Mystery Great-Great-Grandmother

This photo of a young woman standing by a chair is believed to be my great-great-grandmother. The problem is that I don’t know whether it is through the Jameson line, or the Rigg line.

This photo of a young woman standing by a chair is believed to be my great-great-grandmother. The problem is that I don’t know whether it is through the Jameson line, or the Rigg line.

The photo was in the possession of my great-aunt, Ruth Dare Farley (who passed away a few years ago), and said it was her great-grandmother. The photo was badly deteriorated, and she attempted to improve things by painting the background a bit. I welcome input from others on dating the photo and/or identifying the subject.

Alice, or Nannie?

Candidate #1 – Alice Jane Jameson

Alice was born in 1856, married William Hite in 1875, and died in 1941. The first two photos are of Alice with husband William, the second two are with grandchildren in the 1930s.

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Candidate #2 – Nancy “Nannie” Montgomery Rigg

Nannie was born in 1847, married Thomas Willis Farley in 1866, and died in 1923. Here are existing photos of her. The individual portrait is undated. The photo with three daughters is likely in the 1910s . The family reunion photos are about 1920. The Awkward Family photo with 5 generations is about 1910.

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Rigg Water Pitcher

rigg-water-pitcherThis 19th century water pitcher is one of the more interesting of our family artifacts to survive to the 21st century. It appears to be made of clay; it weighs 10 pounds on the nose and is about 13 inches tall. It originates from the Rigg family in Kanawha Falls, and was also used by the Farley family. It came to my great-grandfather, Frederick Lee Farley (1879-1945) who passed it down to his son (Willis Hite Farley); it made its way to my father and is now in my care.

It seems extremely sturdy to be at least 130-150 (or more?) years old but we still treat it tenderly. It’s a wonderful example of the blend of art and craft, and I imagine it gave pleasure as an item to have for every day use. Continue reading “Rigg Water Pitcher”

Awkward Family Photo


Is this not the scariest picture of relatives you have ever seen? The mean woman who looks like she would eat you for lunch, the old woman whose hand is turned up in a secret “save me” signal. The man kidnapping the baby! And the mustachioed man calmly ignoring the madness around him. Continue reading “Awkward Family Photo”

Mystery Photo – House Ruined by Fire

unknown-houseThis photo was part of a packet of photographs of the Rigg and Farley family. I assume the house damage was caused by fire due to the dead trees in front, but there certainly could be other explanations. I do NOT believe that this is the Rigg/Farley Ferry House (post coming on that before long), as that house was right at the river’s edge and this appears to back up to a wooded area. Continue reading “Mystery Photo – House Ruined by Fire”

Martha Kate Rigg

Martha Kate Rigg (1831-1900) was sister to my 2nd great-grandmother Nancy “Nannie” Montgomery Rigg. This story about her was shared during a genealogy discussion recorded in the 1970s (exact date unknown). The participants included my grandfather (Willis Hite Farley) and grandmother (Audrey Hale Farley), and my great-aunt (Francis Folsom Farley, known as “Frankie” and “Aunt Aggie”) who was in her 80s at the time of the recording. Aunt Aggie recounts this story told by her mother about Martha:

Martha was the third child, and she was a tiny little dwarf.  And when she as born she was so little you could put her body in the palm of your hand and her head on your wrist. When she was old enough to go to school, they had to walk to Gauley Bridge to school and that was 2 miles. She was too little, too frail, to walk. And these two brothers, Steve and Henry, were older and carried her to her all winter on their backs to Gauley Bridge from their home.

Martha married in 1856 and had at least 9 children and lived to the age of 69.