Ethel Wight Collection – Part 114

Photo Friday –Peacock, Peckham, & Pelletier.

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week, for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes typically contain the name of the person who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Beatrice Peacock, Nurse, circa 1935.

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Beatrice Peacock, ME Eye & Ear Infirmary #870.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

Photo of Beatrice Peacock, Nurse, circa 1935.
Nurse Beatrice Peacock,
circa 1935.
  • 1934, ‘35, or ‘36 Portland City Directories do not list a Beatrice Peacock.
  • The 1935 Augusta City Directory lists Beatrice Peacock, a nurse, residing with W C Peacock. Walter C (Louise) Peacock is a shoemaker in Gardiner, whose home is on Closson, c[orner] B.

I am comfortable that this photo is of Beatrice Louise/Lavonnie Peacock, born 7 Mar 1915 in Gardiner, the daughter of Charles Walter & Louise Elinor (Edwards) Peacock.

Ancestry has 11 public trees that refer to Beatrice Lavonnie Peacock. Family Search has profile GJCX-LCK for Beatrice Louise Peacock. I have uploaded this photo of Beatrice to her Family Search Memories.

Mr. & Mrs. Peckham & Family.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. & Mrs. Peckham & Family – Oct 1944.”

I don’t know if the photo was from October 1944 or if the reprints were ordered in October 1944. The negative set shows four people:

Photo of the Peckham Family.
The Peckham Family
  • A man about 60
  • A woman in her 50s
  • A woman of about 20
  • A boy of about 10

I assume the photo was taken sometime before October 1944, but probably after the 1940 Census. Without a first name for any of the people in these photos, it is difficult to identify who they are. I did some research and found the following:

  • A review of the 1940 US Census indicates a Peckam family is living in Portland. Earl and Vena Peckam, with a 16-year-old son, Robert, and a 13-year-old son, Paul. This profile doesn’t fit the photographed family.
  • A further review of Peckham families throughout Maine in the 1940 Census failed to find any Peckham families with the correct family make-up.

Although I am sure this photo is of the Peckham family, I failed to identify who is in the photo. I have one image here, and I uploaded three more pictures of the Peckham family to my Flickr Photostream.

Vital “Duke” Pelletier, circa 1936.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. Duke Pellletier, 457 Congress St #1089.”

Photo of Vital "Duke" Pellletier, circa 1936.
Vital “Duke” Pellletier, circa 1936.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • A quick search of Ancestry yielded a Vital “Duke” Pelletier, born 20 Mar 1910 in Saint Agatha, Aroostook County, to Fortunat Alfred and Jeanne Mary (Chasse) Pelletier.
  • The 1940 Census places Vital in Portland in both 1940 and 1935. The 1935 Portland City Directory shows Vital F Pelletier living at 10a Brown, a lodging house run by Mrs. Harriet Partridge.
  • Several Ancestry Trees include a photo of Vital J Pelletier (1910-2002), which is clearly the same person as is in this photo.

This photo is undoubtedly Vital from 1936 when he was about 26 years old.

Ancestry has 31 public trees that refer to Vital J Pelletier, the son of Fortunat Alfred and Jeanne Mary (Chassé) Pelletier. Family Search has profile GMTS-K4V for Vital Pelletier. I have uploaded a photo of Vital to his Family Search Memories. I also uploaded two more photos of “Duke” to my Flickr Photostream.

Vital “Duke” Pelletier & unknown woman, circa 1934.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. Duke Pelletier, Preble St, Apt 30A #347.”

Based upon the photo package ID (#347), this photo was taken about 1934. It appears to be the same man—Vital “Duke” Pelletier—as in package ID #1089 a couple of years later. However, who is the woman?

Viewing several Ancestry family trees and Family Search, it doesn’t appear Duke married. So, the identity of the female is not clear. It could be a sister (Mattie), an unknown cousin, or a girlfriend. I suspect she will remain unnamed unless a family member can identify this girl.

Martha/Mattie Pelletier (later Langelier), circa 1934.

This negative envelope says, “Miss Mattie Pelletier, Preble ST – Apt 31 #346 – DSCN4554P.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates that the only complex on Preble Street that would have an apartment 31 was The Wadsworth Apts at 30A Preble Street. The directory lists no one living in apartment 31. In 1934, Murray Hackenberg rented the apartment.
  • The 1930 Census lists four individuals named Mattie Peletier in Maine.
    • The 46-year-old wife of Raymond Pelletier in Fort Kent, Aroostook County.
    • The 47-year-old wife of Theophile Pelletier in St. Francis, Aroostook County.
    • The 48-year-old wife of Ed Pelletier in Portage Lake, Aroostook County.
    • The 16-year-old daughter of Marie Pelletier in Lewiston. They lived on Ash Street, and Mattie worked in a cotton mill. It also indicates that she and her parents were born in Maine. In the family are sisters Annie, Puleime, and Ida.
  • The 1920 Census found the Telesphore & Marie Pelletier family living on Cleveland Road, St. Agatha, Aroostook County. Mattie is listed as Martha and has sisters, Annie, Feliene, and Ida.

This photo was taken the same day as the above 1934 photo of “Duke” Pelletier. Additionally, Duke had a sister, Martha/Mattie. Ancestry Family Trees suggest two Martha/Mattie Pelletiers, born in 1913 in St. Agatha. Duke and Martha are listed at the same address in 1934, albeit in different apartments. As such, I suspect they are related, but I’m not convinced which Mattie/Marthe/Martha this is for certain.

I suspect this photo is of Marthe/Martha Delina Pelletier, born 7 December 1914 in St Agatha, Aroostook County, the daughter Telesphore and Marie (Bois) Pelletier. Marthe married Raoul Langelier on 4 August 1934, and this photo was likely taken just before the wedding. However, I am not convinced. There appear to be several conflicting photos and families, all from Aroostook County in the early 1900s.

Ancestry has 25 public trees that refer to Marthe Delina Pelletier. Family Search has profile G3VR-6YV for Mattie Delina Pelletier, born 7 Dec 1914, and the daughter of Telesphore and Marie (Bois) Pelletier. She married Raoul Emile Langelier on 4 August 1914.


  • I fully identified two individuals with Family Search profiles, so I uploaded their images to their Family Search Memories.
  • I identified one individual but am not confident this is who I think it is. So I posted her image to my Flickr Photostream.
  • I failed to identify five individuals by name. I also uploaded those photos to my Flickr Photostream.

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.

Due to software limitations, the images uploaded to Family Search, Dead Fred, and Flickr have a higher image quality than the images linked here.

For all postings of the Ethel Wight Collection, please see here.


[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.

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