That is a FABULOUS story Abbeygal!!!!
I was wondering, how did you come to know that there was *someone* around you? How old were you? Did you buy some sort of antique or memorabilia that he was "attached" to? Did he tell you what kind of relationship you both had?
Thanks for sharing!!!....
If anyone wants to see the photo and a comparison shot of me at the same age, PM me. Unfortunately, I would have to have the historical society's permission to legally post it here.
I only found the photos just within the past few weeks, although I've been communicating with him since just after Halloween The soldier came from an abolitionist family whose house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The house is now a museum and is well known to be haunted by a handful of prankster ghosts. I worked there as a docent for a year and had all kinds of experiences - my clothing being tugged, hearing footsteps and voices when no one was around, etc. After I got locked in the restroom at Halloween, I knew it had to be the young Civil War soldier who was responsible, as who else but a college age guy would think that was funny? So I made an effort to communicate with him.
Finding his picture alone was an experience. Once I started communicating with him, I started bugging him for a picture of him. 2 weeks after my first request, a watercolor of him was featured in the museum newsletter. It had a big crease though the image, so I asked for a better picture. A month or so later, they started selling notecards of that watercolor in the gift shop. Of course I bought one. I suspected that neither the watercolor nor the oil painting of him in the parlor were a good likeness, though, so I pestered him again for an actual photograph of him.
The next weekend, I was watching a documentary on the Civil War put out by the state historical society. Whose picture should show up in it but my soldier's? That was maybe 3 days after I had asked him for an actual photograph of himself. It was definitely him, as it was pretty obviously the photograph that both the watercolor and the oil painting were based off of. What are the chances of that? Even the museum house itself does not have a copy of this photo. I grabbed a screen capture so I'd have a copy of my own. A few months later, I started working at the historical society that put out the documentary. I managed to track down his photo in a file of 70 unidentified Civil War soldiers. They only have maybe 100 pictures of Civil War soldiers altogether, so the odds of them having one of him at all are pretty darn low.