Thursday, January 18, 2018

52 Ancestors Week 2, Favorite Photo: Peter Lee Doyle

Great-Grandpa Peter Lee Doyle with his daughter, Rose

Week 2 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is to choose a favorite photo.

This was a bit challenging for me since there are so many great photos that I love. I chose to share this photo of my maternal Great-Grandfather Peter Lee Doyle and his daughter, Rose. For some reason, I have always been drawn to this picture. I have wondered what was happening in his life on this day. They seem dressed up to me. Was it a holiday? maybe some other special occasion?  This photo was taken in about 1912 most likely in or around Buxton, Iowa.

My grandmother Margaret, talked about her father all the time. It was plain to see just how much she loved him. Every time she spoke of him, her eyes lit up, and she smiled.  I can still hear her voice saying.."Papa wasn't very tall. His hair was carrot red and his eyes were blue. He never learned how to read or write, but he sure knew how to figure math!" Grandma said that he was the kindest man that you ever want to meet. Very kind and gentle. He often took neighbors in need a box of food. My grandmother often spoke of how life was in the old days compared to the modern conveniences we have today. Life in the coal mining camps wasn't easy. She said that her parents worked very hard. She remembered, washing diapers outside in a big pot on an open fire and hanging them on the line to dry. She laughed as she told me, how the diapers dried stiff as a board on the line and had to be brought inside the house to warm.

Grandpa Peter was born November 27, 1869 in Pittsylvanina County, Virginia.  He left Virginia in the late 1800's becoming part of the great migration from Virginia to  Buxton, Iowa. He worked as a Coalminer for many years. In about 1916  he moved his family to Danville, Illinois after the mines closed down. He married his first wife in Virginia, Mary Johnson. He had three daughters, Hattie, Mattie and Letha.  In 1903 he married Mary Belle Carr in Buxton, Iowa. Together they had 7 children. Lonnie, Eliza (both died in infancy), William, Rose, Margaret, Leonard, Edythe (Pie), Johnny and Esther pearl. The family moved back to Iowa in about 1922. After moving around they eventually Settled in Des Moines. He died September 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Great-Grandpa Peter


  1. You can tell he was a good looking man. I still haven't blogged about my coal mining Uncle. I didn't realize those housing was bad back then for my family. Most of them weren't even good to live in but they made it work. Great Photos.