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Friday, August 29, 2014

BISSELL, Clarissa Finch

Clarissa Finch Bissell
This photograph was acquired at the Washington County Antique Fair in Greenwich New York. The photo was originally taken in Morris New York, circa 1875.

Clarissa, sometimes seen as Clarice or Clariss, was born in 1854 in New York State to parents Amos FINCH (1827-1910) and Samantha DARE (1832-1880.) 

As a child she lived at the farm of her grandparents Jonas Finch (1782-1864) and Henrietta (unknown surname, 1785-1872). The farm was worked jointly by Jonas and Amos.

Clarissa had a younger brother named Fowler Finch (1855-1936.)

At some point, Clarissa married Emmett T. BISSELL (1841-1918). 

Clarissa lived to age 77 and passed away in 1931. She and most of her family are buried at the Highland Cemetery in Sidney, New York, the town in which her family lived. Sidney is not far from Morris, where the photographer's studio was located.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

UNKNOWN, unknown

Acquiring old photos at antique stores is a little like Triage.

I remember learning the meaning of the word "Triage" when I was in High School. I was a big fan of the television series "M*A*S*H" which featured a mobile surgical hospital during the Korean War. When new patients arrived from the battle front, the doctors and nurses immediately engaged in "Triage."

The word comes from French, and means "separating into three parts." In the hospital setting, this means determining, as quickly as possible, to which category the patient belongs.

1. those who do not need immediate help.
2. those who can be helped.
3. those who cannot be helped.

Those who can be helped are taken for immediate attention. Those who cannot be helped must be left behind, or left for the lowest priority of attention.

Photographs in antique shops have to be treated like patients in a Triage setting. Those which have the best chance to be "helped" are the ones which bear the most identifying information; names, dates, location. Many bear a studio stamp on the matte which provides a location. Some photos may offer extra clues besides the names and dates, such as "this is Aunt Mildred's eldest son." These are the photos I add to my collection, and work to reunite with their existing family.

Of course, the majority of photos in antique shops have no identifying information at all. Some lovely face that was adored by someone. A portrait that was the object of someone's fond recollection. But now there is no way to know who the person was. Without the identification included, that person is now anonymous, and cannot be helped. Regrettably, those photos have to be left behind.

This small oval portrait was found between the pages of a book, and was shared with me by a follower of this blog. Had I seen this image in a shop, I would have put it back into the box and moved on. According to the person who found it, there are no identifying marks. The photo was trimmed into a roughly oval shape, perhaps to fit into a locket.

He seems to be a dapper fellow, and was clearly loved by someone. Perhaps someone will see it here and recognize the man. It would be a miracle, but I think that is his only hope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CRAIN, Leonard and Margaret

Leonard Austin CRAIN, age 1 year

These two photos of Leonard Crain and his sister Margaret were located at a large outdoor antiques fair in Washington County New York.

Leonard was born in Afton ,New York about 1907. Margaret was born, presumably in or near the same location, in 1910.

Their parents were Joseph Henry CRAIN (1870-1952) and Nellie Martin SKILLMAN (1873-1964.)

Early in their marriage, Joseph and Nellie lived in Sharon Springs, Schoharie County, NY. He worked as a High School principal, and she as a teacher.

Margaret Lee CRAIN, age 8 months

The 1910 Census at Afton, NY, shows that Joseph is the editor of a newspaper.

The 1930 Census for Aurora, Erie county, NY finds the family living on Oakwood Avenue.  Henry works as a field examiner for the US Veterans Adminstration.  Leonard, age 23, gives his occupation as Baptist Clergyman.

In 1932, Leonard was a passenger aboard the Japanese ship Chichibu Maru, sailing from Yokohama to Honolulu Hawaii. He states his birthdate is November 12, 1906 and that his current address is Colgate Divinity School in Rochester NY.

The 1940 Census shows that Leonard has moved out, but Margaret still resides at her parents house and has no occupation.

In August of 1945, Leonard arrived in New York from another voyage, aboard the Gripsholm which departed from Bombay India.

Monday, August 25, 2014

PINCKNEY, Jessie and Gertrude

Jessie Pinckney, age 6
Jessie and Gertrude have gone home!
These two photos of sisters Jessie and Gertrude PINCKNEY were located at an antique shop in Ballston Spa, New York.  The photos were taken in 1880 in the town of Rutland, Vermont.

The back of the first photo contains a hand-written note which says "Jessie Pinckney, age 6 years, in Dec 1880."

The back of the second photo says "Gertrude Pinckney, age 4 in Oct 1880."

I have discovered that these were two of the four children of Charles H. Pinckney and Grace A. Goodnough, who lived in Pittsford, Vermont around that time.  The other siblings were John and Grace Jr. Charles was a store clerk. They lived at the Pittsford farm of Grace's parents.

Gertrude Pinckney, age 4
Sadly, it was discovered that Gertrude died at age 18 of appendicitis.

Jessie married Walter Scott Hale, a clerk, but that marriage ended within a few years.

Jessie is found on the 1905 Manhattan Census, as the head of the household, which also includes her widowed mother, and a younger sister Grace Jr.

Jessie married again in 1906 to Herman Frank Hannun, a German-born dental surgeon from New York City.

An interesting side-note about Jessie's first husband Walter Scott Hale - I find lots of references in Census and City Directories for Walter Scott Hale.

He applied for a passport at age 16, and appears to be working for a shipping company in New York at that time. Census records report that he was born in Massachusetts; as was his father, and his mother was born in Rhode Island. He married Jessie Pinckney at age 21, but by age 25 he was a private in the military and serving in The Philippines during the Spanish-American War. When he returned home, he married Harriet C. (last name unknown) around 1904. She was born in California. Meanwhile, Jessie has gone to Manhattan, meets and marries Herman Hannun, so we can only assume Jessie and Walter have divorced. Walter returns to Rockford Mass and works as a real estate agent, insurance agent, and also is a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. By 1910, he has been married 6 years and has 3 children, and the family is living in Brookline Massachsetts. In 1918 he registered for the WWI draft. The 1920 census says he is an insurance salesman.

In 1922 Harriet files for Walter's military pension and gives her own status as "widow." The same form indicates that a previous filing had been made in 1920 when Walter became an "invalid."  A Boston area newspaper in June 1922 carried a headline stating that the House of Representatives opposed the Governor's veto of widow Harriet Hale's request to be paid the balance of her late husband's salary which he would have been entitled to, had he lived. The Journal of the Massachusetts House of Representatives glowingly eulogizes Walter in one entry in late May 1922, and carries a motion to adjourn early so fellow House members may attend the funeral.
Grace A. Goodnough
from tree

UPDATE - I am happy to report that I have found a relative to send these lovely girls' photos to. The recipient has a tree on which includes a photo of the girls' mother Grace A. Goodnough. I see now where the girls get their good looks. It is heart-warming to think that these photos will now be displayed lovingly on some shelf next to their mother. That is where they belong - not in a dusty old box in an antique shop.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


ETTA BENTLEY, Oriskany Falls, NY

This photo of Etta Bentley was taken circa 1888 in Utica, New York. The photo was acquired at an large antique show in Madison-Baukville, New York, in Madison County. The subject appears to be around 18-20 years old, which would make an approximately year of birth of about 1868-1870.

In consulting Census records of that area, there are two possible candidates to be the Etta Bentley in this photograph.

The first is ETTA BENTLEY, born 1869 in New York, and living with her family in 1870 in Utica (where this photo was taken.) Her father is English-born Henry A. Bentley (born circa 1843), a bookkeeper, and her mother is Mary (born circa 1847, last name unknown.)

The second is ETTA BENTLEY, born Oct 1870, and living with her family in 1880 in Cazenovia, in Madison County NY, not far from where the photo was found.  Her father was Eben Daniel Bentley, a farmer born in New York (1822-1900). Her mother was Maria B. Cresson (1843-1903.) Other siblings on the Census were Eddie (Ebben) Bentley (born abt 1872) and Minda (1873-1955).

On the 1900 Census for Cazenovia, Etta and Minda are still living at home with their parents. Their brother has apparently begun his own home elsewhere.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


John J. Robinson Sr., Fort Edward, NY
UPDATE - John J. Robinson has been claimed by his family and has gone home.

This photo of John J. Robinson was located in a shop in Glens Falls, New York. The photographer's mark on the front of the matte places the studio location at Fort Edward, NY, which is the community immediately south of Glens Falls. The hand-written inscription on the back says "John J. Robinson Sr."

The fellow appears to be in the range of 65-70 and the photo appears to have been taken between 1895-1900. That would put his birth year at or around 1830.

He appears on the 1855 State Census, living at Hebron, New York. He is the son of James and Ann Robinson, farmers, both age 56, and also in the household are John's siblings Martha (20), Jas. (15) and Orville (12)

In 1863, John registered for the Civil War Draft. At that time, he was a 33-yr-old farmer, married and living at Argyle, New York (which is about 4 miles from Fort Edward.

The 1870 Census for Fort Edward NY includes a JOHN J ROBINSON, age 40, whose occupation is simply described as "market." Does that mean he works at a grocery, or in the stock market? In the household with him are 30 year-old wife Margaret, who keeps house, Millard (10), Clara J. (8), Mary (4) and Ellen (8 mo.)

In 1875 Census, his occupation is "speculator." The youngest daughter is now going by the name Annette.

John J. Robinson was born 3 Sep 1831 in Oneida County, NY and died 5 Jan 1899 at Fort Edward, Washington County, NY.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Winnie Maude PUTNEY

Winnifred Maude Putney
This photo of Winnie Maude Putney was discovered at a shop in Glens Falls, NY. The photographic studio mark places the location at Concord, New Hampshire. The inscription on the reverse says "Winnie Maude Putney, 1894, 9 months."

The New Hampshire Birth and Christening Index lists a Winnie Maude Putney, born October 2, 1893 to parents Luther C. Putney and Annie P. Wadleigh, residing in Webster, NH which is just to the northwest of Concord.

Her mother died when Winnie was quite young. On the 1900 Census in Webster, Luther is described as "widowed" and he lives alone with 6-yr-old Winnie. Luther is a farmer.

By the time of the 1910 Census, the widowed mother-in-law Mary C. Wadleigh has been added to the household.

In October 1922, she married Samuel Vincent Phillips, son of Samuel K. Phillips and Henrietta Reid.

Winnie was the wife of Samuel Phillips of East Fishkill. She was also a civic leader. She graduated from Northfield Seminary and was involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Matinee Musical Club of Beacon, the Wednesday Club, and the American Red Cross chapter of Fishkill. She and Samuel were the parents of a son, George R. Phillips, and a daughter, Miss Mary V. Phillips.

Friday, August 8, 2014


UPDATE - "Sandy" Sandquist has been claimed by a family members and is going home!  This photo of "O.A. Sandquist" was located at an antique shop in Glens Falls, NY. The studio mark on the matte indicates the photo was taken in New Haven Connecticut. There is hand-written inscription on the front of the matte which says "Sincerely, O.A. Sandquist"

This is obviously a graduation photo, and the man was most likely a student at Yale, based on the location of the photographic studio. My guess is that the photo was taken between 1910 and 1915.

A bit of research revealed that this is Oscar Adolph Sandquist, a remarkable individual, who was a son of immigrants, and who became a Yale graduate, a civil engineer and Naval Officer.

I find him first as Oscar SANDQUIST living in New Haven CT located on the 1900 Census for that town. The members of the household were:

  • John (b. 1856 in Sweden, immigrated in 1883.) a cabinetmaker.
  • Helen (Irene Helena) (b. 1852 in Sweden, immigrated in 1883)
  • Oscar (b. 1887 in Connecticut) age 13, at school.
  • Betsey (b. 1889 in CT) age 11, at school.
  • Helen (b. 1891 in CT) age 9, at school.
  • Jennie (b. 1893 in CT) age 7, at school.

In 1908, his name appears in the Yale Pot Pourri Yearbook as "Oscar Adolph Sandquist" and is listed as a student at Sheffield Scientific School. Wikipedia: "Sheffield Scientific School was founded in 1847 as a school of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut for instruction in science and engineering."

He apparently graduated in 1910.

He is listed in the 1918 Naval Register with a description of "Asst. Civil Engineer, Ensign."

By the time of the 1940 Census, Oscar is living in Coral Gables, Florida, with wife Gertrude, 25-yr-old daughter Barbara, son-in-law Richard McGlathery (a Naval Officer), and grand-daughter Sandra A.

From the book "Who's Who in Civil Engineering" comes this wonderful biography.

Oscar died in 1970 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His stone reads:
Oscar Adolph Sandquist
Aug 22, 1887 - Mar 6, 1970
Capt USN


Nel Cregan
This photo was found at an antique store in upstate New York. I thought at first the surname was Crogan, but upon closer examination, it clearly says Cregan. The first name is spelled with only one L, which may be significant.

The matte bears the stamp "Spear & Boardman, corners of Rivers & Fulton Streets, Troy, NY."

This woman appears to be around 25 years of age, and my guess is that the photo was taken around 1892. If those assumptions are correct, then she was born near 1867.

It is also unknown if Cregan is a maiden name or a married name.

Census records show a couple of possibilities.

1880 Census - Town of Saratoga - there is a family named Cragan (which may or may not be a misspelling) which consists of mother Alice (born abt 1831), daughters Carrie (1861), Mary (1864) and Nellie (1866). There is also a son James (1859) who works as a common laborer. All three daughters work at the cotton mill. The mother was born in Ireland while all of the children were born in New York. There is no mention of a father in the household. (The town of Saratoga is about 29 miles north of Troy.)

In 1896, there is a Nellie L. Cregan mentioned in the Saratoga Springs City Directory. She lives at 489 Woodlawn Avenue and is employed as a domestic. Woodlawn is the "carriage house" lane directly behind North Broadway where the large homes of the wealthiest members of the community are located.

1900 Census - Albany, NY - The is a Nellie Creagan (born Apr 1874) living with her husband Dennis Creagan (Feb 1874) on North Ferry Street. Both are born in NY of Irish parents. Dennis works as a conductor. Nellie has no occupation listed. Albany is very close to the town of Troy, where this photo was taken.

I will continue to work on this, but I fully expect she is one of the three above possibilities.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Bertha Margaret Hatlee
UPDATE - This photo has been claimed by a daughter of Bertha, and is being sent home to Bertha herself!  That's a first for me. This snapshot of Bertha Hatlee was located at an antique shop in Glens Falls, New York.  Since it is an unmatted snapshot, there is no photographer's stamp, so no clues about location, but other photos in the same box were from local area towns.

However, we can make an educated guess on the time period, the age, and therefore the year of birth of the subject. The clothing and hairstyle would point to around 1952-1954. Bertha appears to be between 18 and 20 or so.  Best guess on year of birth is 1930-1935.

This may have been a yearbook photo, or taken by a newspaper to announce an engagement. She appears to be wearing an engagement ring or wedding band on her left hand.

The 1940 Census finds a Bertha Hatlee, age 6, born around 1932, living with her family in Clifton Park, New York (a mere 40 miles from where the photo was found.) The household consists of parents William E. (63), Bertha M. (50), children Elmer E. (29), Bertha (8) and a mother in law Mary B. Sweet (72).

Ballston Spa Journal, July 24, 1952
Further research at reveals that Bertha's father was William Edmund Hatlee (1875-1942) and mother was Bertha M. Sweet (1890-1968). She was later married to Richard Albert Smith, Jr., and according to this insert in the Ballston Spa Journal (at right), the wedding was set for August 3, 1952.

The 1960 edition of the Ballston Spa City Directory shows that Richard and Bertha were living in that town. Richard was employed as a teller at the Adirondack Trust Bank.

BAILEY, Ann and Irving (Irven?)

Aunt Ann Bailey & Irving
UPDATE - this photo of Ann Bailey and her son has been claimed by a relative and is going home!  

This photo was located at an antique shop in upstate New York.  It appears to have been taken around 1895. The photographer's stamp places the location at Granville, New York.

On the back is written "Aunt Ann Bailey & Irving."

There was a Bailey family living about 85 miles away in Coeymans, NY in Albany County, according to the 1900 Federal Census.  That family consisted of parents Irenos (42) and Anna J. (43), as well as children Stanley J. (19), Jerome (18), Irving L. (17), Bolney (sp?) (14) and Bessie (11). The father was occupied as a railroad engineer. The eldest son was a salesman for a market.

The Census states that Irving was born April of 1883.

However, I have come to the conclusion that the name "Irving" is incorrect. The young man's name is actually Irven. The hand-written label on the back of the photo must have been penned by a distant enough relative to have not known the right spelling.

The 1940 Census shows Irven L. Bailey living in nearby Ravena, New York on Pulver Avenue. At that time he is 56 years old and employed as a machinist for the New York Railroad. He has a large family consisting of wife Bertha, six sons, and his 82-yr-old widowed mother Anna J. Bailey.

Irven died in 1967, and is interred at the Chestnut Lawn Cemetery in New Baltimore, Greene County, New York, which is a mere 6 miles away from Ravena.

His older brother Stanley died 3 years before Irven died. He worked his entire life as a machinist with General Electric. Irven, Volney and Bessie are mentioned as surviving siblings in their brother's obituary (at left).

Since all other facts appear to confirm each other, it seems most likely that the name "Irving" on the photograph, and on the 1900 Census, was written in error. The name is spelled "Irven" in every other appearance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Carrie Rhodes Carpenter
UPDATE - Carrie Rhodes Carpenter has gone home!

This photo was found at the Sutton Antique Gallery in Queensbury, NY. The photo was taken circa 1889 in Rutland, Vermont at the Emery Studio.

A hand-written note on the front of the matte says "Carrie Rhodes Carpenter." The name is repeated on the back, along with an addition (in a different hand) which says "Grandpa Carpenter's Mother."

There is a Carrie Rhodes (1868-1896) who was born in Granville NY (only about 30 miles from Rutland, VT), and married Clarence Carpenter in 1889.

It is suspected that she must have become ill within the next 2 years since the New York State Census of 1892 shows her living in Granville back in the home of her parents Horace and Emeline Rhodes, and her sister Hattie Rhodes. Also with her is a 2-yr-old son Leon Carpenter, who was born in Poultney, Vermont. But there is no sign of her husband. Perhaps he remained in Vermont at a job.

In 1896, at the age of 28, Carrie died of heart disease. The image below is a death record found online at It states that she perhaps lived in Brandon Vermont at the time, but died in Granville NY. Her marital status is still given as "married", and not widowed or divorced.

Her son Leon was just 6 years old at the time, and was apparently raised by his grandparents thereafter. He appears in their household on the 1900 and 1910 Census records.

After the passing of the grandparents, Leon remained in Granville his entire life.