Written on the back of a photo…

Remembering who our ancestors were

I love looking through our old family photos; it’s fascinating to read the brief descriptions which have been written on the back of the photographs, bringing context to the picture and adding to the story behind the photo.  In this digital age, I’m worried that in 50 or 100 years time, there will be billions of digital images available, but they won’t have the benefit of these little descriptive gems written on the back, and so those of us alive now will be uncaptioned, and we’ll become anonymous.

Although the following is most likely a work of fiction, I love the way in which this American gentleman, Remus Reid, has been portrayed by descendants had the following biographical sketch written about him:

Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory.

His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.

In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.


The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.


On the back of this picture is this inscription: ‘Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.


This entry was posted in Photography.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *