The Black Widow
In the Fall of 2015, I purchased a beautiful, unique photo album in an antique store. I instantly felt the need to find it’s family and put this wonderful treasure back in their hands and home. My initial research was somewhat productive, however, it didn’t lead me to anyone that knew who the family in the photos were. The only clue was a 1945 church program from Oakland, CA with a photo of Rev. H.W. Watson on the cover. I was able to locate Rev. H.W. Watson's son, but he was unable to recognize anyone else in the photos.
In the Spring of 2018, I took the album out to look at it with fresh eyes. By chance, the light hit the inside front cover in just the right way, and for the first time I saw a very faint, faded, inscription: “Hot Springs, A..” (illegible, perhaps “Ark”) “From J.L.W To A.C.W. Nov. 14, 1900” This album is forty five years older than I had realized! The inside back cover said the same. I wondered if the “W” stood for Watson - the surname of the reverend from 1945. I was even more determined to return this to someone who would cherish it.
Within days of discovering the inscription, I tracked down the oldest grandchild of Rev. H.W. Watson. Although no definite identification has been made, there are enough clues to assume that the album started out in Watson hands over 117 years ago. Today, the album is back in a Watson home. Rev. Watson’s oldest granddaughter is thrilled to have the album and will continue trying to identify its original owner. It feels good to know it’s in the hands of someone who will care for it like it deserves.