S. Oppenheimer Casings: Who is in this One-hundred-year-old Photo from New Zealand?

S Oppenheimers & Co 2nd (1)I started my Jacullman blog to learn WordPress.  It seemed like a safe virtual home for my dad’s history of S.Oppenheimer Co. –  mainly for preservation – the paper was deteriorating and a virtual back-up gave me peace of mind.  What I didn’t expect were the  wonderful connections that have resulted.

Nola and Kerry Griffiths, sisters from New Zealand,  sent the poignant photograph above. It is incredible in so many ways.  To appreciate the full impact of this image, you can see an enlargement by clicking on it.  What is the origin of  this photo? Wouldn’t it be great to learn the identities of the subjects?  I’ll let Nola and Kerry take it from here:

Have found this website (by accident), only because of a photo I have of people sitting outside a business, with a plaque with Oppenheimer on it. Looks to be around WW 1. It would seem to be workers at the Petone plant in Wellington, New Zealand. I suspect you would love to see a copy of this! I have no idea why my Grandfather would have had this image, may have to look in my Great Grandfathers diary to see if there is any message that associates our family with the business.”

Not recognising anyone in the photograph at all makes it difficult for me to say why my ancestors got a hold of this photograph, it was in a box of my Seymour ancestors stuff, they were prominent sheep farmers in the district, and were possibly suppliers to the Oppenheimer firm? 

So many questions, and hopefully you may have the means to identify someone in the photograph. The other clue is the lack of personnel, I had read that Oppenheimer’s had a team of up to 60 people in later years, there are only 22 in this picture, so might be a clue to an early picture also.

I think I have narrowed down who might be in the photo, I just don’t know what he looks like, so cannot point him out as of yet! I have found out that my G.G.Grandfather, James John Fleet, worked in Petone most of his life, one of his brothers worked at the Gear Meat Company (which sounds as if it was in opposition to Oppenheimer’s).

Finally, Nola and Kerry shared a picture of their great grandfather – who they believe is in the Oppenheimer  photo:
James John Fleet and Olive Ilma Fleet [12214486]

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“Please, Frances, write and tell me why the silence.” Ghosting…1918 Style

Detail of card. Sent from Hempstead in June of 1918.

Tonight I found the saddest letter, addressed to my grandma Francie in Chicago. The writer was “sorely puzzled by [my grandmother’s] continued silence and implored her to “think of me at least once while I am Over There.”

It was signed by a heartbroken “Addie — Only a Private.”  Grandma Francie portrait repaired

I’ll never know if Addie genuinely deserved grandma Francie’s cold shoulder as he headed off to war in the summer of 1918 (reading between the lines, he may have). What I do know is that she married my grandfather the following year – and on a hot September night in a new century, I pulled Addie’s letter from  a grey cardboard box. I hope he went on to have a good life.

Click image to read transcribed letter :

Transcribed. Click on this thumbnail to read the letter.

Click to read the letter.

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Found Family Slides – NYC 1971


They were still under construction, and although in the background, the World Trade Center buildings were the stars of the pictures taken by my father, who was born in NYC in 1915. I am glad he was not here to witness the day the towers fell.

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