at Stewart Field in Newburgh, NY.
The first photo in the album is of Senator James Garfield, an Ohio Republican elected President in 1881 and assassinated 200 days later. I pondered why this photo was placed so prominently in the album in a previous post.
As I turn the pages of this album, there are images of men, women, children, and babies. I recognize no one – except this lady.
Only three photos have names written on the back. They may be relatives or friends of the family.
Artie? Elizabeth Sanders. Eight months old. May 1898. Norman Studio. 39 George St. Halifax, NS. The name is curious, if I spelled it correctly, but Artie was a name used for a girl in the late 1800s.
David Wentworth. Kimball & Ayer, Augusta Maine.
J. Frank Robinson. October 31st, 1866. Richardson’s Ferrotype, Ambrotype, and Photograph Rooms. 120 Hanover Street, Boston. Another man, who resembles Robinson is beside him in the album, his photo taken at the same studio, no name noted on the back.
There are many tintype photos that must date between 1855 and 1870s, such as J. Frank Robinson and the man beside him above. This woman and two children are other examples.
For a number of reasons, I believe all four photo albums belonged to generations of the Getchell/Means/Berry families, although I can’t be sure. One album belonged to Thirza Getchell, my great grandmother Nellie Getchell Mean’s eldest sister. More than one old, old album contains photos of my great grandfather William Means.
There are two soldiers in this third album. Placed in a photo slot beside one of the men, there is a woman who posed with the same chair, perhaps his wife. All three photos were taken at the studio of Keith & Ross Photographers, Machias, Maine. I can find no information on this studio and the dates it was located in Machias. I am currently seeking more information on soldiers uniforms, what regiment they served in, and their identities.
There are many other photos from the studios in Machias, likely members of the Means, Getchell and Berry families located in Machias and surrounding towns.
The Machias photographer of these two girls was Ezekiel Vose, listed in the 1876 Briggs’ Maine Business Directory.
One photo of a beautiful woman and child was taken at S. Wasgatt studio in Milbridge, ME. I can find no information on this studio as yet.
The man on the left below was photographed at the same Chicago studio as my great grandfather William Means at age 21 (R). JM Goins was located on State Street in Chicago for two years, 1875 and 1876.
The man, woman and children below were photographed in Boston by W. Shaw Warren at 41 Winter Street. W. S. Warren worked as a photographer at that location from 1870 to 1874. (Source: A directory of Massachusetts photographers, 1839-1900; research by Chris Steele & Ronald Polito; edited by Ronald Polito, c1993, p. 133.)
The Genelli studio in Sioux City, Iowa photographed this woman.
There are photographs of men and women in this album, and others, taken by a studio in San Francisco, California. According to this online document on Berry/Getchell genealogy, my great grandmother Nellie’s eldest brother Osgood Getchell re-located from Marshfield, Maine where he was born, to California. Osgood was a farmer, owned 109 acres along the Pacific coast in redwood country, and built a large family home overlooking the coastline. This document also shows that Getchell members had lived in California or decades, from the time of the gold rush.
I will focus on the California branch of the Getchell family in a future post. My head is spinning…
Among many questions and uncertainty, it is clear that my ancestors had relatives and friends spread across the US and the Canadian Maritimes in the latter part of the 1800s, from Downeast Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Boston, Chicago, Sioux City, San Francisco and the Pacific coast.
The California Branch of the Getchell/Berry Families. There are also tintype photos in this album.
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.
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.
I can only guess when this was inserted into the 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
My great grandparents secretary today.