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Photos Speak

August 26, 2016

Photos speak to us…. especially the old photos that most of us have tucked away.

When I was researching source material for my book, The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda, I went through the many old photos I have from my family. While some date as far back as the Civil War, I focused on those that told the story of my mother’s family which migrated from Missouri to Montana. There were many to choose from but the one that stuck out the most in my mind was the above photo which pictured a simple morning’s hunting outing with a father and his two sons.

Simple? Some would say extraordinary when counting the number of rabbits that are displayed with the three men. But in our family, such a morning’s hunt would have indeed been just ordinary. These were people of pioneering stock who hunted not for pleasure but for the nourishment of their large extended family. The scene in the photo depicts a rabbit hunt on the Allen farm in Louisiana, Missouri in 1912. The Allen family had returned to their farm from their new home in Anaconda, Montana to attend a family funeral.

It was a cold morning that foretold a bit of the family’s future fortunes. Proudly displaying the morning hunt of 39 rabbits was a family bonding between men that would soon be shattered. After their return to Montana, the family would move to Fresno, California. James E. Allen, on the left, would enter the world of commercial art only to be caught-up in World War I as a pilot in Belgium. The father, William Allen, would lose his wife. Elmer Leroy Allen, on the right, would join his brother in war and fight in the Argonne Forest. Lives, livelihoods and family bonds would be altered forever…. but never broken! All three men would survive their misfortunes and go on to help put their brand on the American West.

For a moment in time, three men stood in the frozen morning as the pillars of the Allen family’s pioneering spirit. At the moment that the shutter clicked, all was well in the world.

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For a full account of the Allen brothers and their family, read The Horse Whisperers from Anaconda.

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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