This picture below, of Malissa, was taken about 1930. Am I imagining it, or is there really no resemblance?
Back to the two seated ladies in the first picture. When I first saw this picture several years ago, I had no idea who Alla and Flora might be. But I've done some research since then ;-) and the only people in my genealogy database that "fit" in any way whatsoever (assuming the people in the picture are related) are Alice and Flora Joslin, daughters of Malissa's uncle Edwin Joslin, and thus, her first cousins. Of course, I don't know for sure, but that's who I think they are.
Malissa was born in June 1849 while Alice was born about 1858 and Flora between 1852-1855. I don't think the lady standing looks old enough to be the mother of Alice and Flora (their mother was born in February 1839). There were two other sisters in their family, Pauline born in 1859 and Nellie in 1862. But the lady in the middle seems to me to be a bit older than the other two ladies.
Here is what I know about Alice and Flora Joslin, daughters of Edwin Mattoon and Sarah (Fellows) Joslin:
Sadly, I haven't been able to find out anything more about Alice. She appears with her parents and siblings in the 1860 and 1870 census records (Henry County, Illinois and LaPorte County, Indiana, respectively) but that's it. I'm guessing she married prior to 1880 and I haven't looked for her in marriage records yet.
Flora also appears with her parents in the 1860 and 1870 census records. I haven't found her in the 1880 census but in 1900 she is living with her husband, William Clark and son Clifford Clark in Sangamon County, Illinois. Her parents, Edwin and Sarah were also living with them. In 1910, Flora and her husband were still living in Sangamon County. Their 22 year old son, Clifford was living with them as was 27 year old Edward M. Cole who was listed as William's stepson. This seems to indicate that Flora was married first to Mr. Cole, first name unknown. Flora hasn't been found in the 1930 census; in 1920 she was a widow and still living in Sangamon County.
The Illinois death index has an entry for Flora Clark, aged 97 years, who died May 4, 1949 in Sangamon County. Her obituary, obtained by another researcher (thank you Lorene), was found in the Illinois State Journal of May 5, 1949:
"Mrs. Flora Clark, 97, of Berlin, died yesterday afternoon in a Springfield nursing home. She was born Aug. 22, 1851, in Columbia City, Ind., a daughter of E. M. and Sarah Fellows Joslin. She came to Illinois 51 years ago.Census records indicate that Flora was born in 1855 or 1857 (in 1860 she was 5 years old, in 1870 age 15, in 1900 she was 42 (born Aug 1857), in 1910 she was 55 and in 1920 she was aged 63) so she apparently aged a few extra years after 1920. The obituary also shows a daughter that did not appear in the census records, opening an avenue for additional research.
She is survived by two sons, Ed M. Cole, of New Berlin, and Clifford Clark, of Springfield; a daughter, Mrs. W. E. Knarr, of DuBois, Pa.; one stepson, Frank Clark, of Springfield. Two sisters and a brother preceded her in death. The body was removed to the McCullogh funeral home in New Berlin."
Perhaps a relative or someone "out there" in cyberspace will find this and know for sure who these people are. If so, please contact me at kinexxions "at" gmail "dot" com - you would make me so happy!