Parts One and Two of the Fennell trove are both loaded with terrific images. Many folks have taken the time to express their appreciation for having been able to view them. I, too, am grateful to Nancy Fennell Hawkins for having had the opportunity to present them.
But we’re not done yet. When I wrote the title and included the word “extraordinary” I was thinking of a couple of images that the reader will see in this post. These images are very rare. They truly are treasures. It is immensely rewarding to discover images like these. Rediscover in this case.
The images about which I speak are in my first Maplewood history book. They were volunteered by Katie Wolf Schuch and Evelyn Wolf Callaway. These ladies were neighbors of Nancy Fennell Hawkins. Correction: Evelyn is no longer with us but Katie is going strong I am happy to report. Nancy says, “She is the only daughter of my Aunt Jane and Uncle Jule; Jane was the oldest of the Fennell children.”
I was delighted when the images showed up again in this collection. You’ll see what I mean. Have a look.
Floyd Alonzo Fennell, grandfather of our benefactor, Nancy Fennell Hawkins in 1918. Nancy has his WWI draft registration dated Sept. 12 of that year.
Floyd with an unidentified gentleman. Unless the chevrons meant something different then, I’d say Floyd was a sergeant and his friend, a corporal.
Floyd and Kate Fennell’s home once located on the NE corner of Rannells Ave. and Laclede Station Road. Apartment buildings are on that location today.
There’s nothing written on the back of this one. This is Kate and their children in front of the home. The children’s names were Jane, Floyd (Bud), Robert W., Kate and Evelyn. I have no idea who is who.
Here is a good view of the home and family.
I believe this is the same home only now the dormer with the two windows has been made much wider.
Now here we go. This image and the next ones are priceless. On the left is Floyd Alonzo Fennell. On the right is Julian “Juke” Carpenter. Apparently they were partners in a landscaping business. According to Nancy this was in their stable yard at the SE corner of Rannells and Laclede Station Road.
You don’t need to know anything about horses to see that these are two very beautiful animals.
It is great to have this image of their sign as well.
The return address on a blank envelope in Nancy’s collection. It’s hard to say what year this envelope is from. Since it doesn’t show Floyd Fennell as a partner, it might date from either prior to their partnership or possibly from after Floyd’s untimely death in 1923 in a motorcycle accident. A third possibility, as the following images will show, is that they split up at some point.
This is the first of the extraordinary images I advertised. Floyd Alonzo Fennell, his family and employees with the Fennell home in the background. African-Americans who contributed much to the construction of our country in nearly every way imaginable are sorely underrepresented in period photographs. That’s what makes these so important. As I mentioned I included this and the next image (following three closeups) in my first Maplewood history book. They came from a different source. From these I can put single names to the men. They were Speck, Jock and Bishop. According to Nancy in her book, I Remember When, Floyd said they were nice guys.
Here is the first of three closeups. I’d like to give these folks their due. Looks like Floyd’s son is becoming a teamster.
Notice that Juke Carpenter’s name is not on the wagons.
The genealogy of African-American families is thriving. I hope that I’ll be able discover more about these gentlemen using their names, Speck, Jock and Bishop, as a starting point.
This is the second of the most extraordinary images in a nice collection of them. Can’t thank you enough, Nancy. Three closeups follow.
I have deliberately loaded larger resolution images than usual so hopefully you’ll be able to see a lot of this incredible detail. Without these images we would drive by the apartments at Rannells and Laclede Station Road and never know what went on right there not really all that long ago.
F.A. Fennell Landscaping Company, Maplewood Mo. Gone but now remembered.
In addition to running his landscaping business, Floyd worked as a deputy sheriff for St. Louis County.
Floyd’s badge, carefully preserved by his granddaughter.
A quick look at the old reliable 1909 Plat Book of St. Louis County shows nothing on the NE or the SE corners of Laclede Station Road and Rannells Ave. From the photographs in Nancy’s collection, I’d have to speculate that the Fennell home was built a short time later. The fifth image in Part One shows the family in front of the home. Nancy dates that image at 1912 or 13. Her father was born in 1909. With that bit of information we can probably get an idea, within a year or two, of the dates of the photos in which he appears.
Detail of the Fennell home showing the decorative curved boards attached to the porch posts.
Being a car guy myself, I totally understand why Floyd switched early from horse drawn vehicles to the horseless ones.
In the many years I have been taking a look at the history of our community, I have been fortunate to have been given access to many of our most important families most important historic images, documents and artifacts. I have seen treasures from the Rannells, the Suttons, the Bloods, the Winds, the McGregors, the Thomases, now the Fennells and many more.
It is endlessly fascinating to me and especially rewarding to be able to share these discoveries via this blog, my first book and soon my second (If I can find a printer). The days are shorter and colder so I should be able to resist the attraction of the outdoors for awhile. Who know what might turn up?
I will have one more post from Nancy Fennell Hawkins’ wonderful collection. Then I’m going to revisit the Thomas family collection and should have another post or two out of that.
Take care. Stay warm.
Doug Houser November 7, 2019