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Post A Historic Family Photo Gallery
Created by John Eipper on 07/29/20 2:32 PM

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A Historic Family Photo Gallery (Patrick Mears, Germany, 07/29/20 2:32 pm)

As part of my decades-long research in family genealogy, I'd like to share a few old family photos and a postcard.

This postcard is of the Durant-Dort Carriage Works near downtown Flint, which was owned by Billy Durant and J. Dallas Dort. The advent of the automobile made this industry redundant.


The first family photo is of my Mears grandfather, Edward Francis, who was born and died on June 15th (1858 and 1937). One story I remember about him is that he would often drive this carriage downtown to meet his buddies for drinks and would often fall asleep while driving back, but the "horse knew the way" to drive the carriage back home while Gramps was both hammered and asleep.

The next photo is one of only two that I have of my grandmother, Mary Cronin Mears, who was born in 1856 in the small town of Dryden in Lapeer County and died in 1924 in Flint. My father had very fond memories of her--by all accounts I have heard over the years, she was a wonderful person. The two children are Jean and Joan Mears, two of my father's children from his first marriage to Juanita Stevenson of Red Lodge, Montana.

In this photo below, my father and his first wife, Juanita Stevenson, are in the centre of the shot but I have no idea who the other two persons are. If university-type buildings were in the background, I would say that this photo was taken on the grounds of Michigan State Normal College, which my dad and Juanita attended for two academic years from 1910 to 1912, when they both graduated with teaching degrees. But the background does not appear to be on such a campus. I assume that the letter on the varsity sweater of the fellow on the right of the photo is a "C," but I can't be sure of that. The only college beginning with C that MSNC played back then in collegiate sports was Cleary College in Howell, which is still in existence.

Finally, the last photo was taken on the northeast corner of Pierson and Jennings Roads. The house that is nearest the people in the horse-drawn sleigh is the house that I grew up in. It was torn down years ago and was right next to Clarks Grocery, which was directly on that corner. The woman in the sleigh is my mother, so I guess that the photo was taken in the late 1930s or early 1940s. The fellow sitting next to her is the "middle" brother of the three Mears boys--my uncle, Philip Cronin Mears (1890-1950). The old gentleman in the background is the owner-operator of a gas station on this street corner. I suspect that he leased that corner from my dad.

JE comments:  A splendid album.  William C (that's "Crapo"--yikes) Durant is best known as the founder of General Motors.  A theory about the other (non-Crapo) C, the one on the sweater:  Could it have been the Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute--founded in 1892?  It's now Central Michigan U.  Mt Pleasant would have been a long sleigh ride from Ypsilanti, though.

Patrick Mears sent these images to accompany a much longer family history, which we'll upload soon to the WAIS "publications" page.  I'll post the announcement when it's available.

Pat, I know more about your family history than my own!  What can you tell us about your two much older half-sisters?


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