Pat Cook’s family portrait wound up in a sale basket in Archbold, Ohio. While the cabinet card shows a lot of wear, and the mother and daughter on the left appear ghostly pale, the overall depth and detail of the sitter’s images held up well. The balloon-like sleeves of the daughter on the right helped me date this photo to the 1890s. And although the boy isn’t sporting the long hair and ringlets that accompanied the Lord Fauntleroy craze of the mid 1890s, his wide, white shirt collar fits the fashion.
As I was preparing to admit defeat that I would never identify this family, I got the answer I had been hoping for…from the grave.
I picked up these old photos from a wonderful shop on etsy, The Wurdeman Studio. If you love old things, especially photos and jewelry, take a moment to check it out.
The back of this cabinet card photo reads, “J.W. Helton & J.W. Hibbs, Unionville, Mo, Age 27 & 30.” James Helton and John Hibbs grew up together in Unionville. The posing of the two men made me think of a best man helping a groom get ready for his big day. However, according to the ages, this photo would have been taken in 1895. James, on the left, first married Cerula Caster in 1897 and then married newly turned 18 year old Emma Josephine Severs in 1899.
I believe this second image was captured about 1890. The man sitting is identified as James Helton, and appears to be in his early twenties. The back identifies the man standing, only as “Helton.” James had brothers who would have been 24 and 18 at the time. However, I think the second man in this photo looks an awful lot like John W. Hibbs.
Trigger Warning: This post contains descriptions of domestic and sexual violence.
“Aunt Margret Newkirk” is written on the back of this cabinet card that was found in Auburn, Indiana. The sitter is Margaret (nee Warwick). The inscription leads me to believe this photo belonged to Maud Kelley, a foster daughter, who lived in the Newkirk home for some years, and who fondly referred to the sitter as Aunt Margret (a variation of Margaret.)
Margaret Newkirk was a daughter, a wife, and a mother. But, she wasn’t defined by the traditional roles of women in the 19th century. You see, Margaret was a suffragette!
On January 27, 1890, Emma (nee Berger) Toomey, aged 26, died after being run over by a train. Almost two years later, on December 23, 1891, her husband, Michael Toomey, was also “killed by the cars.” It’s believed they were struck because they couldn’t hear the train coming, as both Emma and Michael lost their hearing as the result of childhood illnesses.