Monday, August 26, 2013

Mystery Monday: That photo of Joseph Hampton Whetstone in a fireman's uniform

That's him on the right.

There's this old photo Mom has in her file of her mother's father, Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858 - 1939). There he is in the photo in question, above. I have to confess, for quite a while (too long) I looked at the original of that image not realizing that it was backwards, and trying to figure out what was on their tunics! I swear! When I finally reversed the image it was abundantly obvious that the letters were FFD and stood for Frostburg Fire Department. It's funny how if you've always looked at a thing one way, it's hard to see it any other way... even if it's obviously so very wrong!

The original backwards photo.
Sure, like you would have known;)

Frostburg is the small town in the lovely mountains of Western Maryland, up in Allegany County, where most of my most recent generations of ancestors lived. Some lines in this geographic area go back to before the Revolutionary War. Mom still lives there, and Aunt Betty, too. It's a four-season place and embraced by the beauties of nature. Summer and fall are spectacular. It gets really cold in winter and the Fire Department is still called out on unfortunate nights to fight house and business fires. I remember growing up often hearing of someone having a house fire in winter. Everyone was sympathetic because it could happen to anyone.

There's a Facebook group called "You Know You're From Frostburg When..." and I joined not too long ago. I was pleased to see some people I know there and to read posts exploring the town and its history. It was quite interesting! Finally after just lurking, I posted the photo at the top and this text:

For anyone who is a fan of the Frostburg Fire Department and its history, here's an old photo from my Mom's collection, and Mom is Virginia Kelly. This is her grandfather on the right, Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858 - 1939.) The family home burned to the ground, am not sure of the year. Perhaps it was after that he joined the Department. Mom's mother was real little when that took place and she was born in 1897. Do not know who the other two gentlemen are as only Joseph H was identified on the back of the picture.

One of the group members actually posts FFD history frequently and he chimed in with even more info about the uniform (red) and the big number 1.

He commented:
We are VERY interested in this or ANYTHING else that is FFD related. We are in the home stretch of completing a "Day Room" at the new Price Station firehouse, which will include a lounge area as well as an area designated to display memorabilia to include old badges, parade caps, helmets, photos, Chief's trumpet, etc. Please keep us in mind if you come across anything.

I quickly asked him more about the uniform, and he replied:
Don't know much about what exactly was "issued" by the department back then, during the first 15-20 years.  I know prior to the turn-of-the-century, they did issue a full uniform to include pants. It's likely that back than they just did the shirt and belt?? The two standing do have matching belts.  Looking at the helmet shield, it's pretty tough to make out what is on them, however when I enlarge the photo, it looks like your GGF's shield on the bottom ends with a "F"?? That could be Chief? I went through our records real fast but I don't see a Whetstone listed as a Chief but there are a few years that we are missing data. No info for Fire Chief in both 1882 & 1885. There is a Peter Whetstone who was our President in 1882. Did your GGF have any relatives named Peter?

Why, yes he did! His brother was Peter Yeast Whetstone (1847 - 1918)!

I took this image into Photoshop and did a little repair on it just to take out scratches and dust and dirt. Then I sent it off for use in the Day Room. Can't wait until the new Price Station firehouse opens and we can all go see it! Mom will love that:)

Joseph Hampton and Catherine Elizabeth House Whetstone (1865 - 1947)
at home with some of their grandchildren.
Mom sports the large hair bow!
About 1920.

Mystery Monday is a blogging prompt from Geneabloggers. That's for this one, guys!

The URL for this post is:

No comments:

Post a Comment