Biographical Sketch for John L. & Frances Murray: Shipbuilding, 19th century Mobile, Ala., and the return of Scottish photographer Harry E. Wallace

Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Reed & Wallace, c. 1885-89. “Uncle John L. Murphy and Aunt Francis, Mobile, Ala.” Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Uncle John L. & Aunt Frances Murphy, circa 1880s.

During my summer travels I tend to stop at out-of-the-way antique shops specifically to see what kind of 19th century photos I might stumble across. Such is the case presented here while traveling across central Iowa last summer. What caught my attention about these two cabinet card style photographs were the photographers’ imprint and the city where they originated. In this case when I saw the combination of “Wallace” and “Mobile” I immediately knew I would be buying these two photos. I had written in a previous post on this site, about a Scottish photographer named Harry E. Wallace who had his photographic start in Mobile, Alabama, shortly after the American Civil War. As I stood there in the Iowa Falls antique shop looking at these images, I speculated as to whether or not this was the same Wallace already in my collection. That speculation proved to be correct.

 Image Description

 In these two cabinet card photographs, we see separate vignetted portraits of a husband and wife. The albumen prints have been mounted to maroon-faced cardstock with gold beveled edges. According to Mace[1], this dates the photographs during the 1880s and more specifically, between 1885 and 1889. (Note: These dates correspond to the period when Reed and Wallace had their photographic partnership. Mobile city directories[2] for 1885, 1888, and 1889 show Wallace in business with William A. Reed.) Both photos exhibit foxing, but more so on the portrait of the husband. Additionally, both photos are rough along the edges of the cardstock, with several dents, scrapes, and tears.

Of special interest is the portrait of the wife, in that she wears a cameo-style brooch on her dress collar, which contains a laterally reversed photo of the matching cabinet card image of her husband (see detailed inset below). Her hair appears to be pulled and tied behind her head and she wears moderately large earrings. The photograph of the gentleman displays him wearing a dark coat and tie. His hair is parted and cut short, yet he sports a full-length beard to his chest. The beard appears to have large portions of gray, giving it a mottled appearance. Along the bottom front-side of each photo, imprinted in gold gilt, are the words: “Reed & Wallace, Mobile”.

Detail shot of brooch bearing John L. Murphy's photograph.

Detail shot of brooch bearing John L. Murphy’s photograph.

The verso of each photograph has cursive writing, in pencil, which gives us clues as to the photographers’ patrons. On the backside of the gentleman’s image we find the following inscription: “Uncle John L. Murray—Mobile, Ala. (Mama’s brother)”. On the reverse of the lady’s photo, it simply states (in the same handwriting): “Aunt Frances”. History has been kind by supplying this basic information and armed with this, I set off to the National Archives in Kansas City to discover more about the Murrays and their connection to the photographers Reed and Wallace of Mobile, Alabama.


Sitters' identification written in pencil on verso of each photograph.

Sitters’ identification written in pencil on verso of each photograph.

Who Were Uncle and Aunt Murray?

John L. Murray was an English Canadian born to Canadian parents around May of 1833. John provided this information in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.[3] He immigrated to the United States in 1854, when he was about 21 years of age. Twenty-three years later (1877), John was listed in the Mobile City Directory[4], as residing at 82 South Franklin Street and his occupation was ship carpenter. John continued in this trade at the Mobile shipyards for the rest of his working life, as evidenced by the 1909 city directory[5] and the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.[6] Additionally, the 1909 directory mentions his wife’s name as Frances. Other information that John provided during the 1900 and 1910 federal census was his ability to read and write English, both parents were born in Canada, he rented his house, and his occupation was ship carpenter (thus confirming the 1877 city directory’s entry as such). Lastly, the 1910 census stated he had been married for 46 years, indicating he was 31 when he married towards the end of the Civil War, around 1864.[7]

At this juncture in the research, little is known about John’s wife, Frances. Basic information can be garnered from the federal censuses, but they do not reveal her maiden name. This limits our ability to fully research her background. What we can extract from the census data is this: she was born in March 1839, making her about six years younger than her husband; she was born in Alabama, as were both her parents; speaking, reading, and writing English were also noted.[8] However, the 1910 census brings us some confusion regarding her name. In this particular census, she is listed as Mary. All other data about her seems to match the 1900 data. Was this an error on the part of the census taker, or did she also go by this other name? This will be a mystery until future research reveals her maiden name and deeper sleuthing can be accomplished.

Scottish Photographer and New Partnerships in Mobile

 I find it interesting that a year after publishing my research on Harry E. Wallace, he throws me a curve ball from the past! Wallace’s partnership with William A. Reed had not been discovered in my earlier research, nor had researcher Harvey S. Teal[9], who significantly covered Wallace’s photography business in South Carolina. According to the University of South Alabama Archives at the McCall Library, Reed was born in Nova Scotia around 1847 and that he died in Mobile during the early 1900s.

 Mobile city directories from 1871 through 1878 show Wallace’s original partnership with Chauncey Barnes and in the 1882 and 1883 directories, Wallace is listed as a sole proprietor. The 1883 listing shows Reed running his studio just a few storefronts down on Dauphin Street from Wallace. By 1885, Reed and Wallace formed a partnership that lasted until 1889. At this point, Wallace disappears for 21 years from the photography scene until his reappearance at Aiken, SC in 1910. This disappearance prompts several questions: Why are the records so silent during this time? Where was he living and working? Was he still photographing? The answer to this last question is most likely he was, as once he resurfaces in South Carolina, his photography business flourished well into the 1930s, thanks in part to his daughter, Gertrude, who as also an accomplished photographer.

 William A. Reed, on the other hand, remained in Mobile for the duration of his photography career. He maintained his studios throughout his career on Dauphin Street. From 1893 until 1899 he was located at 121/123 Dauphin Street. By 1903, he relocated to 200 Dauphin and that year’s directory lists his wife as Mrs. Pearl G. [Reed]. Reed sat for his portrait around 1900 and a copy of that image is archived at the University of South Alabama.[10]

William A. Reed sitting for his portrait while reading a newspaper. Circa 1900. University of South Alabama Archives.

William A. Reed sitting for his portrait while reading a newspaper. Circa 1900. University of South Alabama Archives.

The 1906 and 1907 Mobile city directories continue list his studio at 200 Dauphin and that he had taken on a business manager named J.P. Gorman. In that same directory, Reed placed an advertisement for his studio, in which he claims to have been “The Photographic Leader for 20 years”[11]. Reed does not appear in U.S. Census data after this time, indicating his probable death as mentioned by the University of South Alabama Archives.

Reed Ad-2

Advertisements for Reed's photography studio in Polk's 1907 Mobile City Directory. Advertisements for Reed’s photography studio in Polk’s 1907 Mobile City Directory.

So, I find it incredibly interesting how many people and their stories of identity present themselves from photographs purchased nearly two decades apart and separated by over a 1,000 miles! What other stories await to be told with just a little more research!

 T. Ownby, PhD

[1] O. Henry Mace, Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs (Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Company, 1990), p. 144.

[2] U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta), [database on-line].

[3] U.S. Federal Census, 1900. Mobile Ward 5, Mobile, Alabama; Roll: 31, Page 50B, Enumeration District: 100, FHL Microfilm: 1240031.

[4] Henry Farrow, Mobile City Directory for the year 1877, Vol. XIII (Mobile, AL: Henry Farrow & Co., 1877), p. 183.

[5] W.B. Delchamps, Delchamps’ Greater Mobile City Directory for the year 1909 (Mobile, AL: W.B. Delchamps), p. 464.

[6] U.S. Federal Census, 1910. Mobile Ward 5, Mobile, Alabama; Roll: T624_27, Page 15A, Enumeration District: 0092, Image: 385, FHL Microfilm: 1374040.

[7] Ibid.

[8] U.S. Federal Census, 1900.

[9] H. S. Teal, Partners With the Sun: South Carolina Photographers 1840—1940 (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2001).

[10] AlabamaMosaic, University of South Alabama Archives, McCall Library, William A. Reed (n.d.),

[11] R.L. Polk, Polk’s Mobile City Directory for the year ending February 1, 1907 (Mobile, AL: R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers, 1907), pp. 735, 737.

Solar Eclipses, Law Suits, Slave Holders, Immigration, and New Photographic Technologies in Reconstructed Mobile, Alabama & Anderson, South Carolina

Biographical Sketch for CDV-0101:

Harry E. Wallace & Chauncey Barnes. "Portrait of unknown ethnic Southern lady." Carte-de-visite, Mobile, Alabama, ca. 1870. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Image Description

 In this carte-de-visite, we see a vignetted portrait of a regally ethnic elder lady wearing a white or light colored lacy headscarf. Although her hair is white or light gray, her complexion is extremely smooth and fair.  She bares the ethnic features of possibly Spanish or Creole descent. Additionally, she wears a matronly shawl over her  shoulders, possibly depicting her religious values or her social standing in the community. The image has faded to the point it is hard to determine whether the headscarf and shawl are one and the same; most likely it is one garment. Unfortunately, there is no identification of this lady and her memory is lost to bygone days along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The cream colored card for this CDV, with its rounded corners, suggests a creation date in the early 1870s, possibly between 1871 and 1874. Condition of the overall image is rather good, considering its age. For a number of years I felt the image was fading considerably, but on closer examination, I believe this vignetted portrait was exposed using a high-key technique. There are minor tears in the card stock along the top each and minimal foxing in the albumen print.

However, from the verso, or backside of the CDV, interesting stories begin to unfold from the port city of Mobile, Alabama, during America’s Reconstruction Era. The photographers’ imprint (or backmark) appears to be in the style of a large rubber stamp that used purplish colored ink. Its imprint reads: “Wallace, Barnes & Co. Artist Photographers, 87 Dauphin St, Mobile, Ala.

Backmark showing Wallace & Barnes' business imprint on photograph's verso.

Chauncey Barnes: Northern Slave Owning Photographer and Teacher

First, I will draw our attention to the elder protagonist in this story: Chauncey Barnes (b. ca. 1817, d. 1884). Mr. Barnes was a New York transplant[i] by way of Baltimore, Maryland. While data has not surfaced to indicate from whom Barnes learned his daguerreian art, he was certainly within the early wave of 1840s practitioners as America’s obsession with this European novelty swept the populace in its westward expansion. The Sun (Baltimore’s newspaper during the 1840s) and local city directories show that Barnes was a daguerreotypist operating at 163 Baltimore Street in 1844 and at 217 West Baltimore Street in 1845.[ii] [iii] Interestingly, in 1844, Barnes was also expanding studio operations to Mobile, Alabama, as evidenced by the 1844 Mobile city directory.

Harvey S. Teal, photo-history scholar and researcher of South Carolinian photographers, notes in Partners with the Sun: South Carolina Photographers 1840—1940, that it was common practice among Northern daguerreotypists from the eastern seaboard (principally Boston, New York, and Philadelphia[iv]) to travel throughout the South during winter months, establishing temporary studios in different towns and cities. These itinerant visits could last from a few days to several months, depending on business and the photographer’s preferences. Three primary Southern port cities factor into these dynamics, these were Charleston, South Carolina; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Many enterprising daguerreotypists of those early years created franchise studios or galleries and hired additional operators[v] to manage these studios on a more permanent basis during their absences. This may have been the case with Chauncey Barnes, as he managed operations in both Baltimore and Mobile during the mid-1840s. From his 1844 advertisement in the Mobile city directory (see figure below) we learn that he would furnish operators with stock, or studio working materials. This may have been in the form of daguerreotype plates and associated developing chemicals.

From Rinhart & Rinhart (1981), 1844 Mobile city directory with ad for Barnes' daguerrian gallery.

It was here at the Skylight Daguerrian Gallery, between 1844—1845,[viii] that Barnes trained a soon-to-be prominent itinerant photographer in the South, Professor Albert George Park. After training with Barnes, Prof. Park went on to work with such famous photographers George S. Cook in Charleston, South Carolina, and Matthew Brady in New York City. In fact, Park made rather bold claims in his Charleston newspaper advertisements when he declared in August 1853:

“His Gold Enameled and Chemically Colored Daguerreotypes which produced so much sensation in the City of New York, and which are now on exhibition at the World’s Fair are conceded by all connoisseurs to be far superior to any heretofore produced by the Photographic Art….The highest premium was awarded to Brady, of New York at the World’s Fair, for the best Daguerreotypes, and why it’s easily told. He secured the services of PARK, The Celebrated Southern Artist, while on a visit to the North, who made some of the finest Gems, exhibited in the Crystal Palace.”[ix]

Prof. Park was not the only photographer to be trained by Barnes, however. In 1852-53, he trained Isaac S. Clark the art of daguerreotyping. By 1855, Clark had set off as an itinerant to Tampa, Florida and returned the following year to continue working with Barnes in Mobile. James W. Turner learned to the art of ambrotyping from Barnes in 1859 and by 1860 he advertised himself as an ambrotypist in Boston, where he continued his photographic craft until 1881.[x] During the Reconstruction Era of the South after the Civil War, Barnes took under his tutelage the young Harry E. Wallace, who became his Mobile partner by 1870.

By 1852 he transferred all business operations to his new Southern coastal home.[xi] No historical data has presented itself as to why Barnes relocated to this Southern port city. Although, his father, Amasa Barnes in upstate New York, acknowledged his son’s living in Mobile, when he drew up his last-will-and-testament in 1850.[xii] Around his 30th birthday, Barnes married Lois Clark, on 27 September 1847, whose father, Asa Clark, was also from Oneida, New York.[xiii] Possibly they had been childhood friends and sweethearts. Between 1852 and 1858 he operated his studio at 48 Dauphin Street[xiv] and during this period (about 1855) he introduced the ambrotype (a new photographic technology during that era) to his Mobile clientele. Additionally, during this timeframe, in 1854, he produced a daguerreotype of a solar eclipse and displayed it as a curiosity at his Mobile Daguerreian Gallery.[xv] By 1859, he had expanded his operations to encompass three storefronts at 54, 56, and 58 Dauphin Street[xvi].  According to daguerreotype historians Rinhart and Rinhart[xvii] Barnes was known for his attention on the subject by using simple dark backgrounds in order to contrast some clients’ costumes; see their example below from an anonymous collection.

From Rinhart & Rinhart (1981), a sixth plate daguerreotype by Chauncey Barnes, ca. 1851. Anonymous collection.

By the end of the 1850s decade, Barnes’ career takes an interesting twist and he is sued by one of his employees. According to daguerreian historian J. S. Craig, Barnes employed a number of “artists”, which hand-painted and colored his ambrotypes and cartes-de-visite; these included I. S. Clark in 1853 and 1855-56, Willey in 1856, J. S. Clark in 1856, and J. W. Turner in 1859.[xviii] Here is where the twist in his circumstances occurs. The trial, Barnes v. Ingalls, 39 Ala. 193 (1863), commenced on May 15, 1860, in which Gardner Ingalls brought action against Barnes for failure to pay nearly $1,000 due from promissory notes for work conducted from August 16, 1859 until January 1, 1860.[xix] Apparently the outcome of this trial was not good in that Barnes was listed that year as operating a “sewing machine depot at 56 Dauphin”.[xx]

What is also of interest during this time of occupational shift for the native New Yorker turned Alabamian compatriot, is that during the 1860 Census that year in Mobile, he is listed as a slave owner. On Schedule 2, Slave Inhabitants in 7th Ward, City of Mobile[xxi], line #6 shows Barnes as owning two slaves, both female and ages of 19 and 6 years. The schedule also reveals that he provided a separate “slave house” for these two young women. This record, as did others of that era, distinguished between slave color: B was used for Black, while M was used for Mulatto. The document showed both slave girls as being Black.

1860 Slave Schedule to U.S. Census for Mobile, Alabama; shows Chauncey Barnes as owning two young female slaves. National Archives and Records Administration.

However, during the Civil War years, history is silent about Barnes’ photographic endeavors. Did he go off to contribute to the war effort, leaving his wife Lois and his slaves to look after his “sewing machine depot”? Interestingly, there was a number of “Chauncey Barnes” who served during the War Between the States, which included soldiers in New York units and in Mississippi units. Further research is needed in this area to determine if Barnes indeed served during this bloody contestation. A few years after the Civil War’s ending, in 1868, Barnes is once again listed as being a photographer with his studio located this time at 87 Dauphin Street. At some point during his early 50s, Barnes partnered with Harry E. Wallace, as evidenced by the backmark on the CDV[xxii] under investigation in this case study. Based on extant documentation, it appears this partnership was short-lived, as the glowing review for Wallace in the 1883 annual report for the Mobile and Ohio Railway[xxiii] makes no mention of Barnes. There could have been deteriorating health conditions for Barnes that caused his absence from the photography business, as he died in 1884, at an age of about 67.

 Scottish Photographer who’s Father had ties to the Confederacy

 Of the two proprietors of this photographic enterprise, “Wallace” at first presented himself as an enigma. However, evidence suggested this person was  Harry E. Wallace,[xxiv] [xxv] who eventually became known as “Mobile’s most successful photographer.”[xxvi] Born around 1843 in Scotland, Harry was the oldest child of William R. Wallace of Glasgow, Scotland, and Mary A. (Job) Wallace, of Dublin, Ireland.[xxvii] Harry was born into an interesting family of financial means. Harry’s grandfather was Alexander Wallace, who was a lineal descendant of Sir William Wallace and his father, William R. Wallace, was a world traveler and lithographer. Harry’s maternial grandfather, was William Job, who was a “landed proprietor” and holder of numerous Irish governmental positions in Dublin.[xxviii]

When Harry was five years of age, he and his parents, along with an infant sibling, arrived in New York City on August 22, 1848 aboard the Queen of the West,[xxix] which had set sail from Liverpool, England several days earlier. The Wallace Family remained in New York City for about one year after their arrival to American before they moved to Washington City, D.C. in 1850, where William was engaged for his services as a lithographer and engraver. By 1853, the family relocated west to Cincinnati, Ohio, where William continued his lithography and engraving trade in a partnership and firm known as Middleton, Wallace & Co.[xxx] For reasons not explained, William left his business in 1857 “when he started a tour around the world,” which ended in Australia where he received a government posting given under the hand of Queen Victoria.[xxxi] At this point it is unclear if William was traveling alone overseas or if his family had accompanied him.

As tensions continued to fester between the Northerners and Southerners over states’ rights issues, William Wallace returned to America in 1860 and set up residence in Ludlow, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. Here, William advocated the Confederacy’s position, while his oldest three sons, including Harry, aligned themselves with the North.[xxxii] Harry’s father became such an advocate for the Southern Confederacy, that he contracted himself as a lithographer and engraver to print their currency, for which he was briefly imprisoned and released for insufficient evidence. During the later years of the Civil War, William moved further south and settled in Mobile, Alabama, where he engaged in his trade producing maps of the southern railways during the Reconstruction Era. It would be here in Mobile that William would eventually die in 1870 from yellow fever.[xxxiii] Data is silent regarding Harry’s whereabouts during this timeframe, but research is currently being conducted to determine if the Harry Wallace that served in the 23rd Regiment Ohio Infantry during the Civil War is the same protagonist in this present study.[xxxiv] As noted above, Harry was in opposition to his father’s political stance and since he was living in Cincinnati region at the time, he may well have joined the Union forces as an act of rebellion between father and son.

In 1870 Harry returned to the scene in Mobile, Alabama around the time of William’s death, and established a studio he operated at 87 Dauphin Street. This is the same address that appears on the backmark of the CDV under investigation. This most likely is when the young Scottish immigrant[xxxv] partnered with the older Barnes. Possibly this partnership was designed as a means of conveyance of studio ownership between the two. Wallace would have been about 26 years of age, while Barnes’ age would have been about 53.

Advertisement for Harry E. Wallace, Photographer. ca. 1880. Mobile, Alabama. From the Mobile & Ohio Railway 1883 Annual Report.

Wallace’s shared studio with Barnes located at 87 Dauphin Street was in the heart of the port city of Mobile and just a short distance from its wharf district and opposite the public square known as Bienville Square (note the misspelling in the 1888 city map).

Mobile City Map, 1888. From the Cartographic Research Laboratory, University of Alabama.

At this location, Wallace developed his reputation as the city’s best photographer and within ten years of establishing his studio, he was exhibiting prints, using a professional permanence photographic technology known as carbon prints, in Chicago.[xxxvi] Carbon prints were to become the printing process of choice for exhibition prints among art photographers at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.[xxxvii] The following year, in 1881, his cabinet card images were declared the finest at a photographic convention held in New York City. Wallace was also commended for his abilities to produce portraits with oil paint, India ink, and watercolors, along with crayon portraiture. Not only was his studio producing fine portraits of Mobile’s citizenry, it was producing a variety of commercial images including landscape and urban views, along with architectural renderings. These found their way as artist etchings into the annual report for the Mobile and Ohio Railway.[xxxviii]

Cover from the 1883 annual report for the Mobile & Ohio Railways. Harry E. Wallace contributed numerous photographs used as etchings in this publication.

Wallaces' views showing Mobile's architecture and sub-tropical environment. From Mobile & Ohio Railways 1883 Annual Report.

The 1880 Census shows Harry and his wife, Emma, along with their children (Xavier-7, Gertrude-5, and Emma-2), residing in Mobile. Census data from the 1890 and 1900 are silent about the Wallace family. However, shortly after the turn of the century, records indicate that when Harry was 67, he had relocated to Aiken, South Carolina[xxxix] with his wife Emma and daughter Gertrude. He still listed his occupation as photographer and daughter Gertrude was his assistant photographer. This move to Aiken seems such a random occurrence and begs the question as to why this location? One theory that emerges from this mysterious past suggests there was a connection to the long-time established studio of J. A. Palmer, an Irish native by way of Rochester, New York and Savannah, Georgia. Palmer established his studio in Aiken around 1871 and provided commercial photographs to the local and regional communities in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, in the form of portraits, interior and exterior architectural views, landscapes, and news worthy events.[xl] Palmer employed additional operators in his business and to ensure continuation of his operation he sold the studio to his wife a few years before his death in 1896. The community of Aiken enjoyed the seasonal visits of northern tourists, which the locals called the “Winter Colony,”[xli] and possibly this was the draw for Wallace’s relocation.

Wallace was still photographing well into his 70s, in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. As with Barnes, there are no records that indicate what precipitated this move, especially since he had successfully established himself as Mobile’s preeminent photographer. According to Teal,[xlii] in 1914 Wallace had a studio at 110½ South Main Street in Anderson. Two years later, in 1916, he had relocated operations to 124½ North Main Street, where he stayed for a number of years. Before and during World War I (1913 and 1917, respectively), Wallace completed commercial photographic assignments for the local college publication known as The Sororian.[xliii] He photographed street scenes, along with commercial and residential architecture, in addition to his portraiture, just as he had in Mobile.

Commercial photography by Wallace in Anderson, South Carolina for "The Sororian." From Harvey Teal, 2001.

Information from the 1920 Census for Anderson, South Carolina, shows his daughter Gertrude, who was a single 41-year old, was working in the studio with her father as his photographic retoucher. According to Teal, Harry had moved his studio to 132 North Main Street by 1934, when he was 90! At this point, he had “a combination studio and gift shop”.[xliv] Very possibly, during his later years, Gertrude, his abiding daughter, may have taken reigns behind the camera, which may account for Teal’s comment that Wallace had photographed in Anderson for sixty years.

Harry E. Wallace (left) in Anderson, South Carolina during early 20th century. From Harvey Teal, 2001.

Thus, from a simple backmark imprinted on an 1870s carte-de-visite from Mobile, Alabama, personal identities and their concomitant stories have been reconstructed and brought forth from the dusty past of our collective national history. Regardless, both photographers in this study lived interesting lives during extraordinary times and contributed in their unique ways to the professionalism of their trade within the antebellum and postbellum South.

 T. Ownby, PhD

[i] Chauncey (also spelled Chauncy) Barnes was the son of Amasa Barnes (b. December 19, 1786 in Burlington, Connecticut; d. June 1861 in Trenton, New York) and Mary F. Barnes. In Amasa’s will, dated April 1, 1850, he lists Chauncey as one of his sons and that he lived in Mobile, Alabama at that time, which other sources substantiate. Additionally, Chauncey had married Lois Clark, daughter of Asa Clark from Oneida County, New York (this is were Trenton is located). See family genealogy at

[ii] Kelbaugh, R. J. (1998). Directory of Baltimore Daguerreians. Baltimore, MD: Historic Graphics. Retreived from

[iii] Craig, J. S. (2009). Craig’s Daguerreian Registry. Torrington, CT: Author. Retrieved from

[iv] Teal, H. (2001). Partners with the Sun: South Carolina photographers, 1840—1940. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p. 7.

[v] Ibid., p. 88. Teal notes that the term operator, as used in 19th century photographic literature, refered to “a person who took photographs and performed other services for his employer.” He also notes this term also applied to the photographer that owned the studio or gallery, thus making the term operator synonymous with photographer, as was the case with George S. Cook during 1849 in Charleston, South Carolina.

[vi] Rinhart, F., & Rinhart, M. (1981). The American Daguerretype. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, p. 84.

[vii] Mace, O. H. (1990). Collector’s guide to early photographs. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Co., p. 16.

[viii] Ibid., p. 404.

[ix] Charleston Courier, 6 August 1853, and 17 March 1854, as cited in Harvey S. Teal (2001). Partners with the Sun: South Carolina photographers, 1840—1940. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p. 53.

[x] Craig, J. S. (2009). Craig’s Daguerreian Registry. Torrington, CT: Author. Retrieved from

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Barnes, A. (1850). Extract of Will for Amasa Barnes. Retrieved from Oneida County GenWeb at:

[xiii] Barnes & Clark Marriage. Sep 27 1847.   Chauncey Barnes, son of Amasa Barnes of Holland Patent married  Lois Clark , daughter of Asa Clark of Floyd, Oneida Co, NY.  Retrieved from Oneida County GenWeb at: List of Misc. Marriages.

[xiv] Rinhart, F., & Rinhart, M. (1981). The American Daguerretype. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, p. 381.

[xv] Ibid., p. 381. Also, see Craig (2009).

[xvi] Ibid., p. 381.

[xvii] Rinhart, F., & Rinhart, M. (1981). The American Daguerretype. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. p. 262.

[xviii] See Craig (2009).

[xix] Thurston, T. (2009). Hearsay of the Sun: Photography, Identity, and the Law of Evidence. Retrieved from American Quarterly at

Note: this is an interesting case study in which an “assistant photographer” (i.e., portrait painter) sues his employer. What is more, the jury and judge ruled that an “ambrotypist” or “daguerrotypist” (i.e., photographer) was not an “artist” but rather an “artisan” because the technology employed in image making was mechanical.

[xx] Rinhart, F., & Rinhart, M. (1981). The American Daguerretype. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. p. 381.

[xxi] Tardy, E. (1860). Schedule 2—Slave Inhabitants in 7th Ward City of Mobile, in the County of Mobile, State of Alabama, Page No. 8. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.

[xxii] [Photographs of Terry D. Ownby]. (1954 – ). 19th Century Photographs and Papers Collection of Terry D. Ownby. Kansas City, MO.

[xxiii] Mobile & Ohio Railway. (1883). Annual report of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company. Mobile, AL: Shields & Co. Digitized by Google eBook from original at Princeton University.

[xxiv] Broyles, M. (2010). Old Chauncey Barnes and or Wallace Photography Studios in Mobile. Post on Retrieved from

[xxv] Harry E. Wallace was born in Scotland (ca. 1844). Unfortunately, history does not reveal his parents names, however, 1920 Census data reveals his father was from Scotland and his mother from Ireland. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1848, when he was a four-year old boy. In his mid-30s, Wallace became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1880, at the peak of his popularity as a professional photographer in Mobile, Alabama. About this same time, in 1879, his daughter Gertrude Wallace was born in Alabama.

[xxvi] See Mobile & Ohio Railway (1883).

[xxvii] Perrin, W. H., Battle, J. H., & Kniffin, G. C. (1887). Kentucky: A history of the state, 7th ed. Chicago: F. A. Battey, p. 903.

[xxviii] Ibid., p. 903.

[xxix] Passenger manifest. (1848). Queen of the West. M237, Roll 74, Line 31, List #936, p. 9. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.

[xxx] Ibid., p. 903.

[xxxi] Ibid., p. 903.

[xxxii] Ibid., p. 903.

[xxxiii] Ibid., p. 903.

[xxxiv] National Parks Service. (2011). Civil War soldiers and sailors system. Retrieved from

[xxxv] Osborn, I. (1920). Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920—Population, Anderson, South Carolina, Sheet No. 11B.  Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.

[xxxvi] Ibid., p. 14.

[xxxvii] Mace. O. H. (1990). Collector’s guide to early photographs. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Company.

[xxxviii] Ibid., cover page, p. 14.

[xxxix] Morris, G. (1910). Thirteenth census of the United States: 1910-population. Department of Commerce and Labor Bureau of the Census. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.

[xl] Teal, H. (2001). Partners with the Sun: South Carolina photographers, 1840—1940. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p. 125.

[xli] Ibid., p. 129.

[xlii] Ibid., p. 218.

[xliii] Anderson City Directory, volumes for 1914 through 1940. Anderson College annual, the Sororian, 1914 and 1917. As cited in H. Teal, (2001), Partners with the Sun: South Carolina photographers, 1840—1940. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

[xliv] Teal, H. (2001). Partners with the Sun: South Carolina photographers, 1840—1940. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p. 218.

Biographical Sketch for CDV-0004: Orange V. Lemon, Civil War Chaplain of the 36th Regiment Indiana Volunteers

Unknown. "Bro. OV Lemon, Oct. 1863." Carte-de-visite, Indiana. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD

This carte-de-visite provides an excellent vignetted portrait of the Rev. Orange V. Lemon, of Richmond, Indiana. Fortunately he autographed and dated this image in October 1863. He simply wrote: “Your Bro.. O V Lemon, Richmond, Ind Oct 1863”. There is no photographer’s imprint on the verso, thus I cannot say with certainty as to who took this image or where it was created. Although, given the history outlined below, we can certainly presume this photograph was taken near his Indiana home and we know it was taken 15 months after his release from active duty during the Civil War.

Close-up view of autograph and date.

During the outset of the War Between the States, Richmond, Indiana was strongly influenced by the solemn Quaker’s in that region. At first, the researcher thought because of this geographical influence and that Mr. Lemon might have been a Quaker, these may have swayed his choice of the chaplaincy over taking up arms, when he entered military service for the Federal government. However, on further investigation, the researcher learned Rev. Lemon had been since his youth, deeply entrenched in the Methodist Episcopal Church and had been a circuit, or itinerate preacher for that organization.

Orange V. Lemon was born in Ohio on January 27, 1813.  His father, William Lemon, was born in Virginia, while his grandfather, Alexander Lemon, had been born in Northern Ireland.[i] According to various documents, Rev. Lemon grew up on farms in Clarke and Champaign counties of Ohio and he received a regular education in public schools. Reportedly, he was of “Scotch-Irish descent, raised on the farm, gleaning a meager education from the district school…”[ii] [iii] and he eventually became a tanner before finally entering the ministry. When he was 14 years of age, Rev. Lemon heeded the Christian call and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he remained a steadfast leader for the remainder of his life.

At age 24, Orange V. Lemon married 20 year-old Charlotte Warnock, daughter of James Warnock and Nancy Garner. Charlotte was O.V.’s second wife and records do not indicate who his first wife may have been. Shortly afterwards, these newly weds moved westward to La Porte County, Indiana in June 1837. By 1841, Rev. Lemon received his preaching license from the Methodist Episcopal Church (aka, M. E. Church) and served as a church pastor, among other church activities, for 37 years in northern Indiana. By 1855 he and Charlotte were residing in Centerville, Indiana and they established a life-long residency in Richmond, Indiana by 1860.[iv]

Seven months after hostilities broke out between the North and the South in 1861, Rev. Lemon and two of his sons, Joseph G. Lemon from Blountsville, Indiana and Orange V. Lemon, Jr., also from Blountsville[v], volunteered for military action. Rev. Lemon received his chaplain’s commission at the rank of Captain of Cavalry[vi] on 01 October 1861 and he mustered into military service on 10 October 1861. The unit he ministered in was the 36th Regiment Indiana Volunteers.[vii] [viii]

Upon entering military service, he was the benefactor of an extraordinary offering. The following excerpt explains. “The Thirty-Sixth was composed of men from the staid Quaker region round Richmond … It was very common of citizens who remained at home to present a horse to the Colonel of a regiment in token of their gratitude for his offering himself for their defense, but the Chaplain did not so often receive a gift which was equally appropriate. In the Thirty-Sixth it was the Chaplain, Rev. Orange Lemon, on whom the favor was bestowed.”[ix]

Prior to leaving Richmond with the army, Rev. Lemon decided to recruit additional volunteers for the 36th. In a letter dated October 7, 1861, Rev. Lemon addresses the issue to the 36th’s Col. William Grose: “… I have concluded to go to Centerville tonight and probably further west in the morning to recruit men for your regiment, and will thank you for passes on both the Central and Chicago Roads. Please send them immediately by my son Orange. Respectfully, O.V. Lemon.”[x]

Letter from O.V. Lemon requesting "road passes" for recruitment. National Archives and Records Administration.

Unfortunately, Rev. Lemon’s time as military chaplain would be short-lived. By the end of October 1861, with 1,047 soldiers, Rev. Lemon began his trek to the Southern front with its acrid sting of cannon and musket fire. Traveling west from Camp Wayne (Richmond, Indiana), the Regiment arrived at Indianapolis. From there the men moved south to the Ohio River town of Jeffersonville, Indiana and shortly afterwards they crossed over to Louisville, Kentucky. Next they marched south to New Haven, Kentucky and back up to West Point, Kentucky, during the foul February weather of 1862. Here the Regiment embarked on the steamer Woodford, along with a fleet of 18 additional transports, and they steamed down the Ohio River, then up the Cumberland River until they finally arrived at Nashville, Tennessee.[xi]  Their journey on the steamers was interesting and must have been adventurous for these Indiana citizen-soldiers. According to an account given by the commanding officer, the Cumberland River had left its banks due to the February rains and flooding, so the steamers went cross-country through the neighboring farmland:

These waters were very high, all the valleys along the same being inundated. Frequently the steamers would for a shorter route leave the main channel and pass over farms, and by houses with the first story filled with water and the family in the upper, with their boats cabled to the building. The Woodford, in the advance, reached the landing at Nashville February 25 [1862], closely followed by the Diana, with the 6th Ohio, General Nelson and staff.[xii]

The week prior to their arrival in Nashville, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Union forces had just fought a major battle at Fort Donnelson, Tennessee. The 36th  tarried there a short while and moved further south to Murfreesboro and established Camp Andrew Jackson.  From there, they saw action during the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862, and then on to Corinth, Mississippi for its infamous siege. Rev. Lemon may not have been at the Battle of Shiloh, as his military records indicated that he was “absent on leave for the benefit of his health, Mar. 17/62, for 30 days.”[xiii] Contained within his military records obtained from the National Archives, during the previous four months, Rev. Lemon had been suffering from chronic hepatitis and hemorrhoids. He was reported as being present for duty during April and June 1862, but on July 6th, while in Athens, Alabama,[xiv] Rev. Lemon resigned his chaplaincy commission due to these chronic health problems and he made his way back to Richmond, Indiana.

Rev. Lemon's resignation letter from the U.S. Army. National Archives and Records Administration.

But, the story of Orange V. Lemon did not end upon his return to Indiana. On the contrary, he regained much of his health and lived a very active and productive life in ministry for his beloved Method Episcopal Church denomination. Not only had he served as an M.E. Church pastor for 37 years in northern Indiana, church records revealed that Rev. Lemon had been nominated as a delegate to the annual General Conference numerous times. For example, prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, he was a General Conference Delegate[xv] at the 1856 Indianapolis convention. Other conventions that he served in this capacity included the 1864 conference in Philadelphia, 1868 in Chicago, and 1872 in Brooklyn, New York. Other duties that Rev. Lemon held during his lifetime with the M. E. Church included being a district superintendent, board member and treasurer for the Fort Wayne Female College, and as a financial agent for the conference that he would eventually give up due to his failing health.[xvi]

Thus, this carte-de-visite photograph that is nearly 150 years old, with only a simple autograph, has yielded itself to the reconstruction of a personal and social identity of its sitter before an unknown photographic operator. This particular image has been in the researcher’s personal collection since the fall of 1993—nearly two decades at this writing—and each viewing reveals more rich information about a life long forgotten by many. Years ago, I was struck by this man’s odd name, Orange V. Lemon. Frankly, many students and colleagues have remarked about how could a mother name her child as such. Well, records show that O.V. and his wife Charlotte continued this tradition by naming one of their eight children Orange V. Lemon, Jr. For years the middle initial had eluded its true identity. Some speculated it might stand for Victor, which had been a common name during that era. Plausible. But alas, after much investigative research, as that of a detective, its true identity has been revealed: Vandevere. So after years of wondering, this part of the mystery has been solved, Orange Vandevere Lemon[xvii] has revealed his story after decades of silence since the 19th century.

 T. Ownby, PhD

[i] White, E. S. (1902). Genealogy of the descendants of John Walker of Wigton, Scotland, with records of a few allied families: also war records and some fragmentary notes pertaining to the history of Virginia, 1600-1902. Kansas City: Tiernan-Dart Printing.

[ii] Herrick, H. N., & Sweet, W. W. (1917). A history of the north Indiana conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church: From its organization, in 1844 to the present. Indianapolis, IN: W. K. Stewart.

 [iii] Inter-State Publishing Company. (1884). History of Wayne County, Indiana, Together with sketches of its cities, villages and towns, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history, portraits of prominent persons, and biographies of representative citizens. Vol. 2. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Company.

 [iv] Ibid.

 [v] Knight, E. (2011). Knightstown History and Memories: The 36th Volunteer Infantry Regiment of Indiana – Roster and Detailed History. Retrieved from

 [vi] Hearst. (1861). Regimental Descriptive Book. Veterans Records. National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.

 [vii] Ibid.

 [viii] No Author. (1865). Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Roster of Officers 1861-1865, 9 Vols. Indianapolis: W.R. Holloway. Vol. 2, p. 355.

 [ix] No Author. (1866). The Soldiers of Indiana in the War for the Union, Vol. 1. Indianapolis: Merrill and Company, p. 262, 263.

 [x] Lemon, O. V. (1861). Personal Correspondence to Col. Grose. Veterans Records. National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.

 [xi] Grose, W. (1891). The story of the marches, battles and incidents of the 36th Regiment Indiana Volunteers. New Castle, IN: The Courier Company Press.

 [xii] Ibid, p. 95, 96.

 [xiii] Austin. (1862). Returns Records. Veterans Records. National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.

 [xiv] Long. (1862). Field and Staff Muster Roll. Veterans Records. National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, D.C.  Also, complete transcription of text follows:

 Reverend O.V. Lemon Chaplain of the 36th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, having applied for a certificate on which to ground a resignation. I do hereby certify that I have carefully examined this officer, and find him suffering from chronic hepatitis, and hemorrhoids of four months standing and in consequence thereof he is in my opinion unfit for duty, I further declare my belief that he will not be able to resume his duties for a long time, if ever, and that an absence from camp is necessary to his recovery.

            Dated at Camp near J__ka (?)

            This the 11th day of June 1862

                                                                        H. Kersey, Surgeon

                                                                        36th Regt. Ind, Vols.

 In view of the facts as stated in the foregoing certificate, I hereby most respectfully tender my resignation as Chaplain & to take effect from, _____ after the date of its acceptance by the _____ authority.

June 16th 1862                                                            Orange V. Lemon Chaplain

36th Regt. Ind. Vols.

[xv] Herrick, H. N., & Sweet, W. W. (1917). A history of the north Indiana conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church: From its organization, in 1844 to the present. Indianapolis, IN: W. K. Stewart.

 [xvi] Ibid.

 [xvii] White, E. S. (1902). Genealogy of the descendants of John Walker of Wigton, Scotland, with records of a few allied families: also war records and some fragmentary notes pertaining to the history of Virginia, 1600-1902. Kansas City: Tiernan-Dart Printing.

Biographical Sketch for DGT-0016: Pennsylvania to Ohio, An Irishman’s Tale

Here is a fully cased, daguerreotype of Abraham Styles Milliken, who was born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania on May 17, 1785. Seventy-five years later Abraham died near Zanesville, Ohio, on August 4, 1860, just eight months before the first cannon volley of the American Civil War.

Unknown, “Abraham Milliken, brother to Patience Milliken Prior”, Ohio, Sixth plate daguerreotype from Scovill, c. 1850-1855. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Technological Aspects of this Daguerreotype

This particular daguerreotype, using a Scovill Manufacturing Company “EXTRA”[i] sixth plate, is an excellent specimen from the early 1850s. Unfortunately, the daguerreotypist did not leave their mark on this image. The case is moderately embossed, typical of the late 1840s to early 1850s, with a single clasp. An ornate, rich wine colored cover pad is in excellent condition, as is the pinch pad. A late 1840s style preserver was used in conjunction with an oval, sandy-surfaced mat, typical throughout the later daguerreian era. Minimal tarnish appears on the silver surface of this image. Since the original paper packet is no longer intact, we are able to fully observe this image and see that Mr. Milliken was wearing light colored slacks with his dark frock coat and waistcoat. Additionally, without the paper tape, the plate manufacture’s hallmark is clearly visible. He is posed against a plain, light colored background. Lastly, on closer inspection of his face, we find is a considerable amount of freckles on his face, possibly indicating he was fair skinned from his Irish descent.

Sixth plate daguerreotype without perserver and mat.

Close-up view of “Scovill Mfg’ Co.” hallmark stamped into corner of plate.

The hallmark, or manufacturer’s logo, was typically stamped into the corner of the daguerreotype plate. Most often these plates where made as a large single sheet known as a “whole or full plate”.  There is disagreement among historians and researchers as to size standardization[ii] and there certainly were differences between continental Europe and English speaking countries[iii]. For my discussion in this paper, I will use the American size of 6 ½ ” x 8 ½ ”. These full plates were subsequently divided further to give us half plates, ¼ plates, sixth plates, ninth plates, and small 1/16th plates. In true capitalistic form, manufacturers sold their stamped plates to distributors, who in turn, sold them to the daguerreian operator. Once the daguerreotypist obtained the full plate, which had been stamped in one corner by the manufacturer, it was cut into the aforementioned smaller sizes. As can be seen in this process, only one final plate, say a sixth plate, would bear the hallmark while the remaining five cuts remain forever unidentifiable.

In the specimen under consideration here, I was delighted to open the preserver packet to discover the Scovill hallmark impressed into its corner. The Scovill Manufacturing Company began its work in a former gristmill in Waterbury, Connecticut, where they produced brass buttons and other sewing paraphernalia, back in 1802[iv]. By late 1839 or early 1840, James L. M. Scovill and W. H. Scovill, began production of American-made daguerreian plates for the budding photo phenomenon that was about to sweep the country. In 1850, the company was incorporated as the Scovill Manufacturing Company and the hallmark illustrated in the image under examination came into use.[v]

 Socio-historical Aspects of this Image

 What was discovered under the image packet however, yielded a treasure trove of information about the sitter in this daguerreotype. Hidden under the packet were two hand-written notes explaining who this gentleman was. The first tells us he is Abraham Milliken, brother to Patience Milliken Prior and when he was born. No death date was written, indicating this note had been placed in the case prior to Abraham’s death in 1860. A second note, written in a different hand and different style paper, explains to us “Abraham Milliken Sr. bro to Gus’s grandmother Patience Milliken Prior, Mrs. Jns [sic] Prior.” Thus, armed with this valuable information, a little genealogical sleuthing revealed an interesting family story associated with this gentleman born during the late 18th century.

Origninal hand-written notes from family members providing genealogical data about the image’s sitter.

According to family historians[vi], Abraham Styles was a second generation American born Milliken. His grandfather, Thomas Milliken was born circa 1730, in Londonderry, Ireland (Northern) and reportedly migrated to America with his brother prior to 1760, and initially settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Within the decade, Thomas had been granted several hundred acres (about 400) in Juanita County, Pennsylvania and he had married another Irish pioneer’s daughter named Jane MCConnell. At the outset of the American Revolutionary War, he joined the 2nd Regiment in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and eventually arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Purportedly, he eventually served as a spy and afterwards was assigned to General George Washington’s staff. After suffering extensive hardship, exposure to the cold and lack of adequate rations, Thomas was released to his home in Pennsylvania, where he shortly died thereafter.

Before and during his service in the Revolutionary War, Thomas and Jane had at least six children. The first child was John Milliken, who was Abraham’s father. John was born in Pennsylvania in 1766 and died 77 years later on January 17, 1843, in Pennsylvania. John was married twice during his life: first to Pamelia Styles, sometime around 1783 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Pamelia (some sources call her Permilia[vii]) was the daughter of Abraham Styles and Patience (surname unknown). His second wife was Mary Campbell and they wed in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, around 1794. From this second marriage, John sired an additional 16 children! During the Revolutionary War, John served in several local militias as a private soldier.

John and Pamelia had four children, with the first being Abraham Styles Milliken. The three other children were Rhoda, Thomas (who died as a child), and Patience (Prior). After the deaths of their mother and brother Thomas, Patience (who as still a baby), and the remaining siblings were raised by their maternal grandparents: Abraham and Patience Styles, in Greene County, Pennsylvania, near a place called Pumpkin Run.

The family history begins to fade after their childhood, but we do know that when Patience was 18 years of age, she married John Prior, on July 29, 1812, in Greene County, Pennsylvania. At some point after this event, the Priors and Abraham Styles Milliken appear to be living near Zanesville, Ohio. To date, research has not revealed Abraham’s occupation upon arriving in Ohio. However, records indicate he became intertwined with the Rex Family[viii], also from Pennsylvania. His sister, Rhoda had married Jonas Rex in 1808 and Abraham had married Hatty Huffsdale (Rex), the widow of Edward Rex, brother to Jonas. This was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Jane Hufty, daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Barclay) Hufty, and they had eight children.

More research needs to be done to uncover the reasons for Abraham Styles Milliken and his associated family members’ removal from Pennsylvania to Ohio during the early 19th century. What occupation and social position did he hold? No matter how much I discover about these early images, there’s always more to learn.

Terry Ownby, PhD

[i] Historic Camera. (n.d.). Scovill Manufacturing Company. Retrieved from

See also: for additional information on this company’s earlier hallmarks.

[ii] Mace, O. H. (1990). Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Company.

[iii] ARCHALTFOTOKONZERV. (2004). Sizes of the Daguerreotype Plates. Retrieved from   

[iv] (2011). Scovill Manufacturing Company. Historic Camera: History Librarium. Retrieved from

[v] Mace, O. H. (1990). Collector’s Guide to Early Photographs. Radnor, PA: Wallace-Homestead Book Company. See also, Craig, J. S. (n.d.). Scovill Mfg Co. Retrieved from

[vi] Page-Clark, J. (2001). The Page-Clarks from Poole, Dorset, England. Retrieved from

[vii] Leckey, H. L. (1977). The Tenmile Country and its Pioneer Families: A Genealogical History of the Upper Monongahela Valley. Green County, PA: Green County Historical Society.

[viii] Ibid.

Biographical Sketch for DGT-0100: A New York Farm Couple, Uncle Gaylord & Aunt Amelia Warner

Unknown, "Uncle Gaylord Warner and Aunt Amelia Warner". Sixth-plate daguerreotype, upstate New York, c. 1845-49. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Displayed here is an example of a nice mid-1840s daguerreotype, which contains a hand-written note identifying the sitters in the portrait. I will begin my discussion of this image with remarks about its provenance and style, followed by information gleaned about the sitters in the image.This 1/6 plate daguerreotype is housed in a full case with some damage to the inside spine. The case presents itself in simple red-brown Moroccan leather with very little ornamentation and two exterior clasps. There are no embossed designs typical of American cases made after the mid-1840s. Instead, it is conservative as many British cases were during that era. There is however, a simple impressed straight border recessed about 3/8” from the edges on the front side of the case. Placed at each of the four corners are impressions of a fish.

Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD

The backside of the case is plain with no ornamentation. The cover pad is simple black velvet and it has a sandy finished double elliptical mat with a heavy brass “rope” pattern preserver. This style mat and preserver are examples of inventory held over time. This mat style came into use around 1845, while the preserver appeared in the late 1840s (1847-49). The paper tape seal appears to be original and intact. Thus, based on the case style and its internal components, this daguerreotype most likely was produced between 1845 and 1849.

Attached to the cover pad of black velvet with an old, small, heavy sewing pin, is a scrap of old, ruled notepaper bearing the sitters names written in beautiful cursive style writing. Their names were “Uncle Gaylord Warner” and “Aunt Amelia Warner”. Obviously this note informs us that the daguerreotype had passed on to other family members, possibly a niece or nephew.

Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD

Armed with this information, I began my genealogical research and discovered Gaylord and Amelia were farmers in New York state. Gaylord’s full name was actually Eleazer Gaylord Warner and he was born September 8th, 1803 in Mayfield, New York. His death date is recorded as October 21, 1879. He comes from a long line of Warners that mostly resided in Connecticut after the American family patriarch, Andrew Warner, who descended from the Warners of Great Waltham, Essex County, England, during the 16th century. Gaylord’ occupation is listed as that of “farmer”, which was that of many of his ancestors as well. On closer inspection of this daguerreotype, Gaylord’s hands appear to be rough and unrefined, dissimilar to those of a refined gentry. Although his father was also a successful farmer in Connecticut, he was also a lieutenant in the 10th Company, 6th Regiment in the state militia in 1770. Records also show his siblings’ occupations ranged from shoemakers to doctors.

Not much is known about Amelia. From this daguerreotype we can see she wore a simple and modest dark dress and a light colored day cap, typical of the 1840s. Two simple band rings appear on her hand nearest Gaylord. Her maiden name appears to have been Amelia T. Parsons and she married Gaylord on September 25, 1827. She died sometime after their third child was born. Children of this marriage were: daughter that died in infancy; Salina Elizabeth (Alexander) Warner who was adopted, born April 22, 1833 and died April 12, 1872; John Parsons Warner, born August 17, 1837 and died September 21, 1838; Eleazer Gaylord Warner (Jr.), born October 3, 1841 and died April 19, 1843.

When Gaylord was about 69 years old, he married his second wife, Eliza A. Shelp, on April 30, 1872. Gaylord died seven years later at the age of 76.

This particular daguerreotype has always been one of my favorites. In part I think, because of its plain case and its identification note pinned to the cover pad. The Warner daguerreotype was purchased near Indianapolis, Indiana, along with a few other daguerreotypes, tintypes, and CDVs. I was told they all came from an estate sale. So, now I’m left wondering how this mid-1840s daguerreotype that was created in New York, found its way to Indiana. One obvious clue would be the identification note: the image had been passed on to a descendant within the family and had been written by either a niece or nephew. From there however, one can only speculate as to its travel westward to the Hoosier State.

 Terry Ownby, PhD

Biographical Sketch for CDV-0100: A Confederate Son, Mathew Brady, and Abraham Lincoln

Mathew B. Brady, “A. M. Hughes, Esqr., Washington City, DC”. Carte de visite, Washington, DC, c. February 1864. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD

I acquired this fine carte-de-visite (CDV) on August 3, 1994 near Mobile, Alabama, after much excitement upon seeing the photographer’s imprint: M. B. Brady & Co. Not only was I thrilled to obtain an image from Mathew Brady’s Washington, DC studio, I was captivated by the middle-age man looking back at me and his bold autograph on the backside of the card. Lastly, the CDV had an intact blue two-cent federal Civil War revenue tax stamp, which would date this image between 1864 and 1866. The stamp appears to have been attached after Mr. Hughes signed the photograph, but before leaving Brady’s studio.

Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD

Over the years, I have often looked at this image and wondered what story would unfold from this visual time capsule taken during the waning years of our nation’s greatest internal conflict. The story that eventually revealed itself to me is one of intrigue and one that takes a journey from a lowly Confederate cavalry prisoner-of-war to the Union’s highest ranking official, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. But first, I’ll begin with an overall description of the photograph’s image and its reverse side.

The condition of the CDV is rather good, considering someone cut and rounded the bottom corners of the photograph, possibly for easier insertion into an album page. Single or double gold lines imprinted on the borders of a carte were typical of the early years of CDVs and this particular carte bears a double line gold border. Across the bottom front edge of the carte we can read Brady & Co. Washington, also imprinted in gold. Overwritten, using pen and ink, are the sitter’s initials: A. M. H. The sitter of this portrait is a mustachioed man who appears to be in his early 50s, graying hair that is slightly disheveled, and with a few days growth of beard. He wears a heavy frock coat with lapelled waistcoat, while his dark-colored cravat is tucked under the lapels.

On the backside of the carte, the observer notices three distinct visual aspects: the photographer’s imprint, the sitter’s autograph, and the federal Civil War revenue tax stamp.  The photographer’s imprint reads: M. B. Brady & Co., National Photographic Portrait Galleries, No. 352 Pennsylvania Av., Washington, D.C. & New York. According John S. Craig, Brady originally set up studio operations in Washington in 1858 and subsequently moved to the Pennsylvania address in 1860.

Close up view of Brady’s imprint.

The signature, which is boldly scrolled across nearly the entire backside of the carte, reads: A. M. Hughes, Esqr. Washington City, D.C. The abbreviated suffix after his name caught my attention when I realized he had added an “r” to the common truncation for an attorney’s title of Esquire. Although, during the 19th century and prior, the title esquire was sometimes used for gentlemen that did not hold specific social rank, yet it distinguished them from the commoner. Thus, over the years I have often wondered which denotation of esquire would apply to Mr. Hughes. Now I know and as the portending story unfolds, I will share that with you, my reader.

This is a portrait of an intense looking middle-aged man named Archelaus Madison Hughes. He ventured into Mathew B. Brady’s studio in Washington City during the winter of 1864, just prior to having an audience with President Abraham Lincoln. Archelaus was an attorney by trade and was no stranger to the legal profession. It ran deep in his family’s ancestry. In fact, politics and America’s judicial system can be traced in his family back to Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, who had signed land-grant papers for the family. One ancestor served in the administration of George Washington. Archelaus’ grandfather, Col. Archelaus Hughes, had commanded a Virginia regiment during the Revolutionary War. One of his uncles had served in the Virginia legislature, while a cousin ran for a seat in Congress against John Crockett, son of legendary Davy Crockett, according to family sources.

Archelaus Madison Hughes was born in Stokes County, North Carolina, on November 21, 1811. His parents were William Hughes (son of Col. Archelaus Hughes) and Alice Carr. He was educated at the Patrick Henry Academy in Virginia and afterwards, moved to Maury County, Tennessee. He was admitted to the Bar to practice law full-time when he was 35 years of age. Shortly afterwards, he was elected Attorney General for the Columbia, Tennessee judicial circuit and was re-elected in 1853. In total, he would serve in this capacity for 13 years. He would also serve as Circuit Judge and as U.S. District Attorney. What’s more, Archelaus would follow the steps of his family predecessors by being a Free Mason. He was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee in 1852 and 1853. During the Civil War, in 1863, he served in this capacity once again. Below is his oil painting (35”x28”) from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee—Free & Accepted Masons, Nashville, Tennessee.

NSCDAT-Tennessee Portrait Project

Archelaus married Sarah G. Mosley, of Bedford County, Tennessee in 1836. They had two daughters; but Sarah died in 1842. Two years later, Archelaus remarried to a young lady named Mattie B. Neill. From this marriage would come nine more children, including Archelaus M. Hughes, Jr. It is at this point that the story of the photograph becomes very interesting!

Archelaus M. Hughes, Jr., ran away from home during the early years of the Civil War, so he could join the cavalry of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who later would become the first Grand Wizard of the infamous Ku Klux Klan. Young Archelaus, Jr., was only 15 years of age when he joined the Confederate Army. He served in Company G, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry from June 1862 until July 1863.  At that time, he was camped near Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Here, he was approached by a lieutenant who had orders from President Jefferson Davis, to go behind Federal lines in middle Tennessee to recruit a battalion of cavalry troopers. While on this mission, Archelaus, Jr., was captured (October 15, 1863) and imprisoned at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Indiana. While in this prison, he shared a bunk with Confederate Gen. John P. Hickman. During the ensuing months, Archelaus, Jr., simultaneously contracted three diseases: pneumonia, erysipelas and mumps. Eventually, he became so sick at the prison’s hospital, that authorities telegraphed his father in Columbia, Tennessee, to inform him that young Archelaus, Jr., would not survive long.

Upon reading this dreadful news, Esquire Hughes immediately traveled by train to Indianapolis to be near his son. According to Archelaus, Jr., that by the time his father arrived at Camp Morton, “there I had improved somewhat and the doctors told him that if he could get me out of there I had a chance to live.” To wit, Archelaus, Sr., obtained the necessary documents from the Federal doctors at the prison hospital and made way for Washington, DC. Upon arrival at the Union capitol, Archelaus, Sr., visited with Andrew Johnson, the Tennessee senator that sided with the Federal cause. Johnson had been appointed as the military governor of Tennessee and shortly afterwards as Vice-President to Mr. Lincoln. Upon reviewing Archelaus’s request for his son’s release from prison, Johnson escorted him to the White House where he had an audience with Mr. Lincoln. According to Archelaus, Jr.’s, testimony, “Mr. Lincoln took the application and wrote on the back of it this order…‘I direct the release of this young man as a “boon” to Governor Johnson.’” Additionally, Archelaus, Jr., stated that Mr. Lincoln had dated orders for his prison release on February 13th, 1864. After his release from his Union captors, Archelaus, Jr., recovered and would eventually follow his father’s footsteps by becoming an attorney. Later, when in his 50s, he served in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel during the Spanish-American War of 1898.

As to the subject of the carte under investigation, Archelaus, Sr., continued after the War as an attorney and judge in Tennessee. President Ulysses Grant appointed him as U.S. District Attorney, from 1873 to 1877. In 1881, as a Republican, he was voted as a candidate for governor of Tennessee.  At nearly 87 years of age, Arhelaus, Sr., passed away and his internment at Rose Hill cemetery in Columbia, Tennessee, had full Masonic honors.

Thus, the story of this photograph taken during the winter of 1864 has finally revealed some of its narrative to me, and now to you, my reader. A story of one prominent Southern family deeply entwined in state and national politics and one father’s love and care for his son, became the plot of a journey that started decades earlier in England and would resolve at America’s highest officer, Abraham Lincoln. However, this photograph has not given up all its secrets. For instance, how and why did this particular image find its way to Mobile, Alabama? Why did Esquire Hughes have his likeness taken in the first place? Was it to be presented to President Lincoln? Why did he choose Matthew Brady’s studio? Was it because of his fame and notoriety as a photographer during the Civil War? The answers to these questions may never be known. But for the time being, this 19th century photograph has finally given me answers as to who the person was staring back at me through time: Archelaus Madison Hughes, Esqr.

Terry Ownby, PhD

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Unknown photographer, "Boy and His Dog". Sixth-plate daguerreotype by A. Gaudin of Paris, France. Collection of Terry Ownby, PhD.

Antiquarian Images, Ltd., was established in 1995 by Dr. Terry Ownby, as a dealer, consultant, and researcher in 19th century American photographic images. For nearly two decades, Dr. Ownby has been collecting 19th century photographs, which include: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, albumen prints, cyanotypes, carbro prints, and cabinet cards.  Dr. Ownby will periodically update this blog with early photographic images from his collection, with historical research commentary. Check out his blogroll for links to various sites of interest for photographic history. All articles are copyrighted material of Terry Ownby and may not be used without written permission. © 2011 Terry Ownby.