Sophia’s Snap Shot

Not every photo find yields a fascinating, or even a slightly interesting, story.  This isn’t to say that the sitters led uneventful lives.  It just means that I’ve not had the pleasure of discovering their full history.  This is the first in my Snap Shot series, which will showcase those photos from my collection.

Sophia Germann Schmid

Look at the table detail in this carte de visite.  The sitter is Mary Sophia (nee Germann) Schmid.  The photographer was J.F. Rank & Co. in Van Wert, Ohio.  Sophia was born in 1855 and shares my birth date of March 5.

Sophia Germann Schmid cdv back

Sources:

Census records
Find A Grave
State of Ohio death certificate

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The Two Wives

John and Melissa Bennett Beck

I picked up this carte de visite, also known as a cdv, at the Markle Antique Mall in Markle, Indiana.  The words John Beck & wife were penned above the sitters’ heads. Based on the wife’s fashion and hairstyle, I loosely date the cdv to the 1870s.

John Beck had two wives…no, not at the same time.  But, two wives meant that I needed to gather as many pieces of the puzzle as possible in order to know which of John’s wives sat for this photograph.

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In Mourning

blog-catherine-briel-wymer-front

This is a carte de visite, also known as a CDV, of a woman in mourning.  During the Victorian era, mourning clothes were a display of one’s sorrow.  Note the black veil she is wearing. On the back of the CDV is the photographer’s information which reveals that the photo was taken by Baird on 13 Fifth Street in Zanesville, Ohio.  Based on the photo’s border of two different width lines and the square corners, as well as the fashion, I date this image as being produced in the mid to late 1860s.

Catherine was born in 1836 in Adams County, Ohio, and grew up on a farm with her parents and her twelve siblings.  She married Daniel Wymer in 1855 and they settled in Union, which was about twenty miles from Zanesville.

As with the vast majority of American citizens who lived during the Civil War, Catherine’s life was greatly impacted by the sectional conflict.  She was left to care for their four small children while her husband fought for the Union in 1864.  She lost her brother, Samuel, to the war; he died in 1862, of Typhus, an intestinal infectious disease caused by poor hygienic conditions that were commonplace in military camps.  Samuel’s regiment, the 97th, lost a total of 254 men, and 161 of those deaths were from disease.

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The Music Teacher

I recently found this photo among a slew of others in an antique shop in Indiana. It is a carte de visite, often referred to as a CDV. It is a photographic print that is mounted on a stiff card, and the term describes the size of the photo, which is about 2 ½” x 4”. The size made it perfectly suited for people to send by mail and carry with them to hand out to friends and family. Although the girl’s blank stare is what drew my attention to this image, I was happy to find the identifying writing on the back, “Ava B. Hamilton Hudson Indiana (Steuben Co).” Read on to discover more about Ava’s life in Hudson, Indiana!

Miss Ava Blanch Hamilton was born in 1872 in Walkerton, Indiana. She was the daughter of Dr. Frank C. and Katherine Rebecca (nee Reamer) Hamilton. She moved to Hudson, Steuben county, Indiana as a young girl, with her parents and brother, Lloyd Elton Hamilton, where she spent the majority of her life. Her father, a well-known doctor, also owned a Drug Store in Hudson and her brother owned the General Store in Hudson for more than thirty years.

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