Photos of May’s growing-up years, 1886 – 1899

Three kittens in the window, Canyon City, ca. 1899

Here are some photographs that I wasn’t able to include in the book, from May’s childhood and teenage years.

Olive Perryman Ripley with her three eldest daughters, ca. 1886.  May was about seven, baby Maggie was born in 1886), and Nora was about two.  The family was living in Poweshiek County, Iowa at this time.

Olive Perryman Ripley with May (abt. 7), baby Maggie (born 1886) and Nora (abt. 2). Ca. 1886.

May Martha Ripley on her 19th birthday (24 Sept. 1898) in Canyon City, John Day, Oregon.  She inscribed the photo to her mother, Olive Ripley, and on the bottom of the frame wrote “Guess Who”.  Family lore is that May was in love with a Catholic boy in John Day at this time.

May Martha Ripley on her 19th birthday, 24 Sept. 1898. John Day, Oregon.

Here is a photo of the Ripley family in John Day, Oregon (Canyon City).  It must be ca. 1899.  Olive Ripley, May’s mother is on the far left.  Her father, Jehu, is the man with the beard.  May is behind the girl wearing a tartan dress.  This was only a short time before her parents  sent her off to Northern California to be married to a man named John Diddy.  Although it is not a very happy photograph, I love the three kittens pawing at the closed window (close-up below the main photo).

Ripleys in Canyon City, John Day, Oregon, ca. 1899. Back row from left to right: Olive Perryman Ripley, Jehu Beal Ripley, man in hat unidentified. Middle row, from left: Ray Asbury Ripley (abt. 10), May Martha Ripley (abt. 19), unidentified woman; the girl in the tartan dress is unidentified; children in the front row are unidentified. The others in this photo may be members of the family of May's uncle, John Henry Ripley.

The three kittens in the window:

Three kittens in the window, Canyon City, Oregon, ca. 1899


  1. Wow, amazing that some of these are from John Day! I always forget that it used to be quite the boom-town; I’m impressed at how in-style May’s 1898 dress was. She’s really rocking that odd turn-of-the-century S-shaped corset look, and I love the lapped & bow-tied waistband. LOVE it when the original users of old photographs have written notes on the margins/backs; a whole story is encapsulated right there, isn’t it?

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