A picture is worth a thousand words – which is good because I don’t have a thousand words to write about this one. It’s one of my favorite photos, shared with me by cousin Linda Esquibel. This is Moses Riley Robbins, born in Decatur County, Indiana, in 1838, and taken to Missouri and then Iowa at a young age. He and his first wife Catherine and their two children left Iowa for Oregon in 1865, with brother Samuel Robbins and his family. They settled in Benton County, Oregon, but sometime after 1880 moved to Victoria, British Columbia. What inspired the move to Canada is not known, but Moses lived out his life there and has many descendants.
Linda reports that Moses was probably about 70 years of age when he was photographed riding an ostrich, which would date the photo to about 1908. She also reports it was probably taken in Enderby, British Columbia, which is in the south-central part of the province, in the Okanagan region. I tried to research ostriches specifically in Enderby but came up with a blank. I did find that the early 1900s saw a lot of unusual animal-raising for food and other purposes in North America. Ostriches were raised because their feathers were popular for women’s hats.
Strangely enough, when I shared this photo with my local genealogy society, at least one member said “I have one of my ancestor riding an ostrich too!” Apparently, as I discovered searching Google Images on the Internet, it was very popular to ride ostriches and there are lots of old, early 1900s, photos of this activity. Who knew?
(Jacob Robbins-Absalom Robbins-John Robbins-Moses Riley Robbins)