I discovered these photos in a shop in Warsaw, Indiana. Although the gentleman sitter has his name, John William Stuck, written on the back of the cabinet card, he would be impossible to identify if it hadn’t been for the second photo found in the pile. That photo, a cabinet card featuring three children, identified on the back as Mabel Stuck, Susie Tyrone Stuck, and Clesson Daniel Stuck, provided a location of Elkhart, Indiana.
John William Stuck was born in 1856 in Pennsylvania and came with his family, as a young boy, to Elkhart, Indiana where he wed Mary Prudence Newman. The couple made their home in Elkhart, where they raised their seven children, the eldest three being Mabel, Clesson, and Susie. Based on how old the children appear to be in the photo, along with the fact that John and Mary welcomed a son, Bernard, in 1894, I date the children’s photo to 1892 or 1893.
In order to date John’s photo, I consulted the 19th Century Card Photos KwikGuide by Gary W. Clark. His hair and clothing appear to fit with styles seen from 1879 to 1885. The turned up collar, which was popular in the 1850s and 60s, was making a comeback in the 1880s. He isn’t wearing a wedding ring, which may be a clue that the photo was taken prior to his marriage in 1881. Of course, it’s also possible that he didn’t wear a ring.
During his life, John worked as a carriage maker and later was employed as a wood pattern maker by the Elkhart (Elcar) Motor Company. I suspect that he began working for the motor company when it was known as Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing.
I should be satisfied to have rescued these images, but I can’t help but wish that I found a photo of Mary and the other children. It would be nice to complete the family and keep them together.
Coachbuilt – History of Elkhart Carriage and Elkhart Auto