Genealogy research? from Kevin, Tennessee

Good afternoon,

I am searching for clues in locating my great, great, great grandfather. I have found an old photograph that I believe is him. I know from census records that he was born in South Carolina. I am wondering if you can tell me what type of plant is shown in the attached photo and if this could have been found in South Carolina around 1850? I did digitally restore this photograph, so if anything looks odd about the plant keep this in mind. The photo originally had a lot of chipping and I replaced those with the surface of the plants.

Any help would be greatly appreciated in identifying this plant and location that it could be found.



Hi Kevin, this is a very unusual request, but I decided to post it because it is also interesting.  Now, I can only give you reasoned guesses on these, but the leaves on the right look a bit like Elephant ears or Taro, Colocasia, and the big leaf on the left looks suspiciously like a banana, Musa.  Both could have been planted as long ago as the 1850’s – most likely near the coast – but they will also grow inland in cultivation.  In the summer, they can be grown almost anywhere in the USA but would not be hardy very far north.  This must have been in a local garden near a house.  However, I must say that the clothing looks more recent than 1850’s – just my opinion.  It could even fit in the early 1900’s to WWI – or later.  Photos from the 1850’s are quite rare, and would probably be on glass or tin.  Perhaps some readers will offer more opinions that could help?  Cheers,  Steve Hill SCNPS


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