52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – The Pypers

Four generations of Pyper men in 1897

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Welcome to Tenacious Genealogy! This is another post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge that I’m participating in this year. It is a challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow every year and I figured I’d get in on the fun.

This is the week 8 prompt (which you can already tell I’m lagging behind on) and it is: ‘Family Photo’.

While I am lucky to have access to many family photos passed down through the generations, I figured I’d choose one that pops up less often in my research, but is nonetheless cool.

Four Generation Challenge – 19th-century style

This is a family photo of the Pyper men from 1897. It is like the 19th-century version of the four-generation challenge that went viral earlier this year. Four generations of Pyper men – which given the much shorter average lifespan during the 19th century – is pretty cool. (To put this into context, the average lifespan in 1900 for white males in the United States was about 46 years old.)

Four generations of Pyper men. John Pyper (age 76/77) on far right with gray head and facial hair. His grandson, John Barton Pyper (age 24/25) sits next to him and is clean shaven. On John Barton's lap sits Harold Johnson Pyper (age about 1 year) in a white ankle length baby dress (which contrasts with the dark black suits of the other men) and shoulder length curled hair. On the far right is, John Barton's father, James Munro Gardner Pyper (age 49/50). He has dark facial hair that looks like it is starting to go gray. He also has a severely receding hairline on top. The picture is a portrait style photo that looks as if it was taken inside of a photo studio.

In this picture are three of my direct grandfathers and a grand-uncle (my grandmother’s eldest brother).

3x great grandfather: John Pyper (1820-1912) Age 76/77

2x great grandfather: James Munro Gardner Pyper (1847-1902) Age 49/50

1x great grandfather: John Barton Pyper (1872-1945) Age 24/25

Granduncle: Harold Johnson Pyper (1896-1977) Age 0/1


John Pyper was born in Scotland in 1820 to Alexander Pyper and Catherine Munro. (Family lore and records state Balnagown, Kilmuir, Ross, Scotland. There is a small village of Kilmuir near Balnagown Castle where generations of Munros apparently live, so this is likely correct.) He married Mary Madelene Gardner in 1846 after immigrating to the US and settling in Nauvoo. He, his wife, and their children eventually traveled west to Utah where he passed away in 1912 at the age of 92.

James Munro Gardner Pyper (JMG Pyper for the rest of this post) was born in Missouri in 1847 to John Pyper and Mary Madelene Gardner. He was married twice and had five children with his first wife (my ancestor) and then nine children with his second wife. He lived in Utah for the majority of his life, however, when he passed away in 1902 at the age of 55, he was living in Taylorville, Alberta, Canada.

John Barton Pyper was born in 1872 to JMG Pyper and his first wife, Mary Ann Barton. He was their eldest son and not quite seven years old when his mother passed away. In 1895, he married Sarah Elizabeth Johnson and they ended up having eleven children in the next twenty years, including my grandmother in 1911 and her older brother in 1896. He passed away in 1945 at the age of 72.

Harold Johnson Pyper was born in 1896 in Park City, Utah. He was the eldest son and child of John Barton Pyper and Sarah Elisabeth Johnson. In 1918, he married Verda Wright and in the next fourteen years became the father of five daughters. In 1977, he passed away at the ripe old age of 80.

Even though only three of the four men in the picture are direct ancestors of mine, the picture is still a fascinating shot of four generations of Pypers and the world at the turn of the century.

Questions & Comments?

Questions or comments about this post? Any cool or interesting photos in your family? Any that you wished you had? Curious about the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge? Let me know in the comments! And if you like what you’ve been seeing on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get freebies such as ‘10 Tips For Starting your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber-only’ items.

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