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.
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.
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.
Tennessee death records
WWI draft registration
This dandy cabinet card was discovered in Goshen, Indiana. The sitter screamed, “Take me home! I’m bold and interesting!”
William Francis Hostetler, born in La Paz, Indiana in 1870, was a hustler, in a good way. He was an enterprising person, determined to succeed, a real go-getter.
Which is why I was surprised to find that William’s death certificate listed his only occupation as a farmer. I’m sure he would have been surprised as well, and disappointed, considering he spent the majority of his adult life as a teacher. In addition, for quite a few years, while also teaching, he sold insurance for the New York Life Insurance Company, and he was self employed, offering penmanship services for individuals and businesses.
This cabinet card has so much going for it! From the lovely studio backdrop, to the girl’s big eyed, faraway stare, to the awkward pose made to show off her dress bustle (and wow, what a bustle!) Bustles reached extreme proportions in the mid 1880s.
The back of the card is just as interesting. The artwork offers a glimpse into the sitter’s view when she approached Hartley’s Studio at 309 W. Madison St. in Chicago, Illinois. And what a clever motto, “Cloudy Days Good as Sunshine.”
The sitter is Martha Miriam Sherlock. Martha was born in 1860 in Illinois. She was a teacher in the 1880s, married George Herzberg when she was 33, had children and died in Texas, aged 84. I can’t say Martha led an uninteresting life, but I can say that I didn’t find anything as interesting as what I discovered when researching Hartley’s Studio. Let’s turn our attention to the photographer, Charles F. Hartley.
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!