Bicycles in the family

As I’m gearing up for my big Wadena, MN, family history trip next week, I’ll be scaling back on my blog posts. I won’t be writing posts of any substantial length until after I return home in a little over two weeks, but I’ll do what I can to post updates from the road.

Speaking of road, today’s post is a thematic one. As I’ve been scanning my family history photo collection, I’ve come across a number of photos of people with their bicycles. I’d like to share them with you. I’ll present them in chronological order, from oldest to most recent.

In the first photo, my great-grand uncle Oscar McMurry stands with his bike alongside his sister May Belle and his brother Frank Ross (my great-grandfather). This photo was taken in Olympia, Washington, around 1893. (Note: this was scanned from a color photocopy I made of the original nearly twenty years ago. The original belonged to Art McMurry, now passed away, and the photo has passed to one of his children.  I hope to one day have a chance to take high-res scans of this and the rest of what was an amazing collection of McMurry family history.)

The next two images are details from a photo of the Arlington Hotel in Menahga, Minnesota, probably taken around 1897–1907. In the first image, a man is seen holding his bike by its seat. The young boy on the other side of the bike is probably my great-grandfather, Clyde Askew.

In this next image, from the same photo, a woman is leaning against her bike in front of the hotel entrance.

The next photo is of my great-grandmother, Lucinda Tracey Bailey, alongside her bike in her years as a school teacher. This photo would have been taken around 1911 in Olympia, Washington, in front of her and her parents’ house.

The next photo shows my grandfather, Vernon Black, as a youngster posing with his bike. This would have been taken in Kansas around 1924. (Note: this scan and the one of Keith, further below, are old, low-resolution scans from the 1990s. I’ll rescan these as soon as I come across the originals.)

The next photo shows my grand uncle, Robert Prettyman, on a bicycle alongside my grandfather, William Prettyman, on his pony (that’s going to have to be a post of its own, if I can find a few more details). This photo was taken in Minnesota around 1929.

The next photo is of my father on his new bike, probably taken in southern California (Santa Barbara or Van Nuys) around 1950. (Note: this scan is an old, low-resolution scan from the 1990s. I’ll rescan it as soon as I come across the original.)

The next photo is of my mother, sitting sidesaddle on a bike with training wheels in Oakland, California, in about 1952.

The last photo is of me on my new Schwinn on Christmas day, 1971, when I was five and a half years old.  I’m riding (without training wheels, I’ll have you know) on the lawn of my paternal grandparents house in Van Nuys, California.

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. — Albert Einstein


2 thoughts on “Bicycles in the family

  1. I love seeing the photos. I’ve never seen the photo of my dad, Robert Austin (Bob) before. I have a really cool picture of what I think is the three brothers working on an airplane. There’s a story that Bob and Bill tried to push Arch in the plane off the roof. Arch did serve in the RAF I think in wwII. I’ll send it to you through Danny. I also have a photo of their house in Wadena.

    • Hi Dana,

      I’ve got lots more photos than I’ve posted on the blog so far. I’ll go through some of them this weekend to see what else I can find that you might be interested in. I visited Wadena for the first time ever last November and got to see the house (well, the outside at least) where they grew up. It’s huge! It was big to begin with, but they enlarged it even more fairly recently, just after the tornado came through I think. I’ll see if I can post some Prettyman house and family photos this weekend.


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