Indiana woman trying to ID wedding photos bought at auction

Posted1/23/2022 7:00 AM

KOKOMO, Ind. -- Jane Cunningham had her eyes on a set of pie racks and a marble rolling pin at an auction a few years back.

She had family members who could use the pie racks, and Cunningham really liked the heavy, decorative marble rolling pin.


She bid $1. Someone else bid $2.

Cunningham bid $3. She really wanted those pie racks.

A bidding war ensued before Cunningham finally took the contents for $5.

The marble rolling pin is displayed on top of her microwave. The pie racks were put to good use. The box everything came in was placed in Cunningham's basement.

Earlier this year, Shonnie Weller, Cunningham's daughter, and other family members were at her house one day for some fried squirrel.

Cunningham led them down to her basement.

She showed them two old wedding photos.

'I didn't see it until this year,' Cunningham said of the photos.

They aren't of anyone from her family. No one knows who the bride and groom are in the photo, and there aren't too many more details.

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'Mom showed us these pictures and asked, 'How do I go about finding out who they belong to?'' Weller said.

So, they called the Kokomo Tribune.

Cunningham is positive the photos were in the box with the rolling pin and pie racks. She isn't someone who goes out and buys things often - let alone pictures of strangers.

The auction was held at Bethany Fellowship Church, 4998 County Road N. 500 East. The annual auction is held on the first Saturday in June and benefits the Bethany Fellowship School.

Lonnie Bontrager, CEO of the auction committee, said the church takes a commission on each sale.

If he had the year and consigner's number, which would have been on the box, Bontrager said he could track down who brought the items to the auction.

Cunningham doesn't remember what year the auction was. There wasn't one in 2020 due to the pandemic, so she's had the photos since at least 2019, maybe 2018. Those details are fuzzy.


One photo is of the bride and groom. The bride is wearing a traditional white dress; the groom wears a white tux with black pants. The other photo is of just the bride.

There is a first letter and last name written on the back in pencil: 'R. Thompson,' a common name that does little to narrow the search.

Also written on the back are colorization instructions, indicating the picture was originally black and white. The instructions list details to be added to the photos for both the bride and groom, such as 'eyes: blue' and 'hair: dk (dark) brown.'

The hairstyle of the bride makes Cunningham think the photo might be from the 1950s.

Amy Russell, of the Genealogy and Local History Department at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, said the photos very well could be from the '50s, possibly the '60s. A search through newspaper archives from that time period for 'R. Thompson' brought back no relevant results.

Cunningham thinks the photos might have gotten tossed in with the other items when a home was cleared out following a death. She also has a hunch that the people in the photos - or at least the person who brought them to the auction to be sold - are from the area, maybe Plevna.

Cunningham said people from that general area in Howard County are who bring things to the annual auction.

She's hoping a little publicity, and a few more eyeballs, will help return the photos to their rightful owner.

'I'd like to find the owners,' Cunningham said. 'I don't want to throw them away.'


Source: Kokomo Tribune

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