This cabinet card came from a shop in Indianapolis, Indiana and was given to me by a friend who supports my love of found photos. The two girls are identified on the back of the photo as Jet & Grace Norton. The card carries the marking of the W.H. Butler New Gallery photography studio of Clifford, Indiana.
Research uncovered sisters, Jessie Pearl and Grace Edna Norton, daughters of Julian Perry and Phoebe (nee Linke) Norton. At the time of the photo, taken in approximately 1892, they were their parents only children. In 1894, their brother, Raymond Louis, was born.
Jessie, referred to as Jet on the back of the photo, was the oldest child in the family, born June 15, 1882. Grace was born on March 28, 1888. The girls lived with their parents and brother in Flat Rock, Indiana. Their father had been a farmer and a school teacher in his younger years, later becoming the owner and operator of a grain elevator in the nearby town of Clifford, as well as co-owner of the Linke & Norton store in Clifford. The family was well known and respected in the community.
The local newspaper, The Republic, out of Columbus, Indiana, often reported of the girls’ social activities. On August 22, 1895, Little Gracie had typhoid fever. On September 15, 1898, Jessie attended the State Fair in Indianapolis, with Minnie Thayer, Louise Linke, and Sophia Dooley. In October 1901, the family went to Brown county, persimmon hunting. It was in the newspaper that many friends learned of Jessie’s surprise marriage to William Reed on January 27, 1903, and of Grace’s large wedding to Ray Fulp on October 8, 1908.
The girls lost their mother, aged 43, to meningitis on December 14, 1906. Later, in 1923, meningitis would take Jessie’s life, at the young age of 41, leaving her husband and five daughters (Josephine, 19; Mary, 16; Mildred, 14; Martha, 11; and Annabelle, 8) to mourn their loss.
After the death of their mother, their father wed Dr. Effa (nee DeWoody) Osborn on October 19, 1909. Although the girls were married and starting families of their own, their brother, Raymond, 15, was still at home. The marriage did not last long; Effa filed for divorce in June 1910. It seems it had been over before it ever began, based on all that came out during the divorce proceedings. Effa claimed that she never loved Julian, and was instead in love with John York of Peru and that Julian knew this and relentlessly pursued her anyway until she gave in and agreed to the marriage. She also claimed that Julian tried to force her to become a spiritualistic medium to converse with his dead wife and when she refused, he deserted her. Julian, however, claimed that while he did meet Effa at a spiritualist meeting in Madison, Indiana, that she was a spiritualist before he knew her. He denied that he knew of John York and he produced letters Effa wrote to him professing her love. A nurse that Effa befriended while she was staying at a sanitarium when she first left Julian, also gave testimony that Effa confided to her that she had married Julian, knowing he was a wealthy man, with the plan to take all his money.
Julian died on November 5, 1910, aged 52, of appendicitis. Many of his friends said that the stress and heartbreak of the marriage led to his death.
Soon after being married, Grace and Ray moved to a farm in German Township, just 10 miles from Flat Rock. Ray was a farmer and Grace a homemaker. By 1919, the couple had two sons living, Norton Perry and Robert Justin. A son born January 2, 1913, died at birth. On March 23, 1921, Grace died giving birth to the couples’ fourth son, Harold Eugene. Norton was 11 and Justin 5 years old at the time. The infant, Harold, was taken in and raised by Ray’s brother, Omer, and his wife Anna.
Biographical Record of Bartholomew County, Indiana by B.F. Bowen, published 1904
The Republic newspaper, Columbus, Indiana
Find A Grave
State of Indiana Death Certificates