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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


PHILIP BARRETTE, July 1st 1889
This photo of Philip Barrette was found at an antique show in West Palm Beach, Florida. The photo bears a studio stamp which says "Simas, Placerville, Cal."

The handwritten name on the back also includes a first name initial which is either an "S" or an "L", but the gentleman must have gone by the name "Philip" more often than whatever his first name was.

Internet research shows a BARRETTE family living near Placerville in this time period, in a community called Shingle Springs. The patriarch of the family, Guillaume Barrette (1825-1882), was French-Canadian and settled in Shingle Springs in the mid-1800's. He and his New Hampshire-born wife, Abby Smith, had two sons Ernest G. Barrette (1863-1931) and Louis Philip Barrette (1867-1929). The family were farmers, living along French Creek, and were prominent citizens of the community. The younger brother was elected "Justice of the Peace" in 1890. In all newspaper accounts, he is referred to as "Philip" and not as "Louis."

The Barrette brothers married sisters (respectively Philipina Meder and Mary Emma Meder.)  Philip and Mary Emma had three sons; Floyd, Louis and Lester.

Elsewhere on the internet, I was able to locate known photographs of the Barrette brothers and their spouses, of Shingle Springs, California. I have zoomed in here to isolate only the men's faces. You will note an extremely close resemblance to the photo I found.

It is not known in what year these two photos were taken, but the one of Philip shows him with his wife Mary Emma at his side. He was married in 1891, according to California Marriage Records, so the photo is at least two years older than the photo I found, above.

I am struck by the similarity of hairline in the photo of Ernest, comparing it with the found photo, and I am open to the possibility that the found photo may actually be mis-labeled with the wrong brother's name, and could actually be Ernest. However, it also appears that Ernest has a more slender face than either Philip or the fellow in the found photo. 


  1. Fascinating discovery. Thoroughly enjoy reading these postings. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the note Patricia. I enjoy posting these pictures, and get a big thrill out of connecting them with a living family member.