Addie Hammell – Arthur McClain Wedding, 1908

Many of you have probably seen a copy of this photo at one time or another. This is the wedding portrait of Arthur McClain and Addie Hammell. They were married June 3, 1908 in Albany.

Addie basically grew up in Albany, having moved there when she was about four years old. Arthur moved to the Albany area about 1902, when he was about 18. Somehow between 1902 and 1908 he met, courted and married Addie, as has been mentioned previously.

The only hint I have about how Arthur and Addie met is a vague memory from their daughter Betty. She recalled that Addie was friends with Oral McClain, older sister of Deo McClain and cousin of Arthur (Arthur’s mother Mary and Oral’s father John were siblings). Oral was two years younger than Addie. Oral’s family moved to the Willamette Valley about the same time as Arthur’s family. Addie somehow met Arthur through Oral.

That doesn’t help very much, because it just changes the question from “how did Addie meet Arthur?” to “how did Addie meet Oral McClain?” It seems like the answers are equally obscure.

Whatever the case, Arthur and Addie did meet and they did marry. And they did have a wedding portrait taken (as you can see) at the well-known J. G. Crawford studio in Albany.

5 thoughts on “Addie Hammell – Arthur McClain Wedding, 1908”

  1. I guess the custom of the day prevented smiles in such a picture. Would like to see them happier for the occasion! : )

    1. The fact that they weren’t smiling in the portrait doesn’t mean they weren’t happy, of course. 1908 was toward the tail end of the influence of the Victorian era and of the era (carried over from painted portraits) when portrait subjects were supposed to look serious, but that is still what dominated portrait photography for another decade or more. Click on these links from Time and from The Guardian if you want to read more about this.

      There is a sense in which we have been observing (in this blog—though not necessarily in an obvious chronological way) the history of photography playing out before us. The widespread availability of portable cameras for amateurs that seems to have really taken off in the 1910s and 1920s changed photography. It was no longer the exclusive province of professionals mostly in studios—anyone could take a photo anywhere, anytime (with enough light). It was the rise of amateur photography that began to change what sort of facial expressions were acceptable in a photograph. And by our era (the mid-20th century), things had completely reversed and not smiling in a photograph was actually frowned upon.

  2. I am easily confused; how is Deo McClain related to Grandpa? Is he a first cousin? Somehow I don’t think so? Well, anyway I’m glad Deo’s sister was friendly to Grandma; otherwise I wouldn’t be here!!
    I love that wedding picture, even if they aren’t smiling!

    1. I was confused about this for a long time. It comes partly from the fact that I think we’re slightly more familiar with (Great-grandpa) Nathan McClain’s family than we are with (Great-grandma) Mary’s. Add to that the counter-intuitive nature of Mary’s maiden name being “McClain.” We just don’t think of “McClains” being over on her side of the tree. But they are. And some of them were part of the “McClain migration” from Illinois to Nebraska to Oregon. Among them was Mary’s younger brother John Arthur McClain, who seems to have settled in Salem (though he is buried in Albany). John and wife Julia had seven children, only five of which lived past infancy and only three of which lived what we might consider a “normal” lifespan. These children overlapped in age with Mary’s children, so I imagine they were reasonably close cousins. One of those children was John “Deo” McClain and another was his older sister Oral.

      So Deo McClain was (Grandpa) Arthur’s first cousin (six years younger than Arthur). Arthur’s mother and Deo’s father were siblings.

      Perhaps this very abbreviated bit of descendancy chart will help…

      David Hamilton McClain married Mary Elizabeth Lane

      1. William Jasper McClain (died at the Battle of Vicksburg in the Civil War)
      2. Noah Francis McClain
      3. Sarah Ann McClain
      4. Elmina McClain m. Phillip Lierley (mentioned elsewhere in this blog)
      5. Mary Elizabeth McClain m. Nathan McClain
        • Arthur Blaine McClain (I won’t list all his siblings)
      6. James Oliver McClain
      7. Louisa Maggie McClain
      8. Andrew Clark McClain
      9. John Arthur McClain m. Julia Baird
        • Leonard Floyd McClain (apparently lived most of his life in Albany, but I know nothing about him)
        • Oral Geneva McClain
        • John Deo McClain
      10. Ellen Estelle McClain

      Incidentally the Mary Elizabeth Lane that was the mother of the above tribe (our great-great grandmother) is our connection to Tidings (Tidence) Lane, the Colonial/Revolutionary War era preacher and founder of the first church in the Tennessee territory. He was her great-grandfather.

      1. My great grandfather was Nathan and his son, Ellery Coffey was my grandfather.
        My dad was Wiiam Claire, he was the 3rd son of Ellery.
        I know my brothers have been working on the ancestral tree and I have been helping my husband with his.
        Nice to know there are relatives out there whom we have not met.
        My email is or I am on FB under Susan McClain Kuhn.

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