Big lives

Del CorningThis illustration was a technique demo for my illustration class. I like doing faces for this technique. It typically yields positive results for the students.

I found and chose an image of Del Corning, a distant great uncle. I liked his moustache and the photo had strong lighting which helps in this illustration technique.

My paternal grandmother’s family tree includes Cornings from back east. Del Corning, his father and brothers were some of the first settlers in Ottawa County in Kansas. They were witness to and involved in the great Indian raid of 1869 where several women from Delphos and Concordia were abducted and other settlers were killed. One was killed just a quarter mile from the farm where I grew up. Del was chased by Indians from his homestead on Pipe Creek to Minneapolis, Kansas where he rode to alert the town and to get help organized. He also rode on to Solomon, Kansas to alert the military and governor of the raid. This is a pretty stimulating story for a boy growing up on a farm in a very isolated part of Kansas. It is one of my favorite family stories. It is also what I mean when I talk about these ancestors having “big lives”.

It was talked about in the family that the Cornings were part of the family that started Corningware. We always wondered where that inheritance went. I recently discovered that the Corning family itself did not start Corningware. Corningware was named after the city of Corning, New York were the company was located. Corning, New York though was named after a great Uncle who was a railroad tycoon and the Governor of New York, Erastus Corning. Don’t know where that inheritance went either. There were family stories about my great, great grandmother coming from “money”. Again, “big lives”.

The Cornings have been in North America since the 1640’s, originally locating in Massachusetts.

© 2014 Russell Nelson

Published by rlnelson

Professor of Art: Graphic Design Instructor at Truman State University