I found this tintype in Coldwater, Michigan and although it’s in rough condition (I digitally removed a lot of scratches from the men’s faces) I couldn’t pass it up. Written on a piece of tape on the back is “J.D. Anglin and Frank McCuen – Willards Grandfather McCuen.” There was no photographer or location noted but I hoped the name Willard would prove just as useful in identifying this duo and luckily it was.
John David Anglin (left) and James Franklin McCuen lived the majority of their lives in Kosciusko County, Indiana. I believe this image was captured in the late 1870s, perhaps celebrating one of their impending nuptials. In 1876, nineteen-year-old J.D. wed Miss Adaline Harmon and the following year eighteen-year-old Frank got hitched to Miss Della Martin.
I was able to positively identify which man was which based on the photo above of a much older J.D. that I found on his sister’s Find A Grave memorial.
The key to locating these two men was definitely Willard and it turns out that Willard had a family connection to both of our sitters. J.D.’s niece, Matilda Harmon, and Frank’s son, Melvin McCuen, were Willard’s parents. Tragically, Willard was just five years old when he lost his father. Melvin died at the age of 28 as the result of complications after an operation.
I was pleased to come across some interesting newspaper articles providing a glimpse into the lives of our sitters beyond the small bit of information I was able to glean from census records.
Frank found himself in trouble with the law in 1881 for “disturbing the repose of the people” which resulted in his arrest and fines of $22 ($500 in 2019.) I have a suspicion that J.D. was one of his “backers” and I’d bet this wasn’t the only trouble the two found themselves in over the years.
Census data reveals that in 1900 the men were living next door to each other in Scott, Indiana. J.D. was working as a stock dealer and Frank as a farmer. The news tidbit above lets us know that J.D. was involved in other endeavors as well, like the butchering business in 1890.
J.D. came face to face with an armed bandit in 1901. I can only imagine the buzz about town and how many times he must have told that story over the years.
After Haley’s Comet passed by on May 19, 1910, there were farmers all over the country who claimed their chickens laid freak eggs with appendages that resembled the comet tail itself and J.D. was one of them. I wonder what happened to that egg.
January 1917 wasn’t a pleasant month for Frank. His wife divorced him and he was seriously injured in an explosion. He recovered and remarried in July to Mrs. Rosa (Holderman) Housouer. Not even two years later, on March 1, 1919, Frank died of lobar pneumonia (acute inflammation of an entire lung.)
Find A Grave
Indiana marriage records
Michigan marriage records
Michigan death records
Goshen Daily Democrat, Nov. 8, 1906 ~ Melvin’s death