This family photo of the Hugh Sr. and Violet Sheeks Family was purchased at Backyard Antiques in Clinton, Arkansas on August 1, 2015. The name written on the paper frame is a huge help. With an unusual last name like Sheeks, it was easy to find them. A google search landed a December 2013 obituary for Hugh Jr. who is pictured at back left. He was born in Missouri in 1932. The obituary says he is survived by his brother Oliver Perry Sheeks, five sons, and one daughter. The names of the sons and daughter are listed but no residence information. Another search found that Hugh Jr.’s wife passed away within days of his death. They are buried in Pearson, Arkansas…not that many miles from where the photo turned up in the flea market. The father in the picture, Hugh Sheeks, Sr. has a WWI draft registration on www.FamilySearch.org. It says Hugh was born in Ozone, Arkansas in 1895 and registered for the draft in Mercer County, West Virginia. His FindaGrave.com entry shows that he died July 1, 1975 and is buried in Cotter, Arkansas. The mom in the photo, Violet Sheeks, was born in 1905 and died in 1980, also buried at Cotter. Raymond Lee Sheeks, the son pictured at far right, was born in 1934 in Missouri and died in Orange County, California in 2001 according to the social security death index found at FamilySearch.org.
I’m trying to determine if Oliver Perry Sheeks is still living. Last known address was in Flippin, Arkansas. The number called was not in service. Next option would be to find a grandchild of Hugh Sr. and Violet Sheeks. The hunt is on for descendants!
UPDATE: I titled this post as “Looking for Grandchildren” and that’s what I got! Grandson Stephen Sheeks of Barlow, Kentucky was recently reminiscing about his childhood. The memories were especially poignant because one of his brothers is terminally ill. He did an internet search with the family name and the name of the place his grandparents had lived in Arkansas and was astonished to find the family photo at www.ReturnthePhotos.com along with genealogical information about the family that I had found on www.FamilySearch.org and other websites.
Stephen’s uncle, Perry Sheeks, is the only survivor from the family photo. Perry lives at Flippin, near Cotter, Arkansas and believes the photo was made in 1942 in Nevada, Missouri before the family moved to Cotter in 1944. He was six years old.
Perry’s father, Hugh Sheeks, Sr. was a roundhouse foreman for Missouri Pacific Railroad. The midway point on the line between Kansas City and Memphis was at Cotter where there was an 11-car roundhouse and engine maintenance and repairs were done. His father’s aptitude for making things work was passed on to Perry, who obtained three degrees in engineering. The bulk of his 44-year engineering career was spent in the aerospace industry in southern California with a division of Rockwell International which was acquired by Boeing. Perry and his wife, Sharon, retired back home, across the river from Cotter.
Sadly, Perry confirmed that his older brothers, Hugh Jr. and Raymond have both passed away. Perry says this photo is the only family photo from that era, and he did not have a copy of it. He plans to place it on his mantle.
Stephen speculated on how the photo likely landed in a flea market. Stephen’s father and mother resided at Cove Creek in Pearson, near Quitman and Heber Springs in their retirement years. His father, Hugh Jr., passed away in December 2013 and his mother just days later. Their children had gone through possessions and some things were stored on the place in a metal shed with two locks on the door. A trunk containing old family photos and other items was stored in the shed. Sometime the shed was vandalized and the trunk and other items stolen. Likely the trunk and contents were then sold at auction and an unsuspecting flea market booth owner purchased it and offered it for sale in the flea market booth.
The Sheeks family would love to have the contents of the old trunk back, with no questions asked. The contents would have value only to their family. Stephen Sheeks asks that you contact him at [email protected] if other Sheeks photos or memorabilia are found.
UPDATE MARCH 30, 2016….the grateful grandson, Stephen Sheeks, who discovered this family picture on my website and subsequently received it for the family, has sent me a generous $50 gift card. That gift has been used to purchase about 30 more pictures. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Thank you to the Sheeks family for supporting this effort to return family photos!