Friday’s Faces From the Past – Man’s Photo taken by S. R. Alley of Tarboro, NC


This unknown man had his photograph taken by S.R. Alley of Tarboro, North Carolina, most likely at towards the end of the 19th century. The man seems to be staring right into my eyes pleading to be identified. This portrait was one of many photographs belonging to Sarah Ophelia Barnes, née Rose (1863-1936). Her great-granddaughter, Betsy Coleman, shared the pictures with our Barnes family, in the hopes that more folks could be identified.

The photographer was active in Tarbor0, Edgecombe County, NC between 1880 – 1920. At times S. R. Alley partnered with Francis M. Winstead. There are also some photos taken by Francis M. Winstead in our collection, but this is the only one from the Alley Studio. Of the photographs found in Ophelia’s trunk, this appears to be one of the older ones. The man looks very prosperous from the cut of his suit. There seems to be some resemblance to the Rose and Barnes families, especially his beautiful eyes and the shape of his ears.

My husband’s Barnes family are descendants of early Virginia settlers who came to America from the British colonization. The earliest ancestor we have traced back was a Quaker farmer named John Barnes, born circa 1640. He lived in Virginia near the James River, and at some point when land opened up in the new frontier of North Carolina, he moved his family there. His will is dated from 1719 in Chowan County, NC.

This four-generation pedigree chart is of Ophelia’s son, Ernest Howard Barnes. The Rose family were also early Virginia settlers. Most likely the man in this unknown portrait fits somewhere in this chart, or the Coleman family. You can click on the chart and photograph to enlarge the images.

In genealogy, one person’s research helps the next. A publication by Frances G. Howell, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, helped our family find the many branches of our tree. Many other people helped, too, but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the genealogy book called, The early Howells of Wayne County, North Carolina:  Henry Howell, his descendants, and some allied lines, by Frances Godwin Howell, 1991. LC Classification: CS71.H858.  Copies can be found at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, and also, The Wayne County Library, Goldsboro, NC.

If you are researching any of our North Carolina Barnes and Rose families, try to track down her book. In 2005 I contacted Frances Howell, and she was a great help untangling our Rose lines, with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of early Wayne County, NC families. These are the chapter headings of her book: Henry Howell Family; Daughtry Lineage; Brent Family; Heath Lineage; Mathews Lineage; and Edwards Lineage.

Friday’s Faces From the Past is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers.



About Maryann Barnes

I live in Virginia and enjoy meandering walks back into the past. I also enjoy old photographs and sharing family research.
This entry was posted in Barnes, Blogger, Blogging Prompts, Friday's Faces From the Past, Maryann, Photographers, Rose, Sidney R. Alley, Surnames, Tarboro and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Friday’s Faces From the Past – Man’s Photo taken by S. R. Alley of Tarboro, NC

  1. Sandra Alley says:

    S. R. Alley was my great-uncle. His full name was Sydney Rives Alley, although he was born Sydnor and later changed it to Sydney. I am look for photos he took. I do have one he took of his brother and possibly my grandmother. Wish I could help more with your

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