Saturday, June 20, 2009

They Worked Hard for the Family: Engineers and Blacksmiths

I've posted this picture before, but since it's one of my favorites, I thought I would post it again as part of the 15th Edition of Smile for the Camera's "They Worked Hard For the Family." This is my great-great-grandfather, Lovell Hugh Pemberton, in front of his blacksmith shop in Anchorville, Michigan, in 1896. He is the one on the left kneeling in front of the wagon wheel using the hammer. Lovell followed in his father's footsteps as a blacksmith. I wonder if one of the other men is his father. This picture is courtesy of cousin Tami, Lovell's great-granddaughter, who received a copy from her father. This picture was passed from Lovell's sister to his daughter to his granddaughter to his grandson to his great-granddaughter to his great-great-granddaughter (me). Phew!

This is also a picture of Lovell in front of another blacksmith shop. He is the one on the far right with the X on his pants. I believe this was taken about 1905-1910, probably in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Lovell moved to Mount Clemens sometime between 1905 and 1908, when my great-grandfather, John Vital Pemberton, was born. I know from Mount Clemens city directories that Lovell worked for a man named Vital DeKeyser. According to the census records, Vital was also a blacksmith. I have a feeling that Vital may be the man in the middle. It appears that Lovell named my great-grandfather after his employer. This photo is courtesy of cousin Steve, Lovell's grandson.

This is my maternal grandfather, John Peter Pemberton, with his working buddies. He began as a fireman with the Grand Trunk Railroad in Port Huron, Michigan, in 1950. By the time of his death in 1970, he was an engineer with the same railroad. John Peter is the one in the window of the train. My grandmother, before she passed away, told me that the young boy was a child of one of the other guys that he worked with.


  1. Wonderful photos and great story of your family history! You are so lucky to have these images. Nice job and I enjoyed reading your work.

  2. Thanks for sharing your photos. Last year, when we toured the pioneer village at Grey Roots (Owen Sound, Ontario), the blacksmith told us that he played an important role in the community. He was also considered a good catch as he had steady work but indeed it would have been hard work working over the fires.

  3. I can understand why you love that picture - it's great! And I love the ladies with the one of them holding a bicycle built for two? Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great photos! Thanks for sharing them!