Unsolved Mysteries

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Melitta Brandow was born in Cohocton in 1877. She first married a man named Thomas Evans and was said to be in Detroit, MI at the time of her father's death in 1930 in Cohocton, NY.  He was Charles Brandow, my gg grandma's brother.  As of a few month's ago, I have been told by a cousin in Avoca, the following story found in a newspaper item from long ago in Michigan.
  Melitta was at some point in the 1930's either married or living with a man named JOHN CONLEY. He was associated with the gang of Al Capone who robbed a bank near Detroit, MI of $64,000.  John Conley served time in Alcatraz Prison for this crime.  Melitta is said to have made the plans for the robbery by several accomplices with John Conley.  The gang at times hid out at her father's farm in Cohocton.  When the money was found in a drain pipe in the cellar of the home it was in very bad shape and worthless.  Melitta died in Michigan but I don't know where. There is on-line a page from the paper where the notice of the Robbery of the Bank was placed.  So, now I know the answer to the Detective magazine I remember reading at the age of 11  or so that my grandmother had.  I also have some photos of Melitta in her senior years.  Annette Campbell email: anncamp@linkny.com

Can you help identify anyone in this photo?
Mehlenbacher reunion w/ notes; back of photo says "Mehlenbacher reunion Loon Lake August 1901" I have been able to identify some of my "kin", but haven't had any luck w/ the others.. Every one in the photo is either Mehlenbacher by last name or has Mehlenbacher blood in them. Hopefully some one will recognize some of the others.

Click to Enlarge

If you can identify onyone in the reunion photo please contact David Young

 I was sent these 2 little photos to identify. I can't do it. The smaller one says Mary E. and something about Brandow.  These are from a Brandow cousin of mine. I too would love to know what Brandow this little girl belonged to and the name of the other girl in the larger photo taken by a photographer in Bath, NY.  These were in my cousin's mother's collection of family photos.  My Brandows lived in Bath and surrounding towns way back in time and more recently in Avoca with the children of John Brandow who lived until he died on the Neils Creek Road.  I was named after Marbra Annette Brandow, my gg grandma who married John D. Ferris and lived in Town of Wheeler and are buried in Mitchellsville Cemetery. Annette Campbell anncamp(*)linkny.com


Crosby-Quimby Photo ID Project
Mary (Evens) Crosby, 70th Birthday: 30 Sept 1898

The accompanying photo  (PDF) is one of several that are part of the Crosby-Quimby photo project. 

Several descendants are pooling resources to identify individuals in images of reunions spanning the years from this 1898 photo to the 1950?s.

If you have additions or corrections please let me know! (Input from any knowledgeable source is being sought)

I would be glad to exchange extended information with others researching these families.

Doug Crosby
 dhcrosby (*) verizon.net

Who are the people in the tintypes and charcoal drawing?  Who are the people in the old photo of the house?

These photos and charcoal drawing were found in the walls of the first house south of the state line in Eldred Twp., McKean, PA in what used to be called Bullis Mills, south of Mill Grove, NY.  The tintypes are 01790013 and 01790011.  The charcoal drawing is 0179006.  This house was built by pioneer John Morris in the Greek Revival architecture of the 1830's.  It was owned by the Morris descendants until the early 1900's.

If you have an y informatio please conntact
Richard H. Goms Jr.:

Click to see Larger Photos
This is the way it looked many years ago.  The people are unknown.
This is the way it looks today.

Frederick Hartshorn Wright

Looking for birth family of a Frederick Hartshorn Wright.  He was born 1851 and the story goes he was dropped at an inn in either Almond or Alfred by a young woman who came into town on a stage and who said she needed to run an errand.  She never returned.  The Wright family adopted him and named him as such. He was raised by James and Dorcas Wright in W. Clarksville and married Rose Wright from Almond.  They lived in Clarksville and later Almond. He was an oil driller. He died in his home on Angelica St. in Almond, NY in 1925.  There is no Hartshorn surname found any where in the family for him to have been named after.  Who could he be?   He is my husband's great grandfather and we keep trying to learn his birth family to 

Contact Florence Wright  fbwri@aol.com   if you have any information

     Steve Hollands writes:

"I'm enclosing this picture to be included in the Unsolved Mysteries section of the website. 

Since I found this in a group of family photos, chances are they are two female ancestors and I would like to learn who they are. 

If anyone has any information they can contact me by email or by snail mail."

or Send steve a letter at:

Click on each image to enlarge



Who are these Andrus relatives? 
Flag shows it's after 1912 with 48 stars.
Someone in Savona, Steuben Co., NY sold it in a yard sale a few years ago. So it's between 1912 and 1959 when we got the 49 star flag.

20 Oct 2007 - Here is an update of what I now know of the many people in the Andrus Reunion photo in Unsolved Mysteries.

Center couple in first row of adults are Isaac V. Wheaton  and his wifeCatherine Lucinda Ferris and gent to Catherine's right is their son Ray
Wheaton.Couple on right end of that same row is possibly Aleda May Wheaton and herhusband Wm. Charles Varnes and their daughter Wilma Varnes
b.Feb 1916, if this is correct it would date this photo to July 4, 1916 as Wilma would have been about 5-6 months old as this baby seems to be.

 Annette Campbell      email: anncamp@linkny.com

Sarah McClellan This is a photo identified as Sarah McClellan
Her husband's name was Joseph McClellan. 
Can anyone confirm this identification and could they share any information about her? 
    Many thanks,                 Lucy Hastings        LucyGH at patmedia.net

This is a photo that my Mom--Jane Weaver Jones had. Written on the dress of the second woman in is "Mother" in my Mom's handwriting. So, I am quite sure that this is my grandmother Waive Culbertson Weaver, behind her in the white shirt is my grandfather Herbert Reed Weaver and beside him, the man standing under the flag looks like his brother, our gr uncle Erastus C Weaver  with his wife Neva Babcock Weaver seated in front of him. The three children by my grandparents are probably my Aunt Inez--born in 1902, Aunt Alda, the baby on Waives lap being our Aunt Addie. The others in the photo, I have no idea who any of them are. Am hoping someone may recognize someone in the photo.  If you do, please let me know. It could have been taken in either Findley Lake, NY or Kane,PA. Or even Nebraska, PA, which is where my Mom was born. 

Denise Bright      goudab@westpa.net

Adolph Tumser is second from the left. Is this taken in the Olean area? I am guessing at the sender's surname and the town but the postcard was mailed in August 1908. The front of the photo postcard says "How is things in Pa. How is Alick [Alex] and the rest of the boys. Give my regards to them all. For old memories sake.  John B. Capewell ???  South Westville ??? 

Ann Tumser 

Email:  Atumser@socal.rr.com 


This photo could have been taken in Olean, NY or Port Allegany, PA. The man who is second from right is Adolph Tumser, my husband's great uncle, who lived in Olean until about 1902 when he moved to Port Allegany. He was a cigar salesman or a cigarmaker in all census. Where is Lang's Cigar store? Does anyone recognize the other men in this interesting photograph? 

PHGS member - Ann Tumser Email: Atumser@socal.rr.com



We are looking for information about my great Grandfather, Elbert Edwin Moody, who grew up in Cattaraugus County. This picture of Native Americans were among my mothers keepsakes and we hope someone night know something about the group in the picture. My Mother and I are quite curious, and therefore, any information you can provide would be a great treasure to us. 

Phyllis Sommer Email: PanseyFace13@aol.com  or  antrenee@aol.com

I would like to find out dates in which certain photo studios were in business. What were the beginning and/or ending years that the following were in business: 
J.W. Taylor Studio, Randolph, NY 
Stillman's Studio, Ground Floor, Junction E.2nd & 3rd St.,  Jamestown, NY 
Dow Jr. Studio on Jamestown Street, Randolph, NY 
A. B. Wells Studio, East Randolph, NY 
Taylor Studio, Randolph (probably same as above, only earlier photo) 
Julia O. Charles Studio, Salamanca, NY 
Blessings Studio, Salamanca, NY 
Winsor & Whipple Studio, Olean, NY 
Lovell Studio, Randolph, NY
Are there any old city directories that might give this information? Any help would be appreciated. 
Peggy Strickland Emial: peggyann@thegrid.net

Does anyone know the members of this family?
It appears to be the Mosher family who moved from the Potter Co. area to Hamilton, Mo. Nancy Jones married Wilson Mosher and they had several daughters and sons, but identification is difficult. 

From another picture, I have been able to identify the woman in the upper right as Em Mosher.  The others may be her sisters and her mother but I have no clues to go on.

If there is anyone out there with knowledge of this family, I would certain appreciate any assistance I can obtain. 

Thanks. Patricia J. Popple    ppopple@execpc.com 

Click To Enlarge
Ruthven Helen Stewart born July 28, 1894    died Dec.20, 1930
Ruthven was born in Randolph, NY to Reuben H. & Grace E. Moore Stewart. she was deaf, from birth as far as I know. 
She died in 1930 when her clothes caught fire while cooking. William Ford Moore ( no dates) m. Marie Isabel Spicer ( no dates), they had a dau. Josephine Ford Moore, b. 2/23/1894. Josephine born E. Randolph N.Y., Josephine died 1989 Texas.  <>Grace E. Moore Stewart, b. 1861, m. Reuben H. Stewart ( no dates), one or both may have been born in Jamestown N.Y. I believe Grace died in Ohio but don't know what happened to Reuben , (if that is even correct spelling). Their dau. was Ruthven the baby in this picture. 

Haven't yet figured out if Grace and Josephine were sisters or what. If they were sisters there would have been 33 years between them, is that possible? I have death certs for Ruthven and Josephine but haven't been able to find one for Grace yet. 

The only ones who might be buried around there would be William and Marie Moore, and any other children or family.  Or maybe Rueben Stewart. If I could find dates for William that might help determine relationship between Josephine and Grace, my great grandmother. 

Does anyone have any information on these. Please write to me.   Kathie Dunham   Email: Kathie@suite224.net

Do you recognize these people?
This is a picture that Ann has and she would like to know who these people are and where the picture is taken. 
She thinks it may be taken in or around Olean. If any of you recognize these people or the place where it is taken she would very much like to hear from you.  Ann Tumser 
Email: Atumser@socal.rr.com 


Melitta "Lit" Brandow born ca 1875 in probably Cohocton, Steuben Co, NY was written about in 2 detective magazines that were in my home when I was growing up. I am now 57 and can't remember what she did, but am trying to find someone who knows. I read these magazines when I was about 12 years old and then grandma put them away. When my dad died they were no where to be found, he must have thrown them away when grandma died in 1974. Melitta was the daughter of Charles S. Brandow, a 1st cousin the to my Great grandma Clista Ferris. Does anyone know what "gang" as the family has stated she ran around with. In 1930 she was living with her husband Thomas EVANS in Detroit MI. Thanks for any info you may have. 

Annette Campbell  Email: anncamp@linkny.com

Oliver Campbell was born in 1837 and lived in Hartsville, Steuben Co, NY. The family lore is that he was the son of Sally Williams and a Campbell man. These parents were murdered by Indians and the children, at least Oliver was taken in by a Campbell family and took their name. Does anyone know any more to this story. They may have been from any of the surrounding counties, I just don't have any idea.

Annette Campbell  Email: anncamp@linkny.com

    Roblee...My GGGGrandparents, Orlando ROBLEE (b: Granville, WashingtonCo., NY, Oct 21, 1829, d: Freedom, Catt. Co., NY Oct 9, 1917) and Agnes(CRANDALL)ROBLEE (b: Jan 9, 1835, d: Freedom, NY Dec 17, 1892) are buried in a cemetery (name unknown) on Maple Grove Road (near Blue Road) in Freedom,Cattaraugus, Co., NY (Not Siloam Cemetery). Orlando's Mother, Laura, also is buried there under the name, "Laura MCKNIGHT" (b: Jan 9, 1805 d: Nov 21,1880) Orlando's father was Calvin ROBLEE, b: ? d: Feb 2, 1835, Ft.Ann, Washington Co., NY. That's all we know about him, other than the fact that he died young, and had three sons: Orlando, Wesley and Charles.

A sliver of information from Washington Co. lists this family as: Calvin Roblee, deceased Laura EVERTS MCKNIGHT and sons: Orlando, Wesley and Charles. Laura MCKNIGHT's grave, on Maple Grove Road, lies next to the graves of E. EVERTS (1776 - Jun 13, 1863), G. EVERTS (1820 - Sep 14, 1892),and Sally E.(Wife of G., b: 1820, d: Nov 13, 1890). Based upon these limited facts, I presume Laura's maiden name was EVERTS, and that soon after Calvin ROBLEE's death she married someone named MCKNIGHT, and that she moved from Washington County to Cattaraugus County to be with (or along with) both the ROBLEE and EVERTS family members who resided there.

My Questions:
1. Does anyone have information about Calvin ROBLEE's lineage?
2. Does anyone have information about the EVERTS family inWNY?
3. Who is Mr. MCKNIGHT?
4. Does anyone know where WESLEY and CHARLES ROBLEE ended up?(rumor suggests they lived near Sardinia, Erie Co., NY).

Thanks.Phil Roblee  mail:roblee.1@osu.edu

George Rice was born 11 Mar 1779 in Glastonbury, CT, son of Eliphalet & Mary Nichols Rice. The family moved to Cortland County, N.Y. about 1796. He and brothers Allen, Luman, Justus, & Grove moved to the Olean/Portville/Eldred/Coryville areas in 1818. He was married to an Anna or Anne who was born in CT. about 1785. George died 17 Apr. 1835 at Kitanning, McKean County, PA. The 1820 Ceres Twp census shows: 1 male and 1 female under 10; 1 male and 1 female 10-16; 1 male 16-18;1 male and 1 female 26-45. Who are their children? Where are George & Anna buried? According to the 1850 census Anna/Anne was living with William Rice (1804-81). This sort of implies that he may have been a son and the male 16-18 year old listed in the 1820 census. An elderly family member faintly remembers a story of a Rice being murdered while returning from Pittsburg with money from timber sales. Was it George? Help me solve this mystery!PHGS member Richard Rice  Email: heydad1@bellsouth.net

transcribed by Ron Taylor-May 2002 

In 1979 a friend of mine noticed some old books being placed at the curb for the landfill and salvaged a few for safekeeping.I was fortunate enough to have one of those books given to me and have only recently realized the value.....intrinsic as it may be.....to people who love history and geneology. I personally was happy to prove a date of my gggrandfather, Benj. Quick's, first appearance in the Town of Alma. Since many of the Town records were lost by fire, perhaps this will be of value to someone else. 

This Blacksmith(or farrier) is unknown, but, he should be cherished for the record he kept & for the entries in beautiful hand-cursive. Many of the names in the book are better identified in the 1806-1879 Beers, "History of Allegany County, N.Y.. However, for those not previously in print, perhaps this will give someone a chance to connect with time. No addresses are provided in the book other than "Alma" with quite accurate dating. Keep in mind, this transcription is from fancy cursive & I can make error in translation. The "Smithy's" spelling is shown & is subject to his knowledge. 

The entries throughout the book are brief descriptions of work done for individuals in the Town of Alma. Some of the descriptions are interesting because of the type of work he did. "Fit shoe; 1 found", "Make Irons ", "Mend Hook", & "Put on Shovel Handle" are a few, but, most of his work was for the lumber mills and logging companies dotted throughout the Town of Alma. My gggrandfather was charged 38cents to "do 1 new shoe" which must have included the shoe for 25 cents & fit for 13 cents. Many individual entries state "fit shoe" 13 cents. A large single charge was to my GGGrandfather for $3.00, "Shoeing Oxen, New". (August 20, 1858) 

I would like to know who this Blacksmith was. I will share info with anyone if requested. 
My contact email: rgtaylor02@roadrunner.com
My mail address: Ron Taylor, 200 Rauber St, Wellsville, NY 14895 

List of Names, Inside Cover


H. R. Stevens & Co Gilbert Chaple A. Trask
John A. Foland D. C. Judd H. Mix
J. S. Thomas D. Bidwell R. Scott
John Burt & Son George Smith R. Daniels
Shed Hubbell J. W. Burt
T. Daggett & Co. A. Hurlburt
Many pages were taken up by H. R. Stevens & Co; The 1st entry in the book starts August 1, 1856. The last date is Jan 10, 1859. It appears they were his largest account and the balance due was sizeable for the time at $172.56 - March of 1857. On June 1st, 1858 the "Smithy" converted his entries from quill pen to pencil. The entries are much easier to read from that date forward.
Other names:

Ackerman & Shoff Graves, Jerry Newton, Elder
Ackerman, James Graves, William Oliver, William S.
Adams, Bradford Griffins, Philip Pike, Mark
Benson, Alex Griffith, Elias Ploff, G. E.
Benson, Alexander Halbert, John Quick, Benj. H.
Bidwell, David Halbert, Sylvester J. (or I.) Rowel, John C.
Blakeley, A. Hall, George Scott,  Ruphus
Bradford, S. Harding, Rufus Shaw, Daniel
Bunt, J.N. Harmon, A. Sherwood, Ephram
Burrows, Arvis Hubbell, John Shoff, Henry, Jr.
Burt, John W. Hubbell, Shednick Smith, S. A.
Canfield, Rev. E. Hurlburt, Azor Snow, A. L.
Cannon, Abe. Jackson, A.S. Stebbins, S.B.
Chace, E. Jones, Wm. Strickland, Martin
Chandler, Henry Karns, Patrick Thomas, James S.
Chapel, Stephen Kenyon, John Thompson, G.W.
Cole, Benj. Lane, William Thompson, J.
Daggett, T. Lockwood, John Vaughn, D.
Danels, Russle (?) Maywood, Nathanel Welch, M.
Daniels & Scott McDermot, Pat West, Samuel
Dyke, George McDonald, J.R. Western & Belnap
Elliott, L.B. McDonald, John R. White, Samuel B.
Elster, C.C. Mitchel, Henry Wilson, Griff
Fay, C.C. Mix, Henry Wood, Louis
Golf, E. Moran, Will
Graves & Answorth Mulkins, Lon


In my search for a photograph of my husband's g-g-g-grandmother, I recently found descendants of her second husband who inherited all of the pictures that they had in their 
possession at the time of their deaths in 1889.  The two of them, along with children that belonged to each of them, moved to Iowa from the Red House area in 1863 and through the following years were sent pictures of their relatives back in the Cattaraugus and Chautauqua county area. I'm currently trying to identify the people in these photos. 

Most of them were taken in either E. Randolph, Salamanca, Jamestown, and one from Olean and one from NY City.   Most of these people are probably related to the Strickland, Briggs, Langham, or Johnson families.


Peggy Strickland 
Email: peggyannstr@gmail.com


Photos found in a Virginia antique shop by Linda Lovering

Hannah Downs George Downs Ed Jones Edd Downs


<>Ruth Rowena Bradley &Olive Lewis Unknown Mildred Jones L. A. Downs
L.A. Downs; Beardsley Bros., 73 Owego St., Ithaca, NY, Gallery of Art 
Edd Downs, Ruth Rowena Bradley & Olive Lewis, Ed Jones; All Maxwells Photo Studio, 7 Seneca St., Hornellsville NY 
Unknown, Hannah Downs, George Downs; W.C. Bell Photographers, York PA, 21-23 Broad St., Hornellsville, NY 

Lady 1 Lady 2 Lady 3 Baby Young Girl

Man 1 Man 2 Man 3 EvertLewis 1 Evert Lewis 2
Man 1 and Man 2 & Lady 1 & Baby: W.C. Bell Photography, York PA, 21-23 Broad St., Hornellsville, NY 
Young Girl; A.H. Fernham Photographer, Oxford, NY

Evert Lewis 1 & 2 Both pictures in same frame; A.H. Fernham Photographer, Oxford, NY

Man 3 Lady 2 & Lady 3; Myers & Sutton Galleries, 153 Main St., Hornellsville, NY

I found this in the pile of photos handed down through my father's family. It was a torn off half of a stereograph. The caption on the back reads: 
Grandma Watson's home Little Valley, NY taken 1890 

Grandma Watson was born Mary Wareham (7 Jan 1844 -18 Aug 1909) and married James Harvey Watson (8 Jun 1841 â€? 25 Jul 1907). 
They lived in Little Valley from around 1880 until they died. 

I'm obviously curious if the house which I assume is the one in the foreground still stands. And what would be its location on a current map. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Bill Helene    billhelene@live.com 

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