Identification Please!

A lot of very smart people visit our blog. Here is what one of them has to say about the “1940ish” picture:

“Ten women,and twenty-seven men with no dogs or children, exceedingly odd for a church picture.

It’s cold and the site has been chosen, indeed well known for a group shot in bleacher style.

It’s overcast and around one thirty pm and there is no flash needed ,the film is 125 ASA at a shutterspeed of as much as a half a second at Fstop eleven,  a guess.  This shot could have been planned using a tripod and self timer feature that everyone was used to in those days, or are they reacting to someone’s directions ?

These mugs are very familiar to me,  isnt that a young Frank Jones with the big ears?  The group has a common denominator, (a local club? The Elks?)…most likely news,  broadcasting, radio,  and electrical gizmos.”

I agree with these observations. I took a tour of downtown churches Saturday and found only one possible church site, behind the original 1st Baptist building on Poplar Street, but it is a stretch…the terrain has been significantly altered by later church building projects. There were houses on the west side of Poplar, but these don’t quite match the ones shown on the Sanborn insurance maps.

I was already thinking that two of the folks were Bill East and Frank Spencer. Add the guy with the big ears and you’ve got a Winston-Salem Journal trifecta.


I might add that the same person suggested that Buddy and Hazel Levin from the Watson Avenue picture are probably in this one…I see a couple of possibilities.


As always, click on the pic for full size

OK, the chase is on. Molly Levin Beck thinks that she knows a couple of the folks pictured…her uncle Charlie Church and his wife Polly Lineberry Church. Charlie served on the first 20th century integrated board of aldermen with the Reverend Kenneth Williams under two mayors, George Lentz and Marshall Kurfees. Charlie was the president at that time of the Service Coal Company, located at 501 East Seventh Street. Polly also served as an officer of the company.

Warm Morning Heater Coal Stove Wood Stove | eBay 2013-11-29 19-36-10 copy

Some of us remember coal because our family owned a “Warm Morning Heater” and the coal bin in the basement. Guess who got to go down there, fill up the coal scuttle, then turn the lever, open the door and pour the coal into the heater.

The main picture comes from the Snow family archive, so I suspected that it might center around the Snows…no surprise, Molly says that her uncle and aunt vacationed with the Snows in the 1930s and later played a lot of bridge with them. Among the Snows other favorite bridge players were Marshall Kurfees and his wife Mabel, who also served as the mayor’s office manager. Kurfees, for many years, managed the Blue Bird Cab Company and Mabel worked at Ideal Dry Goods.


Blue Bird Cab Company, 525 N. Cherry, late 1930s

It was Molly and her sister Jean who identified most of the Watson Avenue people, so put on your thinking cap if you want to keep up.

If you’re too young to remember any of these people, show this picture to your parents, aunts, uncles, etc. Just click on “Comment” to make an ID.

At this time of family gatherings, we have come upon a photograph of a similar gathering taken sometime around 1940. As always, click the pic for full size.

Homer Snow  is standing behind his wife Margaret. He operated Snow Electric Company, which in 1939 was located at 205-207 North Main Street. By 1939, it had moved to 315 South Liberty. Today it is on Brookstown Avenue. Margaret Snow was very active in the arts throughout her life.

Hubert Donevant, Margaret’s brother(?), was a medical investigator for the City Welfare Department.

Allie Hege operated the A.L. Hege Radio Company, a Philco dealership that also offered general radio service and repairs. It was located at 215 North Liberty.

Let’s hope that someone out there knows who the rest of the folks are.

Molly Levin Beck, who provided most of the information about the Watson Avenue photos last week, strikes again. She posted a comment suggesting that the RJR teacher who was the recipient of the dedication of the 1924 RJR High School Black & Gold might have had the first name Ione, rather than Jone or Joan. Well, Molly, you are right again.

Ione Mebane was born in Raleigh, NC in 1898. Her father, Charles Harden Mebane, was state superintendent of education at the time.


The family moved to Newton in 1903, where her father was publisher/editor of the semi-weekly local newspaper, Catawba County News. He was also on the board of directors for the State Normal and Industrial College (later UNCG) in Greensboro.

Ione entered the State Normal and Industrial College (UNCG) 1915, graduated 1919. Her three sisters also attended SNIC

She began teaching at Winston-Salem High School in the fall of 1919. The high school burned during the Christmas holidays in 1922 and Reynolds opened in January, 1923. She was head of the social science department. She taught 6 years, one of those after her marriage.


Ione married George Weaver Mann, 1924. They lived at 603 Irving St. in Ardmore. He was also a teacher, then went into real estate with the Lloyd Realty Co. He was offered a teaching position at Duke, which he turned down.

Ione’s father died in 1926. She and George moved to Newton to take care of her mother and George took over the newspaper and ran it until his death in 1946. Ione & one of her sisters ran the paper for a few years, then sold it in the early 1950s.

Ione taught third grade for 13 years in Chapel Hill. She died in 1988

How do I know all this? Ione was interviewed for the UNCG Centenary Project Oral History Collection in 1981. You can find the whole thing at


Charles Hardin Mebane’s biography is here

So as a byproduct of something else, we get a rare insight into an early Reynolds High School teacher. But the task of identifying the folks in the Central School picture remains.

We had great success last week in identifying about 60 people and a dog in two previously anonymous photographs taken on Watson Avenue in 1956. Now let’s take on a much more difficult assignment.

Before she left for Roma, Molly Rawls posted another picture, this one of an early 20th century elementary school class, with a request for help in identifying the content. As always, click on the pics for larger size.


We are given only this: “This photograph is a recent donation to the Photograph Collection.  The only person identified in the group is Richard Eugene Moester (1912-1968), third from the left on the top row.  Richard graduated from R. J. Reynolds High School in 1931.  He lived on S. Main Street in 1930 and on S. Trade Street in 1928.  Can anyone identify any of the other students, the teacher (near the center), and/or the school that the children attended?”

Not much to go on.

And compounding the problem is that if indeed Richard Moester was born in 1912, the youngest person in the picture would be around 100 years old today. Seems hopeless. But not necessarily. These folks had children and grandchildren who might recognize them if we could find them. We might, as we did with the Watson Avenue pics, get really lucky and find someone who has an original of the picture, with names attached.

Let’s see if we can answer any of Molly’s questions to help narrow things down.

First, when was this picture taken? I checked the records, and Richard Moester was indeed born in 1912. A cursory glance at the picture tells me that he was probably about 12 years old when the picture was taken. But guessing the age of children can be a bit tricky.


So I looked at the teacher, especially her hairstyle…a sort of wing thing…quite similar to the hairstyles seen among seniors in the 1924 RJ Reynolds High School yearbook. If you go back to the 1923 yearbook, you can see the beginnings of this hairstyle, but it does not become full blown until the next year. In fact, the teacher to whom the 1924 yearbook is dedicated, Jone Mebane , has just such a hairstyle.


The unidentified teacher and Jone (?) Mebane, from the 1924 Black & Gold, both sport the new “wing” hairstyle. The class of 1924 was the second to graduate from the R.J. Reynolds High School.

So combining age observations and female hairstyles, I think it is reasonable to  say that the picture probably dates from 1924 or 1925. Go much past that date and the children are no longer in elementary school.

Second, where was the picture taken? We are told that it is an elementary school. And we know where Richard Moester lived back then, at 520 South Trade Street in Salem.

In 1913, when the city of Winston and the town of Salem joined to create the city of Winston-Salem, the new combined school system leased the former Salem Boys School to serve as the graded elementary school in Salem, renaming it the Central Elementary School.

The principal of Central was Annie Wiley, daughter of the legendary educator Calvin Wiley, and a graduate of the first Winston high school class of 1886. Logic tells us that Richard Moester would have attended Central, barely two blocks from his house. In first grade, his father, Charles Moester, who operated a barbershop in the 300 block of South Main, could have walked him almost all the way to school on his way to work.


Beyond that, we cannot go for the moment. We were told that Richard Moester graduated from RJ Reynolds High School in 1931. So we could go to the 1931 RJR yearbook and attempt to identify the subjects of our photo by matching faces. We have the yearbooks from 1930 and 1932, but not 1931. And since only senior pics were included in yearbooks back then, we are out of luck.

But somebody out there knows something about this picture. Let us hear from you.



Watson Avenue adults and children gathered for a group photo in September 1956.  Tom Coppedge, local photographer, probably took the photograph of his neighbors, but that is all that is known about the people and the occasion other than Harold Vogler is in the adult photo on the right in the center row.  Can anyone identify the children and/or the adults?


This photograph is a recent donation to the Photograph Collection.  The only person identified in the group is Richard Eugene Moester (1912-1968), third from the left on the top row.  Richard graduated from R. J. Reynolds High School in 1931.  He lived on S. Main Street in 1930 and on S. Trade Street in 1928.  Can anyone identify any of the other students, the teacher (near the center), and/or the school that the children attended?

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