This photo, from the collection of my grandmother, Nora (Eberhard) Ballenger, is one of those rare candid shots we all wish we had more of. When she looked through pictures with me many years ago, Nora identified the people in this photo as her parents, Mary (Comfort) Eberhard and John Llewellyn Eberhard. Mary is giving her husband a haircut outside on a bright, sunny day. It appears to be spring or summer.
In dating this picture, I had to ask myself, “Who would have been the photographer?” Most pictures I have of the family show them posed and wearing their best clothes. Here, Mary and Llewellyn seem unaware that their picture is even being taken. They are in their everyday attire for a day’s work on the farm. Since it’s highly unlikely that a roving photographer just popped by the farm one day to snap some pictures, the person who took this shot was probably one of their older children. I do have a few other similarly-sized candids from this time period, such as Harold Eberhard in a “sports car,” Harold with a milk wagon, and Harold holding his youngest sister. Harold, the second oldest of eighteen children, was born in 1896. He seems to have liked the camera. If he took this picture when he was in his mid-teens to early twenties, it dates the photo to about 1910-1920.
During this time period, the Eberhards lived on a farm near Galena in Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio. So by using a bit of deductive reasoning, I have a place and approximate date range for my photograph.
Isn’t it fun to get a glimpse of an unguarded moment in the everyday life of our ancestors?