Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Beautiful Garden of Prayer by Eleanor Allen Schroll (August 31, 2016)

I recently came across the above photograph of my father when he was about two or three years old.  The woman in the photo was completely unknown to me until I found other photographs (and another version of this one) that were captioned by my paternal grandmother -- in her idiosyncratic way of marking the face of photographs and snapshots.

A bit of Google searching revealed much more.

My paternal grandparents were both born and raised in Rhode Island, but there was a very short period when they moved to Kentucky due to my grandfather's job as a color and dye representative for a chemical company.  While they were living in Dayton, Campbell County, Kentucky, my father was born. When my father was less than four years old, the family returned to Rhode Island and both of my father's siblings were born there.

Another version of the photograph above is captioned by my grandmother and it identifies the woman with my father as "Mrs. H. Clay Schroll."

Two other photographs -- similarly captioned by my grandmother -- shows Mrs. Schroll and my father with the dapper H. Clay Schroll himself. Mr. Schroll was a banker.

Some quick Google searching on H. Clay Schroll (and a lucky guess that the "H" might stand for "Henry" after the famous Kentuckian, Henry Clay, who was a U.S Senator, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,  Secretary of State and Presidential candidate), led to the Find A Grave memorial for "Henry Clay Schroll" born January 16, 1878 in Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky. He died in Campbell County on February 18, 1956 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery there.

H. Clay Schroll was married to Eleanor Allen, daughter of Issac Allen and his wife Ella Ros. Eleanor was born in Newport, Kentucky in 1878 and she died in Florida on January 8, 1966. She too is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Campbell County, Kentucky.

Among the above photographs (all taken around 1924-25) were some other papers from my grandmother including a short letter to my father. In the letter, my grandmother notes that the Schrolls were personal friends of my grandparents during the time they lived in Campbell County, Kentucky. She explains that the Schrolls had no children of their own and they made my father sort of their adopted son and "thought the world" of him.  Each Sunday my grandparents "took the Schrolls out " according to my grandmother.

Armed now with the identify of Mrs. Henry Clay Schroll, I did some additional research online and discovered (much to my surprise) that Mrs. Schroll -- Eleanor Allen Schroll -- was a very respected lyricist of hymns and she wrote the words to the well-known hymn, "Beautiful Garden of Prayer."
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All images above are from original snapshots taken by my grandparents. They are now in my possession and part of my family collection. No use may be made of the images without permission!
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Copyright 2016, John D. Tew
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  1. It's impressive how much information you were able to find, John. I think Mrs. Schroll looks like a very joyful person. And, of course, your father is adorable.

  2. I agree with Nancy. Also, you were lucky in that names were written on the photos.

  3. Oh thank you for sharing. Her hymn "The Beautiful Garden of Prayer" is one of my favorites and I sing it often. It was so wonderful to put a face with the words. Blessings