Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Wilds of Lewis County

This card was sent from the wilds of Lewis County, Washington to C.E. Shea of Portland, Oregon in 1917. Even today, the population of Lewis County is only about 75,000. The largest city is Centralia, with a population of just over 16,000. There's plenty of rural land, and the eastern end of Lewis County is national park and forest. Unfortunately, we don't know where this photo was taken in Lewis County, especially since it was sent from Seattle.

 The message on the back reads:

Picture taken in the wilds of Lewis County. Notice the dog. I can get a separate picture of him very lovely looking.
Have you seen Aunt Hattie lately. I am contemplating taking the G.N. train which goes through Rainier and thought I would let them know.

While we don't know who the people in the picture are, I am fairly certain that the card's recipient was Cora E. Shea, born in about 1870 in Illinois. She and her husband, James Shea, lived in Portland with their three children Leo, John, and Margaret. I wonder if the son, Leo, sent this card to his mother. Leo would have been 26 at the time. Although the Census records show the name as Leo, I guess it's possible that his full name was Leon.


  1. There's always a mystery without a sufficient number of clues on these photos. It's a shame he didn't say more about the people in the photo. Lovely photo.

  2. That is quite the rural family ensemble, even looks like they got one of the cows in the pic at right rear. The smiling woman in front of the window looks like she was beamed in from another time and place though, perhaps 'Annie Hall' era NYC...

  3. Is that a giant on the far right?

  4. I love seeing those old group portraits. And the dog is looking at the them.

  5. What an interesting looking group of all shapes and sizes, as well as age. And if they were discussing the railroad line to Rainier, Washington I believe that was the NP line, so we might want to contact Leo/ Leon for clarification.

  6. I love the people and the lone dog in this photograph. Great picture.

  7. Great image. Some well-fed folk in that group!

  8. An interesting sea of faces. They all look a little apprehensive, apart from the lady with the hat in the middle, who looks as though she has popped up from nowhere with a big smile!



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