Born in 1860, in Alabama, Reavis Johnston “R.J.” Terry was named after his father’s mentors. As a young teen, R.J.’s father, John Taliaferro Terry, lost his father and was taken in by his sister’s husband, Colonel Robert Johnston. John became a lawyer, like Johnston, and went into a law partnership with the Honorable Turner Reavis.
Interesting to note, from a research standpoint, I would not have been able to identify this sitter if the person had not penned “Birmingham, Ala.” after the name. I would have been looking in the location of the photographer, E.J. Dunshee, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although R.J. may have lived in Philadelphia at some time during his life, I did not find a record of it.
History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4, published 1921
Birmingham, Alabama City Directory
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
I picked up this tintype, housed in a paper frame, in Markle, Indiana. Writing on the back reads “Whitley Co. Ind.”
I find it difficult to date this tintype based on the young man’s fashion. If I had to make a guess, I would say late 1860s to mid 1870s, based on the felt hat and piped edge suit lapels. I welcome anyone with more knowledge about Victorian men’s fashion to provide input.
I found two men named David Aker living in Whitley County, Indiana. One, born in 1812, was a farmer in Whitley County. He would have been in his fifties when the photo was captured, making him too old to be the sitter. Another, born in 1874, would have been too young to be the sitter.
One thing to note is that the latter David Aker was also found in records as Frank David Aker. This raises a good question. Could David have been the sitter’s middle name, and/or a name that he didn’t use consistently, especially on paperwork, like census records? Frank David Aker’s father was George Aker, born about 1839. If my dating of this tintype is correct, George would have been in his early twenties when this photo was taken, and would fit the sitter’s age. However, I find no record of George’s middle name or of him using the name David.
This is another rescued photo that remains a mystery, for now.
Martha “Mattie” Kennedy (nee Luney) Holmes was born in Ireland in 1874 and came with her family to the United States as a young girl. In 1894, she married Dr. William Wesley Holmes, who was 30 years her senior. After William’s death in 1913, Mattie worked as a traveling and home nurse.
I’m not sure when Mattie died. She was living with her sister, Edith Cole, in Yonkers, New York in 1930. The last trace I found of her was in 1936 when she was still in Yonkers, but living on her own at 472 Hawthorne.
The Denison Review, Denison, Iowa, February 12, 1913, – William Holmes’ obituary
Yonkers, New York City Directory 1931 and 1936
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.
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.