture below, in the same box, has the words this sister kate on the back.

More pieces of the puzzle came together, for Katherine McQueen, who married first a Jacobs and later a Felder, was Milton’s daughter. It would be natural for the siblings to have called her kate.

So, I was 95% sure that the picture was Milton McQueen and Sarah Barclay, and equally sure that the other picture was Katherine McQueen Jacobs Felder.

It was the 5% of being unsure, however, that has niggled at me all these years. I have been doing genealogy for a long time. More than once I have come across coincidences that defy a person's imagination, so I had good reason to hang onto that 5% of doubt in regards to the pictures.

Now, I also made the assumption, all those years ago, that James Polk McQueen, son of Milton McQueen and first wife, Susan Simmons, and who the box of pictures originally belonged to, wrote the words on the back. It was a natural assumption I suppose. It made sense in light of the pictures I was looking at.

However, on a recent inspection of the pictures, I came across the picture of Emile and Anne. I had somehow either missed the first time around, or I just did not know enough about the family history to know who I was looking at. And while the front is not particularly anything special, the back changes everything.

In pencil, in the same right slanted script of the picture of Milton and Kate, are the words this is me and emile.

Now, the only Emile on the family tree is the husband of Tennessee Anne McQueen. Emile, a Louisiana native (although his parents were originally from San Antonio), met Anne through her brother, James. Emile and James served in Ragsdale's Battalion together, and Emile, who is documented as being on leave at least one time at the same time as James, probably came home with him. Emile and Anne eloped probably sometime in the fall of 1860 just before Milton’s death that December (see Metes & Bounds III: John McQueen and Nancy Crews, Children and Grandchildren for more). In fact, after Milton’s death, the family had to find Anne because they were not certain where she had gone (court records dated January / February 1861 which I cite in my book reveal this tidbit of information).

At any rate – I was remiss in thinking James wrote the names on these pictures. Anne wrote them, and for some reason, at some point, because she lived her whole married life in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, on her husband’s plantation, she sent the pictures to James. Either for safe-keeping or because he asked for them. How Anne came to have them, since she was likely estranged from Milton at the time of his death, I have no idea.

Anyway – for me – (beyond my gratitude that fate saw fit to be sure I would come across the pictures so many years after Anne sent them to James and after James put them away in a box) - that 5% of not being sure the picture was Milton is gone. It is obvious that Anne is labeling the man as her father and the other woman as her sister Katherine. It is equally easy to see that, put a few years on Katherine, sag her jaw line and eyes, and she favors her sister Anne.

So, yes, the picture of Anne and Emile was certainly worth a thousand words.

But, alas, one mystery is solved and another remains . . . I will be posting more on that later . . .

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