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.
I discovered these photos in a shop in Warsaw, Indiana. Although the gentleman sitter has his name, John William Stuck, written on the back of the cabinet card, he would be impossible to identify if it hadn’t been for the second photo found in the pile. That photo, a cabinet card featuring three children, identified on the back as Mabel Stuck, Susie Tyrone Stuck, and Clesson Daniel Stuck, provided a location of Elkhart, Indiana.
John William Stuck was born in 1856 in Pennsylvania and came with his family, as a young boy, to Elkhart, Indiana where he wed Mary Prudence Newman. The couple made their home in Elkhart, where they raised their seven children, the eldest three being Mabel, Clesson and Susie. Based on how old the children appear to be in the photo, along with the fact that John and Mary welcomed a son, Bernard, in 1894, I date the children’s photo to 1892 or 1893.
In order to date John’s photo, I consulted the 19th Century Card Photos KwikGuide by Gary W. Clark. His hair and clothing appear to fit with styles seen from 1879 to 1885. The turned up collar, which was popular in the 1850s and 60s, was making a comeback in the 1880s. He isn’t wearing a wedding ring, which may be a clue that the photo was taken prior to his marriage in 1881. Of course, it’s also possible that he didn’t wear a ring.
During his life, John worked as a carriage maker, and later was employed as a wood pattern maker by the Elkhart (Elcar) Motor Company. I suspect that he began working for the motor company when it was known as Elkhart Carriage and Harness Manufacturing.
I should be satisfied to have rescued these images, but I can’t help but wish that I found a photo of Mary and the other children. It would be nice to complete the family and keep them together.
This cabinet card was found in Niles, Michigan. The girl in the feathered hat and fur coat is Minnie Sheets. Her father, Jacob, who immigrated to the US from Germany in 1853, owned and operated a dry goods and general merchandise shop in Ligonier, Indiana, where he sold clothing, carpets, groceries, boots and shoes, and even offered custom tailoring.
Minnie’s grandfather was a shoe dealer. I suspect that as a result of her family’s businesses, Minnie had access to all the finest clothing and accessories that a girl could want. What she lacked was a mother. In 1875, when Minnie was two years old, her mother Lena died, leaving her to be raised by her father and her maternal grandparents, Minnie and Peter Sisterhern.
I acquired this beautiful photograph on etsy, although, I prefer to find photos in shops or at estate sales. However, I was so taken by this image that after watching it languish for over a month, I finally rescued it on my birthday last year. It is a Boudoir card, which is larger than a standard cabinet card, measuring 5 1/4″ x 8 1/2″.
The sitter is Ida Taylor, who lived to be 101 years old! She lived in the Boonville, Indiana home that her father built the year she was born, until her death in 1957.
I came to own this very unusual photograph when I purchased a family album in a shop near Pioneer, Ohio. With the photo secured in the album, I couldn’t see the text imprinted on the bottom of the card, and my mind went wild with ideas about why this man’s head would be in such a contraption. Once at home, I carefully pulled the photo out of its page and that’s when I came to know Barney Baldwin, the Broken Neck Wonder.
Barney’s story is explained in the following article printed in the St. Paul Globe, St. Paul, Minnesota, December 15, 1887.
Now, whether Barney’s tale is truth or fiction, I’ll let you be the judge. I like to think that it’s a little of both. There is evidence that Barney worked in a railroad yard in 1883 and in several articles it mentions that people witnessed scars on his legs and arms. Possibly he did meet with an unfortunate accident of some sort.
This cabinet card came from a shop in Indianapolis, Indiana and was given to me by a friend who supports my love of found photos. The two girls are identified on the back of the photo as Jet & Grace Norton. The card carries the marking of the W.H. Butler New Gallery photography studio of Clifford, Indiana.
Research uncovered sisters, Jessie Pearl and Grace Edna Norton, daughters of Julian Perry and Phoebe (nee Linke) Norton. At the time of the photo, taken in approximately 1892, they were their parents only children. In 1894, their brother, Raymond Louis, was born.