The Welsh-Adler File

Found Photo Project #5

By Eilene Lyon

What might happen to your family photos if you do not pass them on before you die, or leave instructions in your will? They could wind up in the trash, or maybe scattered in a booth at a large antique mart in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A couple of the scrapbook pages. The one on the left features Mildred E. Scott, wife of Stuart W. Adler. This is one of the clues that the collection came from one of his descendants.

When I saw these scrapbook pages and loose images, some unidentified, and realized they all belonged to one family, I hastily snatched them all up. It cost a bit more than I usually allot for my little hobby. But it was very worthwhile to turn them over to a descendant who has recently begun her family history exploration.

Mary Heloise Welsh

The most notable portrait in the collection is a young woman, Mary Heloise Welsh, born in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War. She was the youngest of seven children born to Abner Welsh, a farmer and lumber supplier, and his wife, Mary Hart Kline.

Mary Heloise Welsh about 1890. She had artistic talent. Her descendants have a couple beautiful, hand-painted, porcelain plates she made.

Abner Welsh was a successful businessman and acquired substantial property in Columbia County, his lifelong home.1 He clearly believed in educating his children. Mary Heloise graduated from high school in 1881. Her next older sibling, J. Perry Adler, was principal of the Bloomsburg Normal School.2 Some of Abner and Mary’s grandchildren (women included) became physicians.

On August 27, 1890, Mary Heloise was united in marriage to Winfield Scott Adler. The return filed with Columbia County gives her occupation as “Lady” and his as “Dry Goods Merchant.”3 At the time, W. Scott was living in South Bend, Indiana. This is where he and Mary Heloise went after the wedding.

The Welsh-Adler wedding party, August 27, 1890 in Columbia County, Pennsylvania. (Click to enlarge)
Winfield Scott Adler

Winfield Scott Adler was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1865. He had an older brother and a younger sister, Monroe and Isabella. His parents were born in Germany, and his father, Adolphus, owned a mercantile establishment.4

The Adler family: Monroe, Adolphus, Isabella, Rebecca, W. Scott, about 1870.

The senior Adlers, who were Jewish, arrived in Lancaster about 1860 where they joined the Shaarai Shomayim congregation. One of the founders of this congregation was Joseph Simon (~1712–1804), who is described as the first and last Colonial Jew in Lancaster. The cemetery he established, where the Adlers are buried, is the fourth oldest Jewish cemetery in America.5

Adolphus died in July 1885, a sad event brought about by gas poisoning at a hotel in Reading four months earlier.6 Only Rebecca, W. Scott’s mother, was there for her son’s wedding in 1890. W. Scott chose to be baptized in the Presbyterian Church in 1902.7

The Adler Boys

Mary Heloise and W. Scott Adler had three sons while living in South Bend, Indiana: Stuart W. (b. 1892), David B. (b. 1895), and Monroe L. (b. 1896).8 Around 1899, the family relocated to Manhattan, where W. Scott continued in the dry goods business.

In May 1901, Mary Heloise was visiting her widowed mother in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. She suddenly passed away of a short-term illness while there and was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Orangeville, her childhood home.9

W. Scott, with three very young boys, soon remarried to Mary G. Worrell. They had two daughters, the first being named Mary Heloise. W. Scott Adler died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1944. He was laid to rest in Laurel Hill with Mary Heloise and one of their sons.10

Dr. Stuart W. Adler in 1936.

Stuart W. Adler became a doctor. He lived for a time in Massachusetts, Illinois, New Mexico, and California. He died in California in 1987 at age 95.11

David B. Adler also lived to 95, dying in Orlando, Florida in 1990.12 He served in the Army and was an insurance salesman, living in New Jersey much of his career.

Monroe L. Adler unfortunately had a brief life. He died in Yonkers, New York, at the age of 14. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church and participated in various church activities and organizations. He died of food poisoning from ice cream cones.13 He was buried by his mother in Laurel Hill.

Feature image: The three sons of Mary Heloise Welsh and Winfield Scott Adler: David, Stuart, and Monroe. South Bend, Indiana, 1898.

  1. “Abner Welsh.” The Columbian (Bloomsburg, PA), July 31, 1891 p. 1 c. 2 – via 
  2. “Death of Mrs. Scott Adler.” The Lancaster Examiner (PA), May 29, 1901 p. 5 – via 
  3. Mr. W. Scott Adler to Miss M. Heloise Welsh. Pennsylvania, U.S., Marriages, 1852-1968> Columbia> 1885-1891> image 201 – via 
  4. Adolphus Addler. US Census. Year: 1870; Census Place: Lancaster Ward 4, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1356; Page: 269A – via 
  6. “Death of Adolph Adler.” The Lancaster Weekly Examiner and Express, July 29, 1885 p. 6 – via 
  7. Stuart Welsh Adler and Winfield Scott Adler. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, U.S., Church and Town Records, 1669-2013> PA – Columbia> Bloomsburg> Presbyterian> First Presbyterian Church> image 208 – via 
  8. W. Scott Adler. US Census. Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1106; Page: 19; Enumeration District: 0554; FHL microfilm: 1241106 – via 
  9. “Brief was the life…” The Columbian, May 30, 1901 p. 1 – via; 
  11. State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics – via 
  12. David B. Adler. State of Florida. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998. Florida: Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records, 1998 – via 
  13. “Died from Ptomaine Poisoning.” Lancaster New Era, May 24, 1911 p. 2 – via; 

41 thoughts on “The Welsh-Adler File

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      1. Probably they were new to the idea of being photographed outdoors and not in a studio. But actually people in studio photos didn’t always look at the camera. Maybe it depended on the photographer’s instructions?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s always puzzling to me when I see old photos sitting in boxes at antique stores but I can understand the common reasons that they likely arrived there. Photos like these spark amazing stories even if you don’t know the owners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, death from eating ice cream—that’s awful.

    These are gorgeous photos—who would have thrown them away? I am so glad you rescued them and found a descendant who wanted them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is fascinating stuff, Eilene. I lament the fact that all the photos on my mother’s side (mostly in my aunt’s hands now) are unlabeled. And those who could identify many are now no longer around. I then look at my own damn photos and realise I am guilty of the same thing. How hard would it have been to mark them when I got them back from the printer?
    It is wonderful that you got them to the descendants’ hands!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A couple years ago I took the time to label all my printed photos, put them in albums if they weren’t already, and then wrote down everything I remembered about them and put those papers in the albums. It was fun to do. Now I need to tackle the digital realm and whatever I can salvage of my mother’s albums. She’s too deep in dementia to help and I don’t always get the right answers from her sister.

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      1. I have a bunch in albums but un-labeled. It’s gonna be a challenge to figure out the what’s what. At least I have the years so…
        I understand re: your mom. My mother doesn’t have it and yet I am not so sure about her memory sometimes!

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  4. Wow! What an incredible story. It must have been so satisfying to be able to reunite these photos with their rightful owner. I’m sure it was quite a task to piece together the clues to figure out who they were from. But it’s so nice to see something like this have a happy ending. Do you think there are still more photos out there that need to be reunited with their families?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, they did not go back to the person who had them before, but to someone in that family line. There are many photos out there needed to be reunited with family. I have a number of them, just a tiny collection. It’s a vast issue.


  5. How nice of you to purchase these photographs and eventually turn them over to descendants after writing an interesting post here. Mary Heloise Welsh was very pretty. Surprisingly, despite many of these folks having higher education, that through the years, their descendants were not interested in the photos and they ended up like this, abandoned and unloved. I am the repository for the family albums that belonged to my mom and include photos of her great grandparents and their farm as well as her parents. I digitized all those albums in November 2017, but most are raw images and will need to be formatted at some time. I have formatted many to use in blog posts. I’ll eventually finish all of them, another retirement project. I have the photos on an old computer, two flash drives (one in the safety deposit box) and on Shutterfly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are wonderful for doing all that the preserve your family photos! I am way far behind on scanning. And I need to make backups of what I do have scanned. Well, I have one backup, but that’s not enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used an Epson flatbed scanner which worked well for the albums where I could remove the pages from the albums, but other albums where I had to lay the whole album page down will need to have those images tweaked. My mom’s albums, with the onionskin overlay pages had photo corners, so that was great for removal. Some pics are very clear, but others with sepia tones, like the motorcycle pic were not as clear around the edges of the photo.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I also use a flatbed scanner. I bought a pricey quick-feed Epson scanner, but it puts lines down the middle of the images, and apparently it is a design flaw with the machine, so it just takes up room on my desk. I should get rid of it. Back to slow scanning – at least I get quality images.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is a shame. I wish I’d gotten a hand-held scanner and I could have made a better job on the tricky big albums that pages couldn’t be removed. I also had the issue of adhesive coming away from the “sealed page” leaving adhesive marks that look like ridges. I was disappointed that happened.

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