Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #91 A Series of Brick Wall Photos

The photographs I’m sharing today were taken with a brick wall as the backdrop. None are labeled but in the first, I recognize Florence ROYALTY and her brother-in-law George Wyte LILLIE. I don’t know who the woman in the middle is. There were two copies of this photo in the collection, one had June 14 written across the top but no year.

George Wyte LILLIE, an unknown woman, and Florence ROYALTY

For comparison here are two photos taken around 1930. Definitely, before 19 November 1932 as this is when Isaac died.

Isaac LILLIE (1872-1932) with his wife Florence ROYALTY (1868-1946)
Isaac and Florence’s sons Raymond (1904-1970), on the left, and Roy (1895-1979), on the right, with their uncle George Wyte LILLIE (1874-1943) in the middle.


The above two photos were taken in Detroit, Michigan, in front of the apartment building the family was living in. Although the coat with the fur collar worn by Florence and the light colored hat with the dark band worn by George appear to be the same, the second set of photos were most likely not taken on the same day. George in the top photo is wearing a tiny bow tie while in the lower right photo he is wearing a tie. In both pictures, he has a cigar in his hand. Also as the copy of the top photo was labeled June 14 it is very unlikely that the other two photos were not taken in the middle of June since the men are so warmly dressed.

Perhaps the next two photographs could be clues to identify the woman in the middle in the photograph at the top. Could she be the mother of the three children in these photos?

Three unknown children (sitting)
Three unknown children (standing)

Using the bricks as a guide I estimated the height of the children. From left to right, the oldest girl is 17-18 bricks=51-54 inches, the young boy is about 12 bricks=36 inches, and the younger girl is 15-16=45-48 inches. This matches with my estimates of their ages being from youngest to oldest, about 2 1/2, 5, and 7-8 years.

I’ve gone through the LILLIE family tree looking for siblings who were born in the 1920s. The only family group I found which would match was the family of Isaac’s youngest brother Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1947) with his wife Neele Audrey OWENS (1898-1942) and their children Roberta Neele b. Oct 1921, Marian Gene b. Aug 1924, and Robert Walton b. Jan 1927.

Roberta’s photo was shared in Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #7 Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940).

I found a yearbook photo of Marian in the U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 database at Ancestry.

U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012, (Ancestry.com : accessed 28 February 2017)

I shared the photos with Robert Walton LILLIE’s daughter Julie back in December hoping to get them into a post at the end of the year. She wrote, “Cathy, I have never seen this picture before, and in my opinion, they don’t look like my Dad and (his) sisters. But, I could be wrong. Let me send to my sister and see if she recognizes it. I will get back to you.” After sharing with her sister she wrote, “My sister didn’t recognize the picture either, nor did she think it was them. But, neither one of us is 100% sure.”

I still think the children could be an older Roberta, her sister Marian, and their little brother Robert. I sent a new request to Julie to take a look at the lady in the middle in the top photo.

Robert and Marian. Photograph courtesy of family member.

Julie got back to me and sent some photographs including the above for comparison. I believe the children’s blond hair darkened over the years. This would explain the darker hair of the older girl in the photo of the three children. Is she the same person as Roberta seen with the cute blond haircut? Between the time the bottom photo of Robert and Marian was taken and Marian’s picture for the school yearbook, her hair darkened. Alas, Robert and the young boy were not very good studies in either photo. The one above, sent by Julie, shows Robert a bit older than the little boy in the photo with the girls but the cute newsboy cap hides his eyes. In the pictures with the girls, the young boy is looking down, hiding his face.

While we were chatting, Julie told me something I did not know. My research on Robert Sr. and his wife Neele was difficult, to say the least. I never found them together on a census. They were married on 10 April 1920. In 1930 Neele and her oldest daughter Roberta were lodgers in a household. No trace of daughter Marian and husband Robert. I had no idea there was also a son Robert until Julie’s son contacted me.

I have never understood why my Father had to go live with his Uncle Ray and Aunt Clara. I don’t remember my Dad ever explaining it to me, and perhaps he didn’t know for sure. Neele and Robert were married twice and divorced twice. I know my Dad had a rough childhood…..My father seemed to adore his Mother, but not a lot of talk or praise of his Father…..don’t worry about bringing up skeletons, as I am perfectly aware that there are many.

Since we now know Robert and Neele’s marriage had its difficulties, I want you to take another look at the photo at the beginning of this post with the young woman in the middle between George and Florence. Do you notice what I noticed? I have to admit I didn’t see this until I looked at the second copy I have of the same photo which is dated June 14 (without a year).

Is the young woman pregnant? If this was Neele, what happened to the child? Could she have given birth while in Detroit? If this isn’t Neele, would it be possible to find a woman who gave birth sometime after June 14th?

Will someone recognize the children and the young woman in this series of photos taken in front of a brick wall? Are they Neele Audrey Owens Lillie and her children Roberta Neele, Marian Gene, and Robert Walton?

Photos of Neele were shared in Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #79 The Unusual Hairdo (Identified).

These are the last of the photographs from the collection I was gifted by my cousin Joe Rooney who took them off the hands of his cousin Sandra Lillie who saved them from the trash can. I will be taking a week or two off from writing about this collection but will be back with a final post, a synopsis of the family connections made during the process of writing about each of the over 150 photos.

Would you like to re-visit the photos? You can see them on my Pinterest board Old Photographs Saved from Trash Can.


More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #10 LILLIE Family 1920 Reunion

In 1920 following the end of the World War, or The Great War as the Britons referred to it until the 1940s, Isaac and Florence LILLIE got the family together for a reunion in Pope County, Illinois. Tables were loaded with food for over forty guests.

tableA family group photograph was taken in front of the Isaac S. Lillie home.

reunionThis group photograph did not have any persons identified. While working with the photographs from Joe Rooney’s collection I’ve become familiar with some of the faces in this family. I was able to pick out Isaac and Florence in the very back. Their son Roy and Ike’s brother Tom in the back row. Tom’s wife Florence and Isaac’s brother-in-law Lyon Glass in the middle row. Do you remember Chester with his his big catch of fish? He would be the young man at the far left by the porch swing.

To compare photos I did a screen split and viewed photos side by side, zooming in on persons in the group photo. When I got to the next photograph I made an interesting discovery. Can you tell what it was?

smallgroupTen men and a woman are lined up in front of a bank as seen on the door behind persons #10 and #23. Joe Rooney labeled it “SamRoy3rdleft.” I compared photos of Samuel Royalty “Roy” Lillie, son of Isaac, with this photo and #5 is Roy. But who are the others?

I then noticed everyone in the lineup was also in the family group photo. More importantly, they were ALL wearing the same clothes. Could this photograph have been taken the same day as the reunion? With the exception of Roy, is it a lineup of the sons and daughter of Albert Spencer Lillie and Pernecia Elizabeth Glass?

When I made this discovery I emailed Joe explaining that I believed the lineup to be a photo of the Lillie brothers with their sister, with the exception of Roy. He then sent  another copy of the family group photo with names written in for 27 persons. It was his “working” copy. At one time while researching the family Joe had travelled around visiting the cemeteries and older living relatives. Joe first noticed the family group photo while visiting with his cousin Edna Elizabeth Lillie. He made a sketch and added names of people Edna identified. Then he went to visit Edna’s sister-in-law Marie Losnegard Lillie who was living in a nursing home. She was able to identify a few more people.

Joe agreed with my idea that the lineup was representative of the Lillie siblings. They are lined up from left to right, youngest to oldest. As Roy was a grandson and not of son of Albert and Pernecia we believe that he is standing in for Reuben D. Lillie b. 1891.

Joe wrote about Reuben’s absence, “Marie Losnegard told me that Reuben Lillie had been off to The Great War and decided to stay there and not return to the USA afterwards. I subsequently spoke to Edna Lang (Lillie) and she laughed and said Reuben Lillie robbed banks and went underground. The blacksheep.

Wouldn’t it be great to find out if this story of Reuben being a bank robber is true or false? I found he married in Bexar County, Texas, in 1918. Reuben and his wife were roomers in Nye County, Nevada, in 1920. His wife was identified on the “working” copy (see #18 below) but I wonder if she, a fairly new bride, would go the reunion without her husband. I found no trace of Reuben or his wife in 1930 and 1940. They simply disappeared after 1920.

Key to descendants of Albert Spencer LILLIE and Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS identified in family group photo as well as persons who may have been present but have not been identified. (click on link to see descendancy list)

keytophotoKey (identified persons in bold print)
1. Isaac Spencer Lillie b. 1872, husband of #2
2. Florence Royalty b. 1868, wife of #1
3. Neele Owens Lillie b. 1898, wife of #6 (UPDATED: 17 Nov 2016)
4. unidentified woman
5. Samuel Royalty Lillie b. 1895, son of #1 and #2
6. Robert Wiley Lillie b. 1895, brother of #1
7. John Calvin “Jack” Lillie b. 1883, brother of #1
8. Jesse Lyon Lillie b. 1893, brother of #1
9. George Wyte Lillie b. 1874, brother of #1
10. Thomas Nathaniel “Tom” Lillie b. 1881, brother of #1, husband of #22
11. Frank Greenberry Lillie b. 1877, brother of #1
12. Albert Preston Lillie b. 1887, brother of #1  OR Reese Gentry Lillie b. 1892, son of #1
13. Edward Bicourt “Ed” Lillie b. 1889, brother of #1
14. Chester Beryl Lillie b. 1900, son of #9
15. identified as Anna ? Lillie (poss. Annie Hester Mosley Lillie b. 1880, wife of #11)
16. unknown woman
17. unknown woman
18. Elizabeth Ruth Breitzka Lillie b. 1893, wife of Reuben Lillie
19. Green Berry Lyon Glass b. 1864, brother of #2
20. Allie D. Obermark Glass b. 1870, wife of #19
21. unknown woman (poss. Marie Green Lillie b. 1875, wife of #9)
22. Florence Sibbie Kaufman Lillie b. 1880, wife of #10
23. Rosa Lee Lillie Jeffords b. 1873, sister of #1
24. unknown woman
25. Jenava “Geneva” Mason Lillie b 1871, stepmother of #1
26. Eugene N. “Blue” Lillie b. 1906, son of #11
27. Eli Burton Lillie b. 1915, son of #11
28. Edgar Jacob Lillie b. 1914, daughter of Reese
29. Effie Florence Lillie b. 1912, daughter of Reese
30. boy (poss. Raymond Egbert “Splitty” Lillie b. 1904, son of #1)
31. Elsie E. Lillie b. 1909, daughter of #11
32. Ruth Joanna Lillie b. 1907, daughter of #1
33. Hazel Vickers Lillie b. 1897, wife of #8
34. identified as Verna Lillie (she was not born until 1927;  may be her mother Jessie Loretta McKellar Lillie b. 1890, wife of #7)
35. Ruby Pernecia Lillie b. 1909, daughter of #1
36. boy
37. girl
38. girl (poss. Elaine Lillie b. 1913, daughter of #11)
39. boy
40. girl (poss. Doris Lillie b. 1916, daughter of #8)
41. Edna Elizabeth Lillie b. 1917, daughter of Reese
42. child (girl or boy?)

Persons, listed oldest to youngest, who may be in the photo but not identified:
Marie Green Lillie b. 1875, wife of #9
Annie Hester Mosley Lillie b. 1880, wife of #11
Albert Preston Lillie b. 1887, brother of #1
Jessie Loretta McKellar Lillie b. 1890, wife of #7
Reese Gentry Lillie b. 1892, son of #1
Myra Stewart Lillie b. 1892, wife of #13
Pearl Eve Lillie b. 1896, daughter of #9
Neele Owens Lillie b. 1898, wife of #6
Thelma Holt Lillie b. 1901, wife of #5
Raymond Egbert “Splitty” Lillie b. 1904, son of #1
Emma Roxey Lillie b. 1906, daughter of #25
Bella P. Lillie b. 1907, daughter of #9
Charles W. Lillie b. 1908, son of #25
William Chester Lillie b. 1911, son of #13
Elaine Lillie b. 1913, daughter of #11
Edith Lillie b. 1913, daughter of #25
Anna Pernecia “Necie” Lillie b. 1913, daughter of of #13
Charles Lillie b. 1914, son of #8
Harlan J. Lillie b. 1914, son of #7
June Rozena Lillie b. 1916, daughter of #7
Edith M. Lillie b. 1916, daughter of of #13
Doris Lillie b. 1916, daughter of #8

No babies or very young infants are in the photograph. There were two children born 1918-1919. James E. Lillie b. May 1919 son of #13 and Florence Alberta Lillie b. Oct 1918 daughter of #7.


More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2015, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.





Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #7 Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

This is a spin-off of my 52 Ancestors: #14 Albert Spencer LILLIE (1848-1913) ~ Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can blogpost in which I featured a few photos from a collection of old photographs my 4C1R Joe Rooney shared with me. I asked Joe about using the photos and he kindly wrote, Please use them at your will.  I feel it is keeping it in the family and don’t need credit.  If anything, I appreciate your evaluations, identifications and detective work.  I’m hopeful you and yours enjoy them.  On a blog, in a book, above a cloud.”

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Links to previous posts in this series may be found in Old Photographs

#7 Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

After seeing a link to the Illinois State Archives on Facebook I checked to see if I could update some of the information on the families featured in this series of photographs. Albert Spencer LILLIE and Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS most likely married about 1871 were married 29 April 1872 in Pope County, Illinois, per the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index.

Their 11th and youngest child was Robert Wiley LILLIE born in 1895, the same year as his oldest brother Isaac’s second son Samuel Royalty LILLIE. He married Neele Audrey OWENS on 10 April 1920 in Kentucky. Robert and Neele had two daughters, Roberta Neele (Lillie) BOYER (1921-1991) and Marian Gene (Lillie) NEAL (1924-1975).

Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1940)

lillieRobert (left) with his nephew
Samuel Royalty LILLIE

Wife of Robert Wiley LILLIE

neeleNeele Audrey Owens Lillie 1898-1942

Daughter of Robert Wiley LILLIE and Neele Audrey OWENS

robertaRoberta Neele Lillie Boyer 1921-1991

Joe Rooney kindly gave me permission to use these photographs on my blog.

Joe ROONEY wrote on 15 February 2015: This collection of photographs was scanned at 300 dpi color by me. The original photos were sent by Sandra Lillie about ten years ago after she found them cleaning out a relative’s garage in Southern Illinois, finding no other takers (suckers). She believes they were a collection by L Vance Lillie. Many of the pictures seemed to be removed from frames or were in albums evidenced by fading characteristics and may have been from other’s collections. I scanned the reverse if there was laboratory advertising or writing. Some of the authors’ identification may be figured out of the handwriting matches. I did not scan the reverse of photos where there was only a three digit number that I believe to be sequence numbers on a roll of film. I didn’t spot any obvious helpful commonalities.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey