The Iredell County Public Library recently received a donation of an old burgundy cloth-bound Victorian photo album that belonged to Leila Houpe Holland of Statesville. The photo album contains 39 photographs of people from the Houpe, Holland, Dotson, Vaughn, Deaton, and Turner families. The album goes back to 1893 and perhaps earlier as it includes four tintype photos which are unnamed. The album was donated by Leila’s nephew, C. Donald Stevenson, Jr., a former resident of Statesville now living in Morganton, N.C. Lelia even leaves us a note on the back of photo #34 saying, “Saturday night, Sept. 9th, 1893, Ever Remember it, A rainy time, Ha, Ha!”
Lelia Houpe Holland was born at Cool Springs in Iredell County on November 28, 1876 to Pleasant Rockwell Houpe and Elizabeth Dotson Houpe. She was married on Nov. 24, 1909 to Forrest Burette Holland (12-19-1879 – 2-27-1955) who was born in Olin, Iredell County and was the son of John T. and Elizabeth Reid Holland. Lelia was a member of the Broad Street Methodist Church in Statesville and was a life member in the Women’s Society of Christian Service. She died at the age of 89 at her home at 517 Stockton Street in Statesville on July 5, 1966. Both she and her husband Forrest are buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Statesville.
The album was passed down by Lelia Houpe Holland to her daughter Elizabeth Holland Goodrum Abernathy upon Lelia’s death in 1966. Elizabeth Abernathy was employed at the Iredell County Register of Deeds when it was located at the old Iredell County Court House on South Center and Court Streets. Upon her death the album passed to her husband Jeeter Abernathy who later died in a house fire at his home on Stockton Street in 1973. Don Stevenson grew up with his parents at 240 North Bost and Stockton Streets diagonally across from Lelia and Forrest Holland’s house on the southwest corner of Davie Avenue and North Park Street.
At the time of the fire Don was living in Lenoir, but his mother, Sue Holland Stevenson, who was a sister of Lelia’s husband Forest B. Holland, notified Don of the fire and he came to Statesville the following day and rescued the Lelia’s photo album from the fire rubble. Attempts to contact Jeeter and Elizabeth’s two sons who had relocated to Virginia were unsuccessful. Mr. Stevenson kept the album for safe-keeping in hopes the images could someday be shared with other members of the Houpe and Holland families.
The Iredell County Public Library has digitized the photographs to ensure their survival and to make the images available on the Internet at www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections. The original photographs have been scanned and saved as 600 dpi Tiffs. What we have uploaded on Flickr is both the original image as it now appears and a second “enhanced” copy that was touched up with Photoshop. We have scanned both the front and the backs of most of the images. Many of the photographs were taken by William Jasper Stimson who would have been using glass plate negatives. Some of these photographs are unnamed and we welcome the public’s assistance in helping identify these people.
To download an image from the library’s Flickr page for personal use first open the website at www.flickr.com/photos/icplphotos/collections. Click on the photo collection you would like to view such as the Stimson or Tharpe Collections. Select a photo you would like to download by clicking on it. Once the photo comes up you will see 3 dots on the right side of the page. Click on the 3 dots and a box will pop up saying, “Download All Sizes.” Click on “Download” and select the size you want. Then choose how and where you want to save the photo. You may also be able to right click on the photo and choose, “Save As.” The photographs are not to be used for commercial or for-profit use. Please remember to always record the name of the photographer and keep it with the image.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Old Photos rescued from the rubble, posted online” on Nov. 9, 2014