Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Little Dash of Crazy Never Hurt Anybody

I'd like you all to take a look at this picture:

This is my Great-Grandmother Cornelia Elizabeth Akins Mix Simpson. She was born an Akins in Lockwood, Tioga County, New York, and married a Mix (my great-grandfather), then married a Simpson.

She's standing here with her half-brother, George F. Akins. They shared the same father, John Francis Akins.

I'm guessing from her dress that this picture was taken in the 1940s. It's likely on his or her farm up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, probably Tioga or Tompkins county, or somewhere near there.

I don't know this for sure because the Akin's are IMPOSSIBLE to find ANY information on other than the bare minimum. I think they must have hid from the census taker's and never got any marriage license's because according to the records, they DON'T EXIST. I say this after a day spent poring through censuses (census's? censi?) and NOT finding them. I figured after waiting a decade or so after doing a first look that something would have come up, but NO!!

Part of the problem is that Akins can also be Akin, Aken, Akens, Aiken, Aikens, Aikin, Aikins, and probably more I haven't figure out yet, thus the lack of finding ANYTHING!

But as usual, I digress.

Taking another look at the picture, you will notice that they are holding the skin of a timber wolf (at least that's according to what's written on the back of the photograph). Yes, wolves used to be all over the place, even New York state, before we (Americans) nearly killed them all off, so I'm assuming that this is a proud farmer showing off the skin of a wolf he killed. What can I say, times were different.

But now, if you still haven't noticed it, take another look, there's something else.

Something to do with George.

Something to do with George's hat.

See it? There is a.......chicken.....on Great-Great-Uncle George's hat.

Oh so many questions...

  • Did he always wear a chicken on his hat?
  • Is this chicken special in some way?
  • Does the chicken lay eggs up there?
  • Does he have different chickens for different days, like a sunday-best chicken?
  • Did he save the chicken-on-the-hat just for special occasions, like when you are showing off your timber wolf skin with your half-sister?
At least now I know which branch of the family the crazy came from, that's some progress.


  1. I am willing to bet BIG MONEY that chicken was the chicken the timber wolf was chasing when he met his untimely end. And it was NOT a wild goose he was chasing, that's right, it was a . . .

  2. Wow! Love this picture. It's just great! When was it taken, do you know (the approximate year).

  3. I wish I had a chicken to wear on my head. I bet nobody bothers a person wearing a chicken hat. Anyway I wanted to let you know that I think I broke facebook trying to accept your plant/return the favor just now! I got an error message then an "cannot display this webpage" response and now I can't even get to the facebook log-in page which lead me to believe my attempts at incorporating botany within my facebook page destroyed the entire site or something. So that was exciting! anyways I wanted to let you know the story so you didn't think I was rudely ignoring the gift. I'm excited to figure this out and I will try again later...or crash the site trying. :)

  4. Geri - I know that George died in 1953, and judging by the dress Cornelia is wearing, it is probably mid-late 1940s.

  5. Judging from what the chicken is wearing, it's got to be 1945 sometime after Easter and before Labor Day.

  6. I LOVE the chicken. Why didn't MY relatives do fun things? In all their pictures, they just look "teed-off" somehow. I need to put Mom's new puppy on MY hat and take a picture! Yeah, that would be cool (well, unless she falls off and hurts herself somehow!) You are so funny, lol. At least now I know where you get it!

  7. That would have been so handy if the chicken did lay eggs in there!