Mystery photo

June 8, 2014

We knew last week’s Mystery Photo depicting six men wearing neckties, aprons and headgear resembling something from a science fiction movie would present a challenge to our readers.

To our surprise, however, three readers were able to identify four of the men and offer a plausible explanation as to what they were doing.

Helen Gump of Waynesburg quickly said, “The man second from the right was my father, Andrew Bedillion, and he and the others were all members of East Franklin Grange.” Gump said her father was chaplain of the grange and worked in the timber industry.

As it turns out, at least by partial consensus from Gump and two other callers, the men were “probably” preparing food to sell at the Greene County Fair.

Now, where that food preparation was taking place remains somewhat in question, although there was nearly unanimous consent it probably was in the basement of the grange hall that, back in the 1950s when it is believed this photo was taken, was located at the site where the Sheetz store sits today on Route 21 in Franklin Township. The grange has since moved to 2262 Smith Creek Road.

Now, as to the other gentlemen, Audrey Comport, who lives on Route 218 south, was confident the man on the far right was Lemoyne Conklin, and she said Wayne Ammons is pictured third from the left. Comport said Ammons worked with her father, R. Edgar Kiger, at People’s Natural Gas.

There is a slight difference of opinion regarding the man who is between Ammons and Bedillion. Comport believes it was Harvey Strosnider, who also worked at People’s, while another caller, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she believed it was Harold Wilson.

An old news clipping from 1967 did mention Wilson as being master of East Franklin Grange.

What still remains a mystery, though, is the identification of the two men at far left, and what the men are wearing on their heads.

“Maybe they had to wear hats when they worked with food,” Gump said. “I don’t think they had anything to do with rituals, or anything like that. But they are strange.”

Look for another Mystery Photo in next Monday’s Observer-Reporter.

Jon Stevens was the Observer-Reporter’s Greene County bureau chief. During his 41 years with the O-R, he covered county government, courts and politics, and won statewide and regional writing awards.

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