The Dressmaker


Abt. 1895

Here is another cabinet card from the Pinney album, which I found in an antique shop in Fremont, Indiana.  This image was not identified, but upon researching the family some years ago, I was pretty certain I knew the name of the sitter, based on the fact that she was the only female cousin found living in East Jordan, Michigan who fit the time period.  Recently, I discovered photos shared on a public ancestry tree and now I can be certain that I’ve matched this photo with the correct person.

Laura Mabel Pinney’s family moved from Arcade, New York and were one of the early settlers of Jordan township in Antrim County, Michigan.  In 1873, when she was about one year old, and her brothers, Herman and Howard were six and four, her father, Curtis, purchased a 160 acre parcel of wood land that he cleared and where he built a 16 x 24 ft. log cabin.  Her Grandmother Pinney, a widow, lived with the family.  Her mother, Marion (nee Beebe), knit long woolen socks and mittens, sewed rag rugs and clothing for the family. And when a school house was built, her mother acted as teacher for the first year.

When Laura was fifteen, her parents built a nicer frame house on the homestead that was completely finished and even had running water, courtesy of a nearby spring piping water into a 20 gallon tank in the pantry.  What a joy that must have been!

Laura worked as a live-in housekeeper during her early adult years, later becoming a dressmaker.  I wonder if she designed and made the dress she is wearing in this photo?

Laura and her brother, Howard Curtis Pinney, came down with pneumonia in 1911 and both succumbed to the illness within a couple weeks of each other.  She was just 38 years old.

Census records
A Brief Account of the Pioneer Settlement of a part of Antrim County, by Allison Pinney
Michigan death records

Pugs in history!


Abt. 1896

How awesome is this cabinet card ?  A little boy with long ringlet curls, wearing a beautiful dress, and the icing on the cake is his adorable pug puppy wearing a plaid bow!  And look at how he’s resting his little hand on the puppy’s paw…it’s just too sweet!  I want to know how they got that pug to sit so still. The photographer must have had mad skills.

The little boy is De Vere Charles Haskell.  He was born in 1893, grew up in Arcade, New York and later lived in Buffalo with his wife, Fannie (nee Smith).  He graduated from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and the Arts in 1916 and after serving in the military for three years, began a career as a bookkeeper and accountant.


Abt. 1899

Also in the album was this family photo of De Vere and his parents, Frank and Elenor (nee Charles) Haskell when he was the only child.  In 1902, his sister, Helen Francis, was born. And look, it’s the same backdrop and the same furry rug as the earlier photo.  They must have been photographer favorites.

This image is part of an album found in an antique shop in Fremont, Indiana.  The album contains photos of friends and family of Will Pinney of Arcade, New York.  De Vere was the grand nephew of Will’s wife’s aunt’s husband.  Just a little confusing, right? I hope to feature more photos from this album in the future.

Census records
New York County Marriages
New York Abstracts of World War I Military Service
University of Michigan records