County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Post-mortem Child LIVES!

Posted

Knowledge of local history can go a long way in finding and identifying photos.  I found this photo in an online auction several years ago. 

The photo is mislabeled by the seller as a post-mortem child.  In fact is it Paul Weatherhead, asleep in a box in his uncles store downtown Harrison in about 1903.  Unfortunately, I missed purchasing this photo online, but I was able to keep scans that I copied.  It was labeled only with Paul's name and age on the reserve side.  

Paul’s father was Fred Weatherhead, longtime Harrison resident, banker, real estate developer, and popular community leader.  Paul’s mother was Mary Hughes Weatherhead and her brothers operated the Hughes Bros. Store on Main Street for over half a century.

After teaching and traveling abroad in his younger years, Paul made his home in Harrison most of his life.  He was well known as a real estate agent that was heavily involved in the community. His family and their lives are well documented in the Cleaver and through family history collections at the Harrison District Library and the Clare County Historical Society and with many family members that remain in the area. 

Post-mortem photography was an accepted memorial practice over a hundred years ago.  There were few photos of a person and taking a photo of the deceased alone or posing with family members was common. It's easy to see why the seller of the photo would think young Weatherhead was deceased posed in such a way. 

Paul didn’t die as a child but in 1989 at age 88 and is buried in the family plot at Maple Grove Cemetery in Harrison.

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