Isabella Moore’s Snapshot

bMrs Moore

This cabinet card was a lovely gift from a fellow photo collector.  In addition to the writing on the front of the card, identifying the sitter as Mrs. Moore, a cousin from Nova Scotia, there is writing on the reverse that narrows her identity to Mrs. W. H. Moore.  I’m grateful to the relative who added those initials, as without them, I would not have been able to make a confident match.

Based on Mrs. Moore’s fashion, I date the photo to the late 1880s, and I estimate that she is in her early fifties.  I find just one Mrs. W. H. Moore, living in the North Sydney area, who fits this framework.

Isabella Marian (nee Robertson), wife of William Henry Moore, lived in the province of Nova Scotia all her life.  She married William, in North Sydney, on July 14, 1863.  From the limited census records I was able to view, it appears that William was a merchant.  Three of Isabella’s six children died during childhood: Horace Edwin Moore remained in Canada throughout his life; Annie Moore married Thomas Campbell, a druggist, and they immigrated to the United States in 1897, living in Massachusetts and California; the youngest child, William Henry Adam, came to the US about 1916 and resided in Tennessee and Illinois.

Isabella died a widow, of old age, on November 1, 1921, in the Free Mason’s Home in Windsor.

I added memorials to Find A Grave for Isabella and William, and linked them with some of their children.  My hope is that a relative will come across the memorials, or this blog, and I can reunite the photo with her family.

Census records
Nova Scotia death records
Canada births and baptisms records –

The Undertaker’s Wife

bHOLDER Maggie
Found in a shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana

In 1896, Maggie Estella Holder, 17, married Charles Luther Thornburg, 21, and the couple settled in Farmland, Randolph County, Indiana.  Luther, as he was best known, was a farmer, but had a “hankering” to become an undertaker.  In 1904, he bought the undertaking business of W.B. Meeks, and thus began Thornburg’s career as a mortician.  I’m curious if the following event gave Maggie second thoughts about her husband’s chosen profession.  It seems undertaking could be a dangerous vocation.

1905 Dec 15 THORNBURG chased off The Star Press Muncie IN
The Star Press (Muncie, IN) – Dec. 15, 1905

On the 1930 census, Maggie was listed as working as a beautician in her own shop.  This made me wonder how involved she was in the undertaking business.  Had she helped her husband prepare bodies, by styling their hair?  After all, for some years, the business was operated in the Thornburg home, so Maggie would not have been removed from the day to day operations.

Disappointingly, although her husband received a large newspaper write up upon his death, Maggie’s obituary did not offer much information about her life, other than she was the wife of a well known undertaker, and a member of the Society of Friends, a Quaker (religious) organization.  Maggie died August 22, 1932, at the age of 54, from complications after gallbladder surgery.

Find A Grave
Census records
The Muncie Press, Muncie, Indiana – Feb. 26, 1954
The Richmond Item, Richmond, Indiana – Aug. 24, 1932
The Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Indiana – Aug. 22, 1932
Indiana birth records
Indiana death records

The Hope of Heaven

bFREY sisters

I fell for this cabinet card the second I saw it in The Wurdeman Studio shop.  The matching dresses, the doll, the girl pointing towards the sky, combined with the fact that the sitters were identified, pushed me to hit the add to cart button.

The Frey sisters, Leah Adda (10) and Bessie J. (8), sat for this photo on June 25, 1894 in Green Springs, Ohio.  I believe it is Bessie who is pointing, as she looks younger than the girl seated.  If we look to Victorian cemetery symbolism, an index finger pointing upwards represents the hope of heaven.  Considering the fates that awaited the sisters, this pose seems eerily ominous.

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Don’t call me Mozart


Harald Fredericksen, and his son, Harold Victor Byron Mozart, posed for this photo, in Chicago, Illinois.

Harald immigrated to the United States, from Denmark, in 1869, and settled in Chicago, Illinois.  He married Hermina Stocker, an immigrant from Norway.  Harald worked as a clerk and bookkeeper.  The couple had three daughters, Ella, Olga, and Dagmar.  Mozart was born January 27, 1885.  When this photo was captured, Hermina was pregnant with the couples’ fifth child, Elmer.  Harold died, aged 56, on July 14, 1903.


As an adult, Mozart went by Harold B., and shortened his surname to Fredericks.  He married Agnes Clancy in 1913.  Throughout his life, he worked as a salesman for an oil company, an accountant, and a commercial traveler for an office equipment firm.  He died July 12, 1945.

Find A Grave
Census records
Chicago, Illinois death records
New York marriage records