By Eilene Lyon
A Photo Restored and Colorized
Recently Val Erde made a wonderful offer to do free digital colorization for eight people who use vintage photographs in their blogs. I quickly volunteered, and was so lucky she selected one of my images. I first posted this photo of the Gusso brothers last July in my 52 Ancestors prompt for “Music.”
Val did such a fabulous job coloring this image, though my scan was not high-resolution. Part of me was even hesitant to see a colorized version – it’s delightful even in sepia tone. But I am glad to have this new version. Besides coloring, Val repaired the damages and the tape marks.
I placed the date of this image at 1917, because the very next page in the album has a picture of Henry in his doughboy uniform and he looks about the same age in both pictures. However, you will see that Grandma Reatha (Gusso) Halse was not particular about putting her photo albums in any sort of chronological order.
Here are the two consecutive pages in the album. The photo of Walter with the violin I would certainly date much later than the image of the three brothers. And on the second page, immediately after the World War I image is Walter and Stella Gusso in 1959!
It’s possible the trio were photographed even earlier than 1917. I determined that they were sitting in front of their parents’ home as seen in the image below. In 1917, Walter was 27, Bill was 25, and Henry was 23. What do you think? Do they look younger than that?
If you’d like to see more of Val’s work or have her do restoration or coloring, visit her blog at https://colouringthepast.com Her rates are very reasonable and it’s easy to make payment via PayPal. I had her do a restoration for me as well and it is fabulous!
Great-grandpa Walter Gusso
Walter has a singular distinction in my family tree: going back at least to my 3rd-great-grandparent’s generation, he is the only ancestor who was born and died in the same county. My forebears were people on the move!
Walter arrived on May 28, 1890 in Codington County, South Dakota, the first child of Charles Gusso and Olive Springer. Charlie was a farmer, and Walter followed suit, buying a parcel on the edge of the new town of Florence.
On June 10, 1914 Walter Gusso and Stella Agatha Crandall married. Family lore suggests that their first child was either stillborn or died soon after birth. My grandmother, Reatha came along on March 5, 1916. Two sons and another daughter followed over the years.
The South Dakota plains can suffer severe weather events and in 1944, a tornado demolished part of Walter and Stella’s farm. They rebuilt. Also during this period, Walter spent some time on the west coast working in a shipyard for the war effort.
According to my great-aunt, Walter in his later years was a bit of a curmudgeon, but with a “heart of gold.” She remembers his fiddle-playing, too. One thing I find in stories about my paternal side of the family is people loving to dance and having a real good time. I don’t encounter that on my maternal tree for some reason. The Smith side tended to be more serious, studious, and religious.
Though Stella passed suddenly in 1961 from a heart attack, Walter had a long life. I met him only once, but I barely remember the occasion. This photo provides the evidence, however.
Walter spent his final years in a nursing home in Watertown and died at the age of 90 on September 22, 1980.