There is an interesting provenance to this photograph of the Harrison and Hannah Riegle family of Specktown, Lykens Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. And, this is another story about how family memories were preserved (saved from the curbside trash pickup).
Some time a few years before my mother died in 2003, a cousin of hers and a descendant of one the children of Harrison and Hannah Riegle wrote to her indicating she had a box of family photos that she believed came through the family of a cousin of hers who was another descendant of Harrison and Hannah – their youngest son Norman Riegle, who was a funeral director in Robesonia, Berks County, Pennsylvania. The cousin who had the pictures had no idea how her grandmother had obtained them – although her grandmother was a sister of Norman Riegle, who died in 1942, and his wife Lydia [Helt] Riegle died before him the same year. The photo box somehow then passed to Bertha Riegle‘s family after Norman and Lydia died.
Many of the pictures in the box were of Lydia and some of Norman. There were snapshots of their children and professionally taken portraits of relatives and friends. Most of the pictures in the box were unidentified. Upon obtaining the photos, including several large-size prints, my mother consulted with me to determine who the people were. Just before my mother died, she gave me the box of photos to preserve along with other family history which I had been researching and collecting since the late 1960s.
One of the oldest photos in the box was about 9″ x 7″ in sepia tone. The three women in the center were the most easily identified from other family photos. Naming the others then became relatively easy. This was a photograph of the Harrison Riegle family taken around 1888. The identifications are provided below and are based on the number key in the cropped section of the photo.
Where was the picture taken? On the back of the photo, in pencil, there appeared to be the notation “Loyalton” but it would not made sense since they never lived in Loyalton. If this was a family photo taken in front of the family home in 1888, then it had to be taken in Specktown, Lykens Township, Dauphin County. A photograph was located of a similar house, once owned by the Rickert family (Hannah’s family) and later owned by the Gunderman family of Specktown – and some believed that this was the house depicted, but the windows in that house are of a different size. However, those same persons incorrectly dated the photo as 1891 and failed to identify Bertha Riegle (#8 below). Questions still remain about the identity of Edward Riegle (is he #1 or #2 below) – and whether the other boy of about the same age is a member of the family or a neighbor.
In any event, the photograph is now preserved as a family treasure. Harrison and Hannah Riegle were my great-great grandparents, and I am a descendant of their daughter Lizzie.
#1 and #2 – One of these boys is Edward Riegle, who was about 14 years old in 1888, born 4 April 1874. The other is unknown and most likely not one of the sons of Harrison and Hannah. He could be a nephew or a neighbor.
#3 – The youngest child was Norman Riegle, born 4 October 1886, shown here about 1 to 2 years old.
#4 – Mabel Eliza Riegle was the youngest girl, born 23 October 1883. In this picture she is about 4 or 5 years old.
#5 – Charles Gerome Riegle was born on 10 October 1876. He’s about 12 years old in this picture.
#6 – Elizabeth Catherine “Lizzie” Riegle was born 30 June 1872, about 16 years old.
#7 – Hannah Louisa [Rickert] Riegle, the mother of the family, was born 2 June 1847, about 41 years old.
#8 – Bertha Della Riegle, was born 7 November 1879, about 9 years old.
#9 – Rebecca “Becky” Rickert, born 1 October 1837, sister of Hannah, about 51 years old.
#10 – Chauncey A. Riegle, born 1 August 1870, about 18 years old.
#11 – Harrison Riegle, born 15 November 1840, about 48 years old.
Comments and suggestions are welcome. I’m fairly certain that the photo dates from around 1888, but I’m still trying to get confirmation on where the house was located and if it is still standing.