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Photo Puzzle

This photograph, in possession of descendants of John Henry Lafferty (1859-1918), son of L.D. Lafferty. It’s widely claimed to be a photo of John Henry and Maggie Cox Lafferty, however, at the time of this photo, John Henry would have been only 33 years old. This does not look like a young man. Ages of the children (who are identified as Maggie and John Henry’s) match up. If little Sarah was born in 1890 and there is no baby James yet, then this photo was most likely made in 1892. According to Patent Application for land along the waters of Bear Creek, Uvalde County, TX, old LD is alive and occupying this land with his son as of October 1881. He is not on the 1880 census in Precinct 3, Uvalde Co with young John, however. On June 22, 1882, young John sells 160 acres from this pre-emption of “L.D. Lafferty deceased”.  But the actual Patent is not granted to the “Heirs of L.D. Lafferty” until July 16, 1892. At the time of this photo, old L.D. would have been 90 years old and Maggie would have been age 29.

Interesting to consider: If the man above is John Henry Lafferty (age 33 in 1892), he is yet to father 9 more children between 1892 and 1909. Does this man look like he is going to be alive, spry and procreating for the next 17 years? Perhaps this is all the more reason to believe that the photo is old L.D. Lafferty at age about age 90?

The center photograph was in possession of Vern L. Lafferty and the caption read as noted, that this was his great-great grandfather. The descendancy goes thus through Lorenzo Dow Lafferty (1802- about 1883) and Elvira: Burwell C. Lafferty (1837-1891)  to Ambrose Lee Lafferty (1900-1971) to Roy Lee Lafferty (1025 – 1971) to Vern. He notes that it was taken circa 1880. That is likely not correct.

The engraving on the right above was made in New York for the first publication of The Old Rover book, which was published in 1875. So, the photo would have been made before 1875 and sent to New York for the engraving to be produced. The writer believes that this is the exact photo used for the etching — details of hair, clothing and especially the bow tie match up perfectly. In 1875, L.D. would have been 73 years old. This is image is reasonable.

The center photo looks strikingly like the one of the left that is purported to be of 33 year old John Henry! This writer believes that it may be old L.D. instead. Is it possible that old L.D. lived until at least 1892? That his death was “faked” in the land records so his children could have deed to the 160 aces on Bear Creek? Is the person on the left, with Maggie and children, some other member of the Lafferty family?