Secret Lovers

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Sarah Gregory (seated left) and B. Goodell – May 1, 1863

Sarah Jane “Jennie” Gregory first said  “I do” when she was 64 years old.  She wed Theodore A. Collier, 62, in Pontiac, Michigan, on February 27, 1912.  It was his first trip to the altar, as well.  As strange as this late-in-life marriage may seem, what makes it all the more interesting is that the two lived together for 41 years before saying “I do!”

Jennie, working as a servant and housekeeper, moved into Theodore’s home in 1871, when the two were in their early twenties.  He was working the family farm and supporting his mother, Eliza, and his divorced sister, Isadore.

Were Jennie and Theo lovers all those years?  If so, what stopped them from marrying sooner?  Did Theo’s family disapprove?  Theo’s mother died in 1890.  His sister continued living with him until her death in 1907.  If family strain prevented the nuptials, it seems unlikely Theo and Jennie would have waited five years after Isadore’s passing to tie the knot.  Is it possible they had unspoken, romantic feelings for each other, only to become brave enough to profess their love when they were older?  Or, I suppose it could have been a marriage of convenience, either financial or otherwise.  But, I do hope my first theory is the correct one.

Jennie died on December 10, 1917, and Theo married once more to Sadie (nee Owen) Newell in 1919.

Sources:
Census records
Michigan death records
Michigan marriage records
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Oakland County Michigan, 1903
History of Oakland County, Michigan; A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests, Volume 2, by Thaddeus De Witt Seely, 1912

Living with Hoboes

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I admired this cased ambrotype, along with a smaller, cased tintype (shown at the end of this post), for at least a year, as they sat listed on etsy.  The seller mistakenly  identified the sitter as William Wallace.  He overlooked the next word, which I came to discover was the surname of Hungerford.

William Wallace Hungerford was aged 16 when the above image was captured on January 1, 1861, in Lansing, Michigan.  He was the son of a farmer, Lyman Hungerford, and grew to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Although I’m sure William’s life wasn’t uneventful, it doesn’t appear to have garnered much attention in the newspapers.  That is, until he ran off to live with hoboes.

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A Hell for the Sick

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Jessie Calhoun’s cabinet card photo was found in an album that belonged to Jessie Sylvester.  I believe the girls were cousins, as there are shared surnames in their respective family trees.  However, I was unable to find a direct link.

Born in 1867, in Ashtabula county, Ohio, Jessie’s father, Porter Calhoun, was a farmer, and her mother, Carrie (nee Stillman), was a milliner.  It appears that her parents separated when she was a child.  Jessie never married, and from what I can tell, lived with her mother throughout her life.  Both mother and daughter ended up in the Cleveland State Hospital for the Insane, described as a hell for the sick.

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R.J. Terry’s Snap Shot

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Born in 1860, in Alabama, Reavis Johnston “R.J.” Terry was named after his father’s mentors.  As a young teen, R.J.’s father, John Taliaferro Terry, lost his father and was taken in by his sister’s husband, Colonel Robert Johnston.  John became a lawyer, like Johnston, and went into a law partnership with the Honorable Turner Reavis.

1925 Mar 7 TERRY RJ Obit The Birmingham News Alabama
Birmingham News (Alabama) – Mar. 7, 1925

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Interesting to note, from a research standpoint, I would not have been able to identify this sitter if the person had not penned “Birmingham, Ala.” after the name.  I would have been looking in the location of the photographer, E.J. Dunshee, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Although R.J. may have lived in Philadelphia at some time during his life, I did not find a record of it.

Sources:
Census records
History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4, published 1921
Birmingham, Alabama City Directory

Blushing Brothers

blog HARRIS George and James
Click image for a larger view

The blushing brothers are George and James Harris.  Who’s who is uncertain.  They were very close in age, born just two years apart; James on January 10, 1872 and George on March 10, 1874.  On George’s WWI draft card, he’s said to have black hair and brown eyes.  I wasn’t able to locate a card for James.

blog HARRIS Nora Bell0001

Found along with this image was a cabinet card photo of the boys’ younger sister, Nora Belle, born in 1877.  At age 18, she married William Mathison and they had 10 children.

The siblings were born and raised in Cheatham County, Tennessee.  As adults, they lived in Nashville.

Sources:
Census records
Tennessee death records
WWI draft registration

Would the real John Pease, please stand up.

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Recently, I happened upon a tintype of a gentleman posed next to a small, decorative table.  Written on the front of the paper sleeve frame is “Mr. John Pease.”  I immediately recognized the table as one in a photo already in my collection.

In an earlier post, I featured a carte de visite of Sophia Germann.  The photographer, J. F. Rank of Van Wert, Ohio, seated Sophia next to the same unique, stag head table!

table GERMANN Sophia

In the larger scan below, you can better see that the table detail matches the one in the carte de visite of Sophia.  Look at the chain that dangles from the table top, and the etched lines on the legs.

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The tintype of Mr. John Pease does not provide the photographer’s identity or location, but, could the table provide the missing link? Continue reading

David Aker’s Snap Shot

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I picked up this tintype, housed in a paper frame, in Markle, Indiana.  Writing on the back reads “Whitley Co. Ind.”

I find it difficult to date this tintype based on the young man’s fashion.  If I had to make a guess, I would say late 1860s to mid 1870s, based on the felt hat and piped edge suit lapels.  I welcome anyone with more knowledge about Victorian men’s fashion to provide input.

I found two men named David Aker living in Whitley County, Indiana.  One, born in 1812, was a farmer in Whitley County.  He would have been in his fifties when the photo was captured, making him too old to be the sitter.  Another, born in 1874, would have been too young to be the sitter.

One thing to note is that the latter David Aker was also found in records as Frank David Aker.  This raises a good question.  Could David have been the sitter’s middle name, and/or a name that he didn’t use consistently, especially on paperwork, like census records?  Frank David Aker’s father was George Aker, born about 1839.  If my dating of this tintype is correct, George would have been in his early twenties when this photo was taken, and would fit the sitter’s age.  However, I find no record of George’s middle name or of him using the name David.

This is another rescued photo that remains a mystery, for now.

Sources:
Census records
Death records