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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Monday, January 8, 2018

52.2: Favorite Photo; William H. Holtzapple

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt this week is Favorite Photo. This one is tough for me; I am blessed to have a lot of family photos, and many are treasured. The ones I enjoy most are where people are smiling or having a good time. So many old photos are posed and stilted and so...serious!

My father has this photo in his possession. It is his great-grandfather, William Harrison Holtzapple.
William H. Holtzapple (1848-1926) with...a cone?
There are many things about William I notice, and I hope will be the subjects of future prompts. For one, the facial hair! It went through many iterations over the course of his life. What about the missing finger (only recently spotted by my keen-eyed daughter)--what happened to it?

But in this photo, it has to be the ice cream cone. Why does he have an ice cream cone? Did someone make him hold it, or did he refuse to give it up for the photo? Did he have a special affinity for ice cream?

What makes me love this even more? The existence of a second photo.

I contacted a cousin that I found through findagrave. He shared several pictures of the Holtzapples I had never seen before, including this one:
Oh yes, it's a cone. And I think he likes it.

There seems to have been a photo shoot that day. I don't know of photos of any other family members taken then, with the cone or chair. But I'm so glad these were!


  1. Love your post... and reading your discoveries on the photo. When I look at my older photos' now I tend to dissect them... looking at everything in the background. I like to play Nancy Drew with all my pictures. As this is your great grandfather, check out your oldest cousins around. Someone may have heard a story. And there is a story about the missing finger... and the ice cream cone. Classic! Keep it up. Be sure and print all your stories in a book at the end of the year. Congrats!

  2. Thank you! William was my great-great grandfather, and he died in 1926. I asked the cousin that had the photo, and he wasn't aware of the missing finger. I don't think there is anyone left old enough to know! And this sure has me looking in more detail at other photos, a la Nancy Drew!