Finding Home: The Story Behind a Photo

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-Kent Botkin

Being in the auction business is something akin to a detective. You pick up an object, turn it over and over in your hands. The clues are there, you just have to invest the time to interpret them correctly.

Recently I worked on sorting items that had arrived from a consignor who was cleaning out her parents’ attic; the parents had attended numerous on site auctions years ago.  Among the items purchased decades ago was a small box of 100+ year old photographs.

Most of the photos had no identification; however, two were marked Zella and Orland Warner and another item was marked Sewell Jackson Warner. The three Warners were siblings, born in Pendleton County, West Virginia between 1897 and 1903.  I had recently published an article on the general store at Headwaters, Virginia, which Sewell Jackson Warner was one of the numerous owners, having operated the store in the 1920’s & 1930’s.

Sewell Warner had a son, Sewell, Jr., known as “”Jack.”  I knew that Jack had a daughter, Jennifer.  I contacted Jennifer via social media; she was thrilled to learn of the existence of the photographs belonging to her grandfather and great aunts Zella and Orland, as she had no items from that branch  of her family. Jennifer won the bid for the  Warner family items at Green Valley Auctions and now the antique photographs are back in the family.

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