Howard Scharf recently mailed me this photo:
The writing along the side reads:
This was taken when Will & I visited Selins Grove.
The first one in back from left is me
then Jennie Scharf
She was Uncle John's daughter & a beauty
then Bessy Bentz
then Elizabeth. Then
Lizzie as thy distinguished the two
Here is a cropped version of the photo:
It's obvious these are not young children, nor are they too old. I'd estimate them to be between the ages of 16 and 23? Randomly.
We know the girl in the center back is Jane Catherine 1887-1972
Jane was an only child, so none of these will be her siblings
If we guesstimate her age at 17, that puts this photo at around 1905 (Rough estimate!)
The second person we can identify rather easily is Bessie Bentz.
Maria Scharf, sister of John Q Scharf, married Philip Henry Bentz.
Elizabeth Bentz was born in 1889. If this photo was taken in 1905,
She would be about 16.
My first guess from that would be that Elizabeth, Will, and Helen Bentz all visited Selinsgrove to see their cousins. But I'm not sure why the photo would say "Will and I" and not "Will, Bessie and I".
Helen Bentz was born in 1874. She had her first child in 1908, so it's possible she married as late as 1907. If this is her in this photo, and if it was taken around 1905, she was 31 years old. Possible.
William Penn Bentz was born in 1884, and if this is him, he would be 21 in 1905. Possible.
We know that the Bentz family lived in Philadelphia in 1900 & 1910, so that would fit with them "visiting" Selins Grove, their mothers hometown.
The other "Will" Scharf cousin is the son of George W. Scharf.
William Lewis Scharf was born in 1885
Just a year later than Will Bentz - so not much help with the age difference.
If the photo was taken in 1905, and this is William L. Scharf, he would be about 20 here.
In 1900 & 1910, George W. Scharfs family lived in Candor NY. Which would explain a "visit" to Selins Grove.
George W. Scharf had 9 children. Approximate ages in 1905:
Nettie age 7
Edgar age 10
Helen age 12
Joseph age 15
Jennie age 18
William age 20
Frank age 22
Anna Age 25
John age 26
Why would just two children be visiting? Looking at the ages, It is possible that William, Frank, Anna, and John are all married and or working, or busy with their own families. Nettie, Edgar, Helen & Joseph are younger - possibly too young to make the trip if no adults were along?
That puts Jennie & William at the right age for travel on their own to visit their cousins. It is possible the "me" in the upper left of the photo is Jennie Scharf, and the Will is her brother. This feels like the most likely scenerio to me.
But to recap - that would mean this photo is:
Jennie, Jennie, Elizabeth
Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Will.
Perhaps the siblings could have chosen more unique names for their children?? It would certainly make this easier! :-)
On to the Elizabeths.
The Description written on this photo lists a Bessie, an Elizabeth, and a Lizzie.
Joseph Scharf had 3 grandaughters named Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Bentz Born 1889, daughter of Maria Scharf
Elizabeth Kurtz Scharf born 1893 daughter of William Penn Scharf
Elizabeth May Scharf born 1887 daughter of Joseph Scharf Jr
We know that Bessie Bentz is in the back row. In 1905 she would have been abt 16
Elizabeth K. Scharf would have been abt 12
Elizabeth May Scharf abt 18
Elizabeth, on the far left, does appear to be younger than the others, but I doubt she is 12. If we up her age to 14 that puts the photo in 1907 - 15 would be 1908. I think at that point its especially unlikely that the "me" could be Helen, since she had her first child in 1908 and this appears to be the young unmarried cousins, none of the other cousins around this age who are married are pictured here.
SO - based on all of the above, my best guess is the following:
Jennie, daughter of George W. Scharf. Jennie daughter of John Q. Scharf. Bessie, daughter of Mariah Bentz
Elizabeth K. daughter of William P. Scharf. Elizabeth M daughter of Joseph Scharf Jr. Will, son of George W. Scharf.