Since this is my first Treasure Chest post, there were so many possibilities for a subject that I almost couldn’t decide on one. Finally, I quit trying to figure out which was the biggest treasure and just picked one. Hopefully, that means there will be no shortage of Treasure Chest Thursday articles in the future.
Today’s treasure is this picture of my great great grandmother, Eliza Hopkins. Although I can’t say I remember it, my grandparents, Emma & Elmer Hopkins, had the original framed portrait of Eliza which was taken long before she died in 1912 at around 74 years old.
In April, 1973, Larry & Ermine Hopkins visited Emma & Elmer in Loyall, Kentucky. Larry was descended from Eliza’s sister, Betsey, and they had made the trip from their home in Oregon to research his Hopkins ancestors in Kentucky and Tennessee. During that visit, Larry photographed Eliza’s portrait.
On 4 Apr 1977, a flash flood forced Emma & Elmer to leave home with virtually the clothes on their backs. They had lived in that house for over 50 years and flood water had only been in the yard once before. This time the water was several feet deep in the house and many of their pictures and papers were destroyed – Eliza’s portrait, among them.
Jump forward 30 years. I set up a genealogy website in hopes of making connections with others researching the same families. In April, 2008, Larry & Ermine’s granddaughter found my website and sent me an e-mail. She put me in touch with her uncle who had written a book on the Hopkins family and, most importantly, had the original photo of Eliza’s portrait that his father had taken in 1973. Now my family has Eliza’s picture again.