Posted by: marthabernie | May 19, 2018

LON FORKNER FAMILY – 1906 Conway, Missouri

This photo was taken August 11, 1906 in Conway, Missouri on the farm of Lon and Annie Forkner.  The traveling photographer came through and the family got dressed up, took the woven blanket off the parents’ bed and posed as above.  From left, Halsey Hansen, a foster child they took in a few years earlier; seated Leonidas (Lon) Olander Forkner; standing behind him, his wife, Annie L. McMenus Forkner, then daughter Ednah, seated son Oscar and finally on the right, daughter Ethyl.  Their youngest child, Raymond Irl (Little Ray) died in 1900 at the age of 8, probably from pneumonia.  Halsey Hansen and his brother were orphans and two families took them in, Halsey going to the Forkner farm.  A few months later the family moved to Montana, but Halsey did not go with him.  I know little about what happened to him until he joined the army during WWI and died in the conflict.

The blanket on the ground was often pulled off the bed and used as a sort of “rug” in these outdoor photos.  I have a couple others where it is in the same place in the Forkners’ garden with various members of the family and/or their friends, seated on it.  It was hand woven in 1886 when Aunt Annie got married, her mother having sheared the sheep, carded and spun the wool, dyed some of it and then weaving it into the blanket.  Aunt Annie took it with her to Montana and every other place she lived throughout her life (Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and then eventually San Francisco and Los Angeles).  By the time she got to L.A. in 1923, it was worn in places so she converted the blanket/bedspread into pillow covers and a throw for the back of the couch.  When my mother inherited the contents of the house in 1968, everything had been put into a trunk.  It took a while, looking through all the old photos, to match it to the earlier images, but she had gotten the story of its origin from Aunt Annie’s daughter, Ednah, before she died.  My mother put it away and I did not come across it until 1997.  There was only one large piece, about 20 x 24 inches, which showed all four square patterns used in the blanket and which was still in tact without moth holes, etc.  I took it and had it specially preserved and framed, and it hangs in my living room nook today, with a framed copy of the above photo.  It’s 132 years old.


  1. Fantastic photo, and how wonderful that you treasure the blanket to this day (even if only a part of it). So much history there!


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