Week 42: #52 Ancestors – Proud
By Eilene Lyon
The prompt brought this photo to mind almost immediately, though it seems an odd choice. No one looks particularly happy in this image of the Halse family taken about 1912 in Codington County, South Dakota.
Back row: Inez, Everett (my grandfather), Hazel, Howard, Lloyd
Front row: Mabel, Amy, Myron, Guy
Guy Halse (Full name: Ernest Guy Tresselyn Halse; a big name for a big man), was born in September 1873 in Winneshiek County, Iowa. He was one of two sons (no daughters) born to Richard Halse and Meltha Lucinda Painter. He spent his entire career farming, moving to South Dakota in 1881, when he was still a child.
Mabel Pearl Cutting, also born in Winneshiek County and just a baby when she arrived in Codington County, was the oldest child of Arthur Cutting and Alice Fawcett. She and Guy married when Mabel was just 16 years old. She had to obtain her father’s permission to marry the 23-year-old Guy on February 4, 1897. (Note: Mabel and Guy were second cousins.)
During their marriage, Mabel gave birth to 11 children who all survived to adulthood. The photos of Mabel as an adult always show an apparently exhausted woman. Guy expected her to do everything regarding keeping the home and rearing the children. There were no Mr. Moms in those days.
I don’t know if Guy ever aspired to anything beyond having a successful farm. He did work for the census in 1920, enumerating the people in his township, completing 12 sheets in legible writing. According to my great-aunt, Mabel tended toward the quiet side, but Guy was quite talkative
What strikes me about the feature photo is not only how well-dressed we find this farm family, but note Guy’s pose. He appears to be balanced on just a single leg of that chair! His poise in such a precarious position just reeks of vanity. He has done well in life, knows it, and is proud to show off in this picture.