Adorable Dorothy

Found Photo Project #4

By Eilene Lyon

Postscript on #3 – Fort Wayne Stenographer

I was able to track down Jessie Armstrong McDonald’s granddaughters. I sent one of them the photograph of Jessie taken about 1920. We had a nice chat on the phone. After Jessie’s husband died, she went to live with her daughter’s family, so the granddaughters had the opportunity to get to know her well. They appreciate having the photograph.

The Fort Wayne Stenographer – Jessie Armstrong McDonald, c. 1920. The original has been sent to a granddaughter.

Project #4

This is actually an extension of my original Found Photo Project post. One of those first three images is a two-year-old named Dorothy Elizabeth Beaty. For that image, I focused more on the photographers, the Gerhard Sisters, than the subject.

The Gerhard Sisters, photographers, 1914. (Wikimedia Commons)

I decided to revisit Dorothy’s portrait, because my initial efforts to find a family member were unsuccessful. Recently I was able to track down one of Dorothy’s granddaughters and she now has the original photograph. I’ve also learned a bit more about Dorothy’s story.

Dorothy E. Beaty was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 17, 1905, and was the only child of David Beckett Beaty (known as Beckett) and Kathryne S. Barney.1 Beckett was a native of Jerseyville, Illinois. Kathryne was born in Boulder County, Colorado, to Civil War veteran William M. Barney and his first wife, Melissa Rannells.2 Kathryne lost her mother when she was just 8 years old. For some reason she was separated from her father and siblings in the 1880 census, the following year.3

Beckett and Kathryne married in Denver, Colorado, in 1896, but had moved to St. Louis by 1900, where Beckett was a grocer.4 In 1910, he was a commercial fruit merchant.5 In 1920, both Beckett and Kathryn fell ill. Beckett passed away in July and his body was sent to Illinois for burial. His 15-year-old daughter, Dorothy, accompanied him, then returned home to her mother.6

Kathryne and Dorothy then went to stay with Kathryne’s younger sister, Emma (Barney) Miller, then living in Oklahoma City. Kathryne succumbed to her illness in mid-September, leaving young Dorothy an orphan.7 Her aunt and uncle, Emma and John T. Miller, then took responsibility for seeing her reared to adulthood.

J.T. Miller held a variety of jobs: soldier, poultry farm manager, retail sales. He and Emma took Dorothy to Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. In her early 20s, Dorothy worked as an office manager for a Van Nuys department store called Moore’s. She found romance with Samuel James Woody, a California native eight years her senior, and they married in December 1927.8

A 1927 ad for Moore’s department store. Click to enlarge. (Newspapers.com)

Samuel had a job with the power company for some years, first as a truck driver, then as a lineman.9 He later went to work for the Van Nuys hardware store and became part-owner by the time of his marriage to Dorothy. He was very active in civic organizations, too, fast on his way to becoming a pillar of the community.10

Sam Woody and a partner announced their purchase of the hardware store in 1922. (Newspapers.com)

Dorothy’s uncle, Ralph B. Barney, gave her away at the ceremony. Her aunt and uncle Miller beamed with pride, of course.  After the wedding, attended only by close family and friends, Dorothy and Samuel drove to San Francisco to board a ship back home to Los Angeles as their honeymoon trip.11

Over the years, the couple became parents to two sons, then later grandparents, all the while living in Van Nuys. Samuel died suddenly in 1963 at the age of 69.12 Dorothy never remarried and was a widow for 31 years. She died in Van Nuys in 1994.13

Headline and opening paragraph of Samuel J. Woody’s obituary. (Newspapers.com)

 

Feature image: Dorothy Elizabeth Beaty, St. Louis, MO, age 2 ½ years. Original has been sent to a granddaughter.


  1. Dorothy E. Beaty. Ancestry.com. Missouri, U.S., Birth Registers, 1847-1999 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007. 
  2. No Name Barney. Two-month-old daughter of William and Malissa Barney. Year: 1870; Census Place: St Vrain, Boulder, Colorado Territory; Roll: M593_94; Page: 120B – via Ancestry.com. Indicates a birth month of March 1870. Kate Beaty. Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 15, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 895; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0234; FHL microfilm: 1240895 – via Ancestry.com. 
  3. Ella, William, and Emma Barney in the household of their maternal grandparents, S.F. and Sarah Rannells. Kathryne’s whereabouts are unknown. Year: 1880; Census Place: Longmont, Boulder, Colorado; Roll: 88; Page: 440A; Enumeration District: 022 – via Ancestry.com. Also, W.M. Barney, widowed farmer.  Year: 1880; Census Place: Breckenridge, Summit, Colorado; Roll: 93; Page: 427C; Enumeration District: 106 – via Ancestry.com. 
  4. Kathryne S. Barney and D. Beckett Beaty. Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Also, Kate and Beckett D. Beaty. Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 15, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 895; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0234; FHL microfilm: 1240895 – via Ancestry.com. 
  5. David B. Beaty. Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 14, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_818; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0220; FHL microfilm: 1374831 – via Ancestry.com. 
  6. “Jerseyville – Deaths” Alton Evening Telegraph (Ill.), July 13, 1920. 
  7. “Mrs. David Beckett Beaty” Alton Evening Telegraph (Ill.), September 15, 1920. 
  8. “Miss Beaty Bride of Sam J. Woody Tomorrow P.M.” The Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet, December 6, 1927 p. 7 – via Newspapers.com. 
  9. Samuel Woodey. Year: 1920; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 61, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_105; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 130 – via Ancestry.com. Also, Samuel J. Woody, 1921. Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. 
  10. See Note 8. Also, “Services Set for Pioneer ‘Sam’ Woody” The Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet, February 3, 1963 p. 3 – via Newspapers.com. 
  11. See Note 8. 
  12. See Note 10. 
  13. Dorothy E. Woody. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/85552350/dorothy-elizabeth-woody 

45 thoughts on “Adorable Dorothy

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    1. Beckett Beaty died of chronic interstitial nephritis. I don’t have a death certificate for Kathryne, as she died in a different state. I would guess something different than her husband, though, unless they were both poisoned somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really is, and so close together. It’s good she had relatives to take her in. One of the women in my writers’ group is writing a memoir that begins when she is orphaned at 15. Not an easy thing to go through.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Dorothy was a cutie patootie. I’m rather impressed with her ability to balance on that pedestal. She lived as a widow for 31 years! Somehow that seems incredible to me, like a whole second life.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was told there would be an ebook, but not much cheaper than the hard back. If it sells, maybe paper in a couple years. They’re aiming for the library market (and I’m aiming for individuals). It’s written for general audiences, but is also a robust work on the gold rush.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Those photographs have really held up!

    And now I’m wondering if there’s a Moore’s around here. I wanna pick up a couple dozen pair of men’s dress pants. Can’t beat the price . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s see if I can convert all that into today’s dollars… (I think we get better deals today.)

      I bought a whole new stash of old photos on my recent trip to Albuquerque, but I’ll have to wait a while before indulging my curiosity. Gotta book to write!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful thing to do! I recently went through my father’s first cousin’s photos (she died about five years ago; there were no children), and there were a number of “unknowns” from her college graduation, and since I never met the cousin and only found her a few years before she died, I had no idea who they were. In the purge necessitated by our move, I reluctantly threw them away. Now I feel terribly guilty…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it’s understandable. I’ll be discarding a lot of my mother’s photos, when I get around to it. Not all are worth saving, for sure. And I’ll never learn who some of the people are. These old photos are special, though. People didn’t take snapshots back then. It was always a special occasion with these studio photographers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eilene, I like the photo up top and I have a similar photo of me in a similar pose, but sitting on a table, not a pedestal. My photo was sans the big bow, maybe a hair clip to capture strands of my stick-straight hair that always seemed to want to fall into my eyes. My picture is an unusual tint – it is not sepia, nor black-and-white, but has a rosy hue. Maybe the photographer was experimenting with tints. I guess there were no photo filters in those days. I remember Jessie the stenographer from an earlier post and I’m sure the granddaughter was thrilled to receive this photo. My great-grandmother’s husband passed away suddenly and I don’t recall if they had children together and this is why she married his brother shortly thereafter, or perhaps it was convenient to have someone to run the farm. I know my grandmother had 8 siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does sound like an unusual portrait. Maybe a tint, or perhaps some of the chemicals used changed the color over time. I would Dorothy had to be mighty uncomfortable on that pedestal! Yes, Jessie’s granddaughter was very pleased to get the picture. That one was quite unusual for how large it was, as well as the work setting. I almost hated to part with these two – quite special. But I don’t feel they really belonged to me.

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      1. Yes, the coloring is odd and I was too young to recall what color the dress was and if the photographer tinted the photo to match the dress. The pedestal must have been very sturdy or the kids would have toppled down, pulling the pedestal with them. That was really kind of you to give the photos away. I do treasure my photos and am lucky that I ended up with the family scrapbooks. Now, sharing the family photos is so easy thanks to digitizing them and creating share sites. I imagine a few squabbles would erupt in years past about what family member would get to keep the family albums or shoebox full of photos.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lucky you for the new treasure trove of photos! I scanned in all my albums and scrapbooks over Thanksgiving 2017 but I could not fit the album pages on the Epson scanner bed, nor could I remove the photos from the album. Some of the pictures did not scan well. I am thinking of getting a handheld scanner when I am retired and will have more time to redo some of those photos. They are easier to store and my albums and scrapbooks I digitized are on two flashdrives (one in the safety deposit box) and at Shutterfly for safekeeping. The album pages were coming separated from the binder posts and the overlays no longer stayed put in all the Hallmark Albums.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Quite some time back I bought a Flip-pal battery-operated scanner and I love it! It’s slow, but the flexibility and quality is excellent. I bought an Epson Fast-Foto scanner and never use it. Quality is poor, unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m going to jot down the name … the one I saw was from Hammacher Schlemmer or Sharper Image and that’s the way to go. It’s difficult closing the lid and light creeping in did not do those images any favors. Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

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