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.
I believe the next photo is the same woman a few years later; her snood or scarf seems identical. She looks about ten years older, so if it's now around 1888, Lucretia would be 80. The young Danielses had moved from Lansing to nearby Hudson, where Henry's parents were now living, in Lenawee County
, between 1870 and 1880.
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!