I picked this picture to blog about. I call it, "The first three Dan Coffmans."
The man with the baby is my great-grandfather, and the baby is my grandfather. (Hi, wee Grandpa!) They were all named Dan Coffman. The elderly gentleman was my great-grandfather's uncle and namesake. He was an older brother to my great-grandfather's father, Sylvan, and I think he must have been quite close to the family, since not only did his brother name his first son for him, but his son named his own son for him. You might think my grandpa was named for his dad, but his dad quite explicitly named him for his dad's uncle, because he also gave him his uncle's middle name.
Doesn't the elder Dan Coffman look like Col. Sanders? And, as it happens, he did serve in the Civil War, but as a very young man, and he mustered out after four years with no higher rank than Private. However, he then served in the Spanish American War, and was a Colonel then. Heh.
It's often enlightening to think about who is taking the picture, and in this case I think it is Sylvan Coffman, Col. Coffman's younger brother. He is photographing his favorite brother, his son and his grandson, who all have the same name.
The Dan Coffman holding the baby divorced his wife in a time when that wasn't done, and married a woman named Rachel. The story is that he met Rachel after a bank robbery. Rachel was a bank teller and she was locked in the bank vault with the other employees. Dan was the man with the tools who got them all out. He and Rachel had a daughter and they had a musical act with the daughter. They traveled around to places like Elks Lodges and played the banjo and sang. Meanwhile the baby on his lap in the picture and a second child were being raised by his first wife.