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River Road House
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The man partially hidden behind his horse is probably John Melnik and the girl opposite him is probably his daughter, Annie. The year was about 1906 or 1908; Annie would have been eight or ten years old The Melniks' home was on River Road in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, a property near the banks of the Connecticut River. John and Thekla Melnik emigrated from the province of Galicia in the Polish regions of Russia in 1898 with their two young sons, Nicholas (born 1890) and Henry (b. 1896). By 1910, the couple had had ten children, of whom only those three and another son, Andrew (b. 1897) had survived. Andrew had apparently been out of the country or away from Deerfield when the 1910 census was taken. The 1920 census enumerated him, along with his wife Julia, 20 years old and also from Galicia. It listed Andrew's birth place as "Brazil," implying the family may have had an unusual journey from Poland to America.
<BR>This photograph comes from the Howes Brothers collection of photographs. The Howes Brothers, based in Ashfield, Massachusetts, made more than 20,000 images of New England rural life from 1890 to around 1910, offering a glimpse into the lives of people rarely visible in history.
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