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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Picture for Daddy

George Burns, jr, Alvah Burns
To Stockton
    feb 7, 1880

    friend george.  i am well and here is my hand (drawing of a hand to shake) shake the old shot thing it is all heated up your folks are well, thay went over to Sinclairville friday and had the childrens pictures taken.  We have got lots of snow.  Mart is a drawing wood most every day.  i don’t now how mutch he has drawed. abought frank putnam, i have hurd that he tried to hang himself two different times the fool.  the cars run over a man and cut his head off near pine hill, i dont now who he was, i have been a drawing wood and logs and haint hunted atall lately, mat flagg is dead.  it bothers me to think what to right but i guess i can think of something more tomorrow.

good morning a fine day to hunt.  can i take trump.  Well i will go down and let lew trude go he wanted to good by.

hear i cume all tired out after hunting, got down to trudes and found Jo carpenter there with tips dog.  We all started for the swamp to put them on an old fox track but tips dog started a rabbit, and lew and Jo shot at it but did not get it, dogs lost it.  We went up the swamp and started an nother, he made one turn and i shot him.  We started 1 more and Jo shot at him and missed hime and he came around and i shot him.  trump was most to much for tips dog, i wish you was here to take a tramp with me.  I would sesk (?) my legs a while. any way.  i don’t now how much hay you have got i haven’t been in the barn lately. 

Lydia is at your house now i can’t think of any thing more now. rite and let me now how you get along every few days.

From your friend.
Frank Wakeman

Hunter by cot

page 4; page 1
page 2; page 3

Thoughts:  I really like this letter.  It is clear that George had many good friends including Mr. Frank Wakeman.  In it you can see Frank struggles to think of what to write but in the end it is very newsy  and familiar.  The writing style makes you think he was just talking to George over a quiet drink--discussing the days exploits. There was no shortage of death talk.  But it is sweet when Frank asks George if he can borrow George's hunting dog Trump but the request is rather moot.  This is not a real conversation, he can't wait for a reply and he is probably looking after the dog anyway.  It is post facto courtesy.  Later in the letter he seems to praise Trump for being the better dog on the hunt.  I'm sure the thought would have pleased George.

Frank also mentions photos of the children being taken.  I truly believe the photograph above is the one referred to for two reasons.  The first is I am 99.9% certain the boy on the right is Alvah Burns.  He has Alvah's signature dark eyes and sticky-out ears.  Secondly, the fact that there are only two boys in the picture would be true as well as the ages they are in it.  While there would eventually be four Burn's boys, Ella is still pregnant with the third in 1880.

There are two Frank Putnams of the same age in Stockton in the 1870 census.  However, reveals one of them, probably the poor boy above, dies in July 1880.  I am wondering if Mat Flagg who "is dead" is really Met Flagg or Emmet Flagg who is on the 1870 census but not the 1880.



  1. I just love these old family photos. There's a photo restoration forum at You can post the photo of the kids there if you want. They do a great job at restoring photos and it's free.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. Just found your comment. Excellent news--I will be checking it out1