Mystery Photograph Identified

He arrived in my inbox this week from a Haley cousin.  (Thanks, Joyce!)

But who is he? 

His photograph had hung in my Haley cousin’s home, but no one knew exactly who he was.

A Haley or an Elder? Will Haley or the father of John Bernard Elder?  These men seemed the most likely candidates. [Note: John Bernard Elder married Will Haley’s daughter Ruby.]

At first glance I was sure this was not a photograph of Will Haley.  There is just nothing that resembles the other photographs of Will Haley I already have.  Before I could post the photograph here on my blog or send it out to the “genealogy world” asking for help, an Elder cousin came to the rescue and identified the gentleman as John Wesley Elder of Campbell County, VA.  (Thanks, Jim!)

John Wesley Elder was born in 1852 and married Charlotte Anna Betterton.  Their son John Bernard Elder grew up to marry Ruby Haley, daughter of Will and Clara (Holt) Haley.


John Wesley Elder

John Wesley Elder
b. 26 Aug 1852 d. 1 Apr 1923

The photograph below came from the Elder cousin making the identification. (Thanks again, Jim!)   Though a different picture, this is the same man.  He has such distinctive eyes!  One of these may be a reversed image – notice his hair is parted on a different side in each photograph.  Also, there is a slight asymmetry in his eyes that appears to be reversed in the photograph below.


John Wesley Elder

How fun is this – cousins identifying their ancestor!  I just got to tell the story.

Cousins – Any more unidentified photographs out there? 



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