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January 15, 2021

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Methodist Episcopal Sunday school picnic

Methodist picnic circa 1891

METHODIST EPISCOPAL PICNIC

Although this photo is not clearly identified there are several obvious features that reveal interesting stories. The photo is from the collection of Richard Boehr.

The back side reads "M.E. Sunday School picnic held on College grounds." That translates to (Bluffton) Methodist Episcopal Church (now First United Methodist). The college was established in 1899. One theory is that the photo is actually older than 1899, however. More on that as additional research takes place to prove this theory.

Harl Mann's name is also written on the back. There are thre "x" marks on the photo side. Two on the far left are beside a boy on the first standing row with a cap. That could be Harl Mann. Ase we remember him, he had a rather high forehead, just like the boy in the cap.

A Methodist revival passed through the Midwest about 1890. The Icon's grandmother, Bertha Althaus was "saved" at one of these revivals as a teenager. It is possible that she is standing in the center with her hair parted in the middle. If that is the case, it proves this photo was taken prior to 1899 because she was married that year. The grandmother or grand-aunt of Roger and Scott Edwards appears to be sitting near the center of the third row with the large dark neck band. Her name escapes us at the moment.

An interesting couple in the back row left side appears to be an African-American man and woman. Viewers may decide for themselves if this is a correct assumption.

There are additional familar faces that we've noticed in other old photos of Bluffton. As those photos are studied, we may be able to pieece together additional names of persons. Viewers are welcome to offer their conjectures.