Mystery Photo #52: The homely mugs of Ella and Dave

This postcard photo of a couple perhaps from or visiting Duluth appears to have never been mailed, though it is addressed to Mrs. F. Welch of Eau Galle, Wis. On the back of the card, in the upper left corner, are presumably the names of the photo subjects, Ella and Dave. Their last name is faded out, but clearly the final three letters are s-o-n.

There are three sets of notes penciled on the card. They read:

“I send you this homely mug of ours. Don’t show anybody. Don’t we look fine?”

“These are the ones you were scolding about.”

“Merry Xmas (confusing word here) to all.”

It’s not clear whether the photo was shot at the Penny Arcade in Duluth or the Post Card Shop in Minneapolis.

Those are the murky facts available. Is this a Duluth photo? When was it shot? What’s the deal with this homely couple? Those are just some of the mysteries to solve.



about 7 years ago

Playing around with some filters, I think I've determined the last name to be "Larson." There's only one or two of them in the area. Should be a cinch.

Doug Sturm

about 6 years ago

The confusing word after Merry Christmas appears to start with a poorly formed upper case S.  I believe it says “Sis.”

Mike Creger

about 4 years ago

This is Ella and David Gibson. Mrs. F. Welch is Bessie Welch, Ella's sister, who married Fred as Bessie Goodson of Duluth. Fred and Bessie farmed in Eau Claire, then Eau Galle area. Fred's obit says he was born in 1870. 

Ella Hefferman married David Gibson on Sept. 25, 1911 at her sister's home in Eau Claire. The pair made their home at 19th Avenue West and Second Street, later 622 23rd Ave. W.

This is all from Wisconsin and Duluth newspaper records. The strange thing is the maiden names, of course. They were sisters with different last names. But it sounds like Bessie was a few decades older that Ella, so it makes some widowed sense.

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