Erle Amariah Smith, Jr.

Update: Has been RETURNED!

Happiness is in the little things. Like throwing a stone into water, causing it to splash, probably made this little boy giggle with joy. The slightly faded photograph was gifted to me by a fellow photo collector with a comment that this photo came to him from the United States.

The identification on the back of the photo is very faded but I could identify the little boy as one

Erle A. Smith, Jr.

and the photo is dated 1928.

A possible match could be one Erle A. Smith, Jr., born on October 2nd, 1925, in New Lisbon, New York. This would make the little boy in this photograph about 3 years old.

I used the “Jr.” at the end of his name as a clue to search for his father, who was possibly also named Erle A. Smith, and came across the record of the Smith family in the 1930 Census of New Lisbon, Otsego, New York.

Father Erle A. Smith, born on November 17th, 1881, in New York, was working on a dairy farm in 1930. He had married Harriet Grace née Moore, born in 1894 in New York, on August 18th, 1915, in Otsego, New York, probably shortly before being drafted to serve in WWI.

Erle Sr. and Harriet had three children:

– Francis W. Smith, 1916-1973

– Virginia M. Smith, born in about 1919,

– Erle A. Smith, born in 1925.

In 1940, the family was living in Morris, Otsego, New York. Erle Jr. was the only child still living with his parents. Erle Sr. had taken up work as bus driver. Erle Sr. passed away in 1950 at the age of 68.

I found a photo of Erle Jr. in uniform on the website Find A Grave (Clilck HERE). It’s difficult to compare my photo with this one as we cannot see the boy’s face. But if my research is correct, this little boy grew up to be a brave patriot like his father and brother. According to the Find A Grave information on him, he served as a pilot in the US Navy during WWII. He then became a prinicipal at Center Street School in Oneonta.

Erle passed away in November 2008 and at the time, he was living in Port Charlotte in Florida.

I’ve reached out to Erle’s family to see if this photo is perhaps missed. Let’s hope I will be able to return it soon!

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