The opening photo today, a nod to this week's Sepia Saturday theme, was taken from the front yard of my father's childhood home in Elm, Michigan, looking across the cow-strewn fields where a freight train smokes away down the Pere Marquette railroad...an example of the "vanishing point" effect.
Not all that far away from Elm was the town of Hudson. And Hudson marks a sort of vanishing point for much of my family tree, where the roots disappear back into a darkish history.
The family album has several photos that don't note the subject's name. However, the backs bear the imprint of two photographers in Hudson, Michigan: Fred D. Brown and D.H. Spencer. Members of both the Hale and, predominantly, the Daniels, clans lived in the Hudson area in the late 1800s. (The longtime American English Hales married into the lately arrived English Danielses, who then married into the Scots/Irish Orrs, who then married into the longtime American English Bentleys.)
George Daniels, my great-great-grandfather, first acquired land in Concord, Michigan, near Battle Creek, in 1848.
The first photo below I am guessing is a contemporary of George Daniels: Lucretia (Johnson) Hale, who was the mother of George's daughter-in-law Martha (Hale) Daniels. I make this guess based on the fact that it's a tintype (this one has no photographer imprint), and the only other such photos like it in the album are of Martha's daughters Louise and Alice, around 1876. That was two years after the death of Henry Daniels' mother, Ann Twidale Daniels, the other likely candidate for the photo.
Lucretia would have been about 69 that year. Her husband Hiram Hale (a melodious and oddly common name, as it turns out) had been dead since 1861.
It was a goodly sized family living in Concord as of 1850. The following photos, probably taken 20 years later, are possibly Henry H. Daniels' siblings Mary, b. 1837; Robert, b. 1833 MI; Benjamin, b. 1835; and/or William b. 1846. But no solid evidence exists aside from the photographer's location (Hudson being quite nearby) .
This guy looks to be about the right age to be Robert or Benjamin if this was taken in 1876. On the other hand, he bears a resemblance, especially in the mouth, to Martha Hale Daniels. Like George, she had three brothers and a sister: Andrew (b. 1837), Benjamin (b. 1835), John (b. 1845), and Alice (b. 1848) ... Still, everyone looked so "down in the mouth" in these portraits, it's hard to tell!
Hard to know whether "down in the mouth" was a family characteristic or just a favored style of posing. The women are tending toward a smile, while the men seem to be frowning.ReplyDelete
I like aerial views of how towns were laid out, like the Hudson card. Early engineering must have been tricky business.ReplyDelete
Had to chuckle at the vanishing points in your genealogy -- we must be related!
We look at these old, old faces but sometimes we don't get the chance to see what interesting people are hidden inside except for the tibits that Sepians are able to give us. Thanks.ReplyDelete
I find it such a shame, when looking at those old time formal portraits, that the people couldn't smile. I smile can convey quite a bit about a person's personality. The dour looks they were made to suffer for those old pictures says so very little about those posing.ReplyDelete
More of your old portraits in those interesting gold shoot-like surrounds. I love that Mary's perfect long ringlets, and how lovely to have a copy of your great great grandfather's deed of grant.ReplyDelete
I'll confess that although my daughter and her husband live in Michigan outside Oxford, Oakland County) I had to check where Hudson was located. It made me smile to see that Hudson is a city, Oxford a village although Oxford has a larger population..ReplyDelete
Lucretia looks ready to burst into a smile and who wouldn't love Mary's ringlets.
What a splendid pairing of names - Lucretia and Hiram Hale. I do enjoy looking at these portraits.ReplyDelete
I think it's so odd that Lucretia wore the same headgear for at least 10 years. I wonder if she ever changed it?ReplyDelete
An interesting set of photographs.
Ladies of the Grove
This is a wonderful family treasure to research and connect the dots so to speak. The tintype of Lucretia was made as a reverse positive image, i.e. a mirror image, unlike the later photo which is a realistic print from a negative. If you flip the tintype image with photo software, you should see more resemblance between the two photos.ReplyDelete
Oh! I didn't know that. Thanks, Mike, I'll try it.Delete
I didn't know that either, Mike. Now if only I had some old family tintypes to experiment!Delete
How fortunate to have so many old family photos. If only people had written the names on the backs we would be so much further ahead with our family histories! I love the aerial view of Hudson. With such a small town, you could almost pinpoint the location of an ancestor's house or farm.ReplyDelete
Just wondering about the significance of the gold (stick like) framing? Two different photographers have used the same style, so wondering if it has any meaning?ReplyDelete
Your father must have loved growing up near a railway line. I bet they weren't allowed to play on the tracks but did anyway.ReplyDelete