Margaret “Rita” Robinson Gaither?

This cabinet card photograph is another  image from an album owned by Baltimorean Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers that was recently broken up and  sold piecemeal.

The photo was identified as Rita Gaither.

Rita was a common diminuitve for Margaret and Marguerite. Based on my research into the Gaither and Summers families (available to registered users on ancestry.com) I believe this is Elizabeth’s mother, Margaret E. Robinson Gaither, born about 1830 in Anne Arundel County to William Robinson and Mary Ann Eleanor Turton Robinson.

It may be a case of two sisters marrying two brothers. Margaret married Anne Arundel County carpenter Vachel H. Gaither, and Margaret’s sister Anna Maria Robinson married Vachel’s brother, farmer Evan Gaither. While Evan and Ann remained in Anne Arundel County, Vachel migrated to Baltimore, probably to take advantage of the post-bellum building boom there.

The Gaither name goes back to the early days of Anne Arundel County. Evan and Vachel were sons of John Marriott Gaither (1790-1850) and Henreitta Lusby Gaither (1800-1873). Evan and Vachel’s grandfather, Vachel Gaither (1750-1804) served as a captain in the Severn Battalion of the Maryland Militia during the American Revolution.

David J. Wilkes kept a photography studio at 125 W.  Baltimore Street in Baltimore from about 1873 to 1885 (Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900).

Since Margaret Gaither does not appear in the family after the 1870 census, my guess is that she died between 1870 and 1880, a chronology  congruent with the dates of Wilkes’ studio location.

All photographs from the Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers album were acquired on ebay from jbatro (johnscollectibles@att.net).

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