My Ancestors’ Old, Old Photo Album and James Garfield.

I begin to peruse the third old photo album found in my great grandmother’s home where I grew up. I turn the page and find the first photograph is of Senator James Garfield taken by the G.W. Pach studio in NYC.

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Perhaps the James Garfield photo will give me a clue to the time period of this album?

According to the NY historical society, Gustavus Pach’s studio was located at 841 Broadway from 1877 to 1881. Between 1881 and 1890, the studio was listed under the Pach Brothers at this location. From the 1870s, the Pach brothers operated studios at Harvard, Yale, West Point, and Long Branch NJ also noted on the back of the photo.

From the 1870s, the Pach Brothers made portraits of elite families including George W Childs, Anthony Drexil and their close friend Ulysses S. Grant. Impressed with the brothers’ photographic work, Grant, Childs, and Drexel pooled funds to underwrite the Pach brothers’ first photographic studio built at Long Branch on the grounds of the United States Hotel, as well as their mobile horse-drawn darkroom. Long Branch was a shore town that was a favorite resort for wealthy Philadelphians such as Childs and Drexel.

I learn that the Pach brothers were photographers for elite families and Ulysses S Grant. It makes sense they also photographed James Garfield.

When was Garfield a US Senator? He was an Ohio Republican elected to the US Senate in 1859 until 1862, when he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1881, Garfield was elected President after nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. His Presidency was impactful, but cut short after 200 days when he was assassinated.

The Pach photography studio was at this NY location from the 1870s when Garfield was not a Senator.  Another mystery.

Why did Garfield hold such a special place in this photo album? My ancestors were Maine Republicans. My great great grandfather Otis Means was a member of the Maine Legislature in the 1860s/1870s era.

I search for a connection between Garfield and Maine and find that his secretary of State was Maine’s own James G Blaine. Garfield and Blaine had both served in the US House of Representatives between 1863 and 1876, both had fought government corruption and opposed the powerful“stalwarts” faction that sought control of the Republican party.

Blaine stood by Garfield’s side when the assassin’s bullet struck.

I can only guess when it was inserted into the photo album, but perhaps it was in response Garfield’s horrific assassination with Blaine by his side in 1881.

This image may depict Garfield, his assassin, and Blaine. The man on the far left resembles Blaine.

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Last year, I watched an excellent PBS documentary on James Garfield. You can watch it here.

More on this photo album in an upcoming post!

Related posts:

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa late 1800s. Part II.

How the Wrong Information Ends Up in Your Family Tree.

Baptismal record from 1567 where priest has omitted the father’s surname, Onorati.Genealogist Lynn Serafinn discusses 15 common ways we make mistakes in genealogy, and offers tips on how to separate fact from fiction in your family history. It’s easy to get hooked on the act of discovery when researching our family histories. We love finding…

via How the WRONG Information Ends Up in Your Family Tree — Trentino Genealogy | Family History for Trentini Decendants

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa late 1800s. Part II.

There are four old, old photo albums I found in the attic of my great grandparents home where I grew up. This album, with the beautiful leather cover embossed with bright-colored flowers, has the name of the owner on the first page: my great grandmother’s eldest sister, Mrs. G.W. Flynn, Thirza Getchell Flynn.

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I sit and search through this beautiful album, looking for photos that I recognize.

The first photograph in the album is a handsome man I do not recognize. Perhaps he is Thirza’s husband, George W. Flynn. It is also possible he is one of the Getchell men.

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This man’s photo was taken at Edouart & Cobb, a studio located at No. 504 Kearny Street, in San Francisco, California. In 1869, Alexander Edouart joined David Cobb and opened a studio on Kearny Street. Their partnership lasted until 1881. Thus, this photo dates between 1869 and 1881.

On the next page, there is a beautiful child holding a doll. This is one of two photos with a name written on the back. Sophie Palmer, age six years, 1882.

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I search for a connection between the Getchell and Palmer families. I find that my great great great grandfather John Getchell had a sister, Olive Getchell Palmer, born in 1810. Perhaps Sophie is her granddaughter.

On the next page, I find this man and woman. I have seen her before among the Getchell/Means family photos. This couple may be Thirza’s mother and father – my great great grandparents, Marshfield (1821 – 1892) and Martha Jane Holmes Getchell (1825 – 1913). I have Martha Getchell’s linens, blankets and quilts in my home.

I run upstairs and carefully sort through the family photos stored in my great grandfather’s secretary and find two remembered photos of her, one is with a family, likely her son, Lysander or Osgood, his wife and child.

As I search through the secretary, I discover a color tintype photo that resembles this woman at a much younger age.

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I turn the page of the photo album. There is a baby, photographed by Ezekiel Vose in Machias, circa 1870s.

On the same page, there is a photo of young child, the name “Thirza” written on the back.  Unless there are two Thirzas in the family, this may be Thirza Getchell Flynn as a child. Thirza was born in 1842 making that photo pre-1850. Is this even possible? It will take more research to figure this one out.

A young girl photographed with her doll at E Vose in Machias is dressed regally!

Then, I see my great grandfather William when he was young, age 21. I have seen this photo before in his autograph album. William Means was Thirza’s brother-in-law. He married my great grandmother Nellie Getchell Means.

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The rest of the photos in the album are a mystery. These men, women and children could be from the Getchell, Flynn, Means or Holmes families. It strikes me how most of these photos are not stern, instead artistic. I find the clothing, poses and photo settings fascinating!

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Related posts:

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

The Means and Getchell Families.

My great grandparents secretary today.

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My Great Great Grandmother’s Sister Eleanor

My great great grandmother was Elsie Fuller Berry Means. Among the portraits of my maternal ancestors in the Grace Means collection, there is a photo of her sister, Eleanor Berry Phinney.

On the back of her portrait Grace wrote:

Eleanor Berry Means. Second daughter of Benjamin Berry and Sarah Fuller Berry – sister of Elsie Fuller Berry Means.

My grandmother always said “Aunt Eleanor as a girl was the beauty of the family.” This picture – between 70 and 80 – surely confirms that. 

To Will from Grace –

Christmas 1924

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Eleanor was born in 1816, four years before her sister Elsie, and died in 1893 at the age of 77. She was buried with her husband Mattias Phinney (1800 – 1880) in the Churchhill Cemetery, Machiasport, Maine.

Related posts:

My Great Great Grandmother Elsie Fuller Berry Means.

My Great Great Grandfather Otis Witham Means.

My Great Great Grandparents’ Family.

Grace Means Photo Collection. 1924.

Portraits of the Ancestors.

Grace Adele Means.

Andrew Fuller Means.

Eliphalet Scribner Means.

Your Preservation Stories

Preservation pays off—read stories of family discoveries people have made due to the preservation efforts of others. Piles of old documents sitting around in the attic. Old family keepsakes gathering dust. Each piece of your family’s past has a story to tell, but unfortunately, these stories can be forgotten or lost if steps aren’t taken…

via Your Preservation Stories — FamilySearch Blog

Hannah Weston Chapter DAR. Burnham Tavern Open Every Saturday During Summer.

Machias Valley News Observer, Wednesday, June 3, 1936. The Burnham Tavern is a historic landmark of the Revolutionary War.

My maternal ancestor, Joseph Getchell Jr., fought the British in the rebellion for independence of the American colonies to prevent the British from taking their primary resources: timber for ships and their hard-earned money, taxation without representation. Once British demands were made, residents of Machias not only refused to comply by providing timber or paying their taxes, they erected a “liberty pole” in the town square. And then, they set out to seize British ships that entered their harbor.

A group of townsmen met to decide on their plan of action. Once agreed upon at the Rubicon, the brook they all jumped across to seal their pact, these men collectively captured the British ship “Margaretta” and hid her upriver. Joseph Getchell Jr. was among the first men who jumped on board the Margaretta in the assault. The captured British ship captain died. His blood remains in the Burnham Tavern where they took him after their assault. It was the first naval battle of the American Revolution.

The preservation of the Burnham Tavern is overseen by the Hannah Weston chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as a reminder to future generations never to yield to tyranny.  The DAR chapter in Downeast Maine is named for Hannah Weston, a Revolutionary War heroine who carried ammunition through sixteen miles of wilderness for the men who were engaged in the first naval battle of the war which took place in Machias Bay. I am proud to be a member of the Hannah Weston chapter of the DAR, as was my mother, Louise Johnson Rier. It is the second largest DAR chapter in the state of Maine, second only to Portland.

My great grandmother, Nellie Getchell Means, was the great grandchild of Joseph Getchell Jr., Revolutionary War soldier at the age of 18. His father, Joseph Getchell Sr., was the first Getchell settler at Machias in 1769. My great grandmother’s father was Marshfield Getchell, son of John who was the son of on Joseph Jr. Thus, Joseph Getchell Jr. is my 4X great grandfather.

Reference: History of Machias, Maine by George W. Drisko. Press of the Republican. 1904.

The Burnham Tavern, beautifully preserved, as it is today.

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This summer, the Tavern will be open from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday, beginning on Tuesday, July 5th and continuing through Friday, September 2nd.  In addition, it may be possible to arrange visits at other times if a docent is available.  Please call 207-733-4577 or e-mail <info@burnhamtavern.com> for further information.

 

 

 

 

 

Repurposing My Ancestors’ Boot Box

I found the wooden box in the barn of my great grandparents home where I grew up. It was covered with faded and frayed upholstery fabric. I stored it for seven years. When I moved into my home, I began to work on it. I tore the fabric off and removed the stuffing of straw and old coats of children from under the top.

Underneath the once pretty upholstery material, I found brown burlap with a unique embroidered pattern in red.

I had red burlap in mind for a cover.

I realized I should have been documenting the process. The embroidery pattern was a part of family history. My ancestors were making use of whatever they could lay their hands on, more than once. They needed storage and another place to sit. I did too.

I began to take photos of the old burlap, decided to hang it in my shed for contemplation. Then I discovered the box was originally used to ship boots from Boston to CW Vose and Sons in Machias, Maine. I expect my ancestors bought their boots there, then put the box to use in their home, more than once.

Now the boot box sits in my living room next to a child’s rocker of my great grandparents and a lamp as old as I am. The box contains material for sewing projects that I want handy for use. And, it’s another seat on metal wheels that are in remarkably good condition. You won’t find metal wheels like that anymore.

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