Dentists I Have Not Known: “I am yours very truly” James Howell Harris, MD, DDS

This cabinet card portrait of Dr. James Howell Harris, MD, DDS, is dated 2 March 1888, the date of the 1888 commencement ceremony for the Dental Department of the University of Maryland, where Dr. Harris was a founding faculty member.

Harris’ life and career are fairly well-documented in the history University of Maryland, 1807-1907.

Harris was born on 31 October 1834 in Albemarle County, Virginia, to blacksmith Alanson Harris (1811-1866) and Sophia Ann Harris (1815-1893).  In 1861, James Harris earned the newly-emerging credential of Doctor of Dental Surgery from the prestigious Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. He obtained a medical degree from the Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons.

After the Civil War, he taught at his dental alma mater, then in 1882  left to help organize the newly-formed Dental Department at the University of Maryland.

There he held a professorship of Operative and Clinical Dentistry until his death in Baltimore on 12 December 1910. He was a colleague of Dr. John Uhler, about whom I wrote in a recent post.

Fellow Virginian Dr. Charles Lowndes Steel, Sr. (1860-1904; DDS Baltimore College of Dental Surgery 1881), brother of  Dr. Frank Ryland Steel DDS (University of Maryland Dental Dept. Class of 1888) boarded in the Harris home  on North Eutaw, and married Dr. Harris’ daughter Ella Harris (1868-1924).

His brother, Franklin Lewis Harris (1848-1911; DDS 1870, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery) and two of his sons, Charles C. Harris and James Edwin Harris (DDS, 1884, University of Maryland Dental Dept.), followed him into the dental profession.

Several obituaries mention that Dr. Harris served in the Confederate Medical Corps (Baltimore American 13 Dec 1910; Baltimore Sun 13 Dec 1910). I found a passing reference to his service in Company I of the 4th Virginia Cavalry (Marylanders in the Confederacy, Daniel Hartzler, 1986).

Harris is portrayed as a beloved  and devoted teacher who avoided public life.

Dr. Harris was, according to his biographer, “of a genial disposition and strong domestic habits” and an “active, enthusiastic and beloved teacher of successive classes of dental graduates.” 

One of his eulogists described him thus: “His students at the university were so deeply attached to him and he to them that they spent many of their evenings at his home” (Baltimore American 13 Dec 1910).

During his funeral, said the Sun, the senior class of the Dental Department gathered in front of his residence and marched “in a body” to Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Read and Cathedral streets “to pay their last respects” (Baltimore Sun 14 Dec 1910).

He is buried in Woodbine Cemetery, Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia, along with his second wife, Elizabeth Ann (Hardesty)  Harris (1841-1918).

According to Ross Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, the studio of James S. Cummins‘ (1841-1895) was located at 5 N. Charles Street ca. 1886-1887, which fits nicely with my speculation that Dr. Harris gave this portrait as a token of affection to an unknown dental graduate in March 1888.

Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. Frank Ryland Steel

Baltimore photographer William Ashman (1863-1902) took this cabinet card portrait identified in period ink on the reverse as Frank Ryland Steel (b. abt. 1867, Virginia), DDS. Steel may have sat for this photograph upon the occasion of his graduation from the Dental Department of the University of Maryland in March 1888.

After completing his studies, Frank followed his father,  George B. Steel (1835-1916), and his half-brother Charles Lowndes Steel (1860-1904) into the family dental practice in Richmond, Virginia. Charles had also studied in Baltimore–earning his DDS from the  Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1881.

Frank got his middle name from his mother, Martha “Mattie” Ryland Fleet (1839-1871). His father married three times in all, so the Steel household was a large one. All told, there were 12 siblings and half-siblings.

Frank Ryland Steel married a much younger woman, Dora Robertson,  in 1924; it appears they had no children, and by 1930 he was a widower, living alone in the small tidewater town of Urbanna, Virginia.

I have not been able to trace the Steels back beyond the census of 1860. Frank’s father George B. Steel was active in Richmond politics, and a 1911 campaign advertisement says only that George B. Steel’s father was “George Steel, a former merchant of this city” (Richmond Times Dispatch, 16 September 1911).

However ordinary his life appears, someone cared enough about Frank Ryland Steel to keep his portrait in their collection of dentists all these years.

Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. George Douglass Rouse

As far as I can tell, Dr. George Douglass Rouse, DDS (1870-1948), lived a quiet life in Charleston, South Carolina.

Although I have not been able to locate him among the graduates of Baltimore’s two pioneering schools of dentistry, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and the University of Maryland’s Department of Dental Surgery, his obituary says that he studied dentistry at the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee.

I did find a record, in a history of the dental profession in South Carolina, of George D. Rouse being admitted to the practice of dentistry by the South Carolina Dental Association in 1894 (History of the South Carolina Dental Association, 1869-1950, p. 146).

Dr. Rouse may not have been a ground-breaking dentist, but he did have something special: pedigree.

George D. Rouse could trace his lineage back to an ancestor who had fought in the American Revolution. His great-great-grandfather, William Rouse, joined the Continental army,  fought in the “Siege of Savannah” in 1779, and was taken prisoner by the British.

Thanks to the careful records kept by the Sons of the American Revolution, George knew that William Rouse was born in Leeds, England, in 1756 and died in Charleston in 1829.

According to the Preservation Society of Charleston, Rouse was a tanner, and served as the city’s “intendent” or mayor from 1808 to 1810. There is a plaque in the First Baptist Church of Charleston commemorating William Rouse’s service.

Dr. Rouse’s parents were Cordelia Lucretia Reeves (1849-1920) and George Washington Rouse (1838-1914), who was, according to his obituary in the Charleston News and Courier,  a Confederate officer and reputed  Confederate spy and, in his later years, a Charleston magistrate.  For a period, at least, he operated a restaurant in Charleston. He, his wife and his children, including Dr. Rouse, are buried in Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery<.

According to Dr. Rouse’s obituary in the same paper, he held the rank of major in the Army Dental Reserve Corps and was for 40 years a member of the South Carolina National Guard (Charleston, South Carolina News and Courier, 4 November 1948, p. 2).

Blessing and Co. would have been a logical choice of photographic studio for a southern man. Though born in Frederick County, Maryland, John Philip Blessing (1835-1911) spent 25 years living in Texas with his brothers, where he operated photography studios in Galveston and Houston. and served with the Galveston Confederate volunteers and the Confederate navy.

According to his biography in The History of Washington County, Maryland, Blessing returned to Maryland in 1879 with his Texan wife, Mary A. A. Sterns, and opened a photographic studio in Baltimore at 214 N. Charles Street. His daughter, Rosa, married his partner, Henry Fenge. Blessing is buried in St. Lukes Episcopal Church cemetery in Brownsville, Washington County, Maryland.

Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. Charles William Hartwig

This cabinet card photograph is one of a deliciously obscure collection of dentists’ and physicians’ portraits from Baltimore that recently began appearing on an internet auction site.

Son of German immigrant grocers Ann and George D. Hartwig, Charles William Hartwig (b. 18 December 1866, Md.) was a Baltimore physician who also studied the newly-emerging profession of dentistry. He received his DDS degree from the University of Maryland’s Department of Dental Surgery in March 1886–the date marked on the back of the photograph.

He obtained his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1889. Among his multiple appointments:  Resident Physician at Bayview Hospital, Resident Physician and Assistant Surgeon at the Presbyterian Ear, Nose and Throat Charity Hospital, and demonstrator of anatomy, anesthestics,  and dentistry at the University of Maryland. His private practice  was at 111 W. Saratoga Street. (The Medical Annals of Maryland, E. F. Cordell, 1903, p. 432)

Hartwig seems to have been a progressive physician. In 1895, a Baltimore American article speaks of his successful treatment of a diphtheria case with an anti-toxin, a revolutionary treatment developed by Emil von Behring.

In 1896, Dr. Hartwig published an article on the surgical treatment of ear infections entitled “Aural Catarrh.” Drawing on experience from his practice at the Presbyterian Hospital, he urged that hearing loss could  be avoided if aural swelling and pain were  relieved immediately by opening, draining and cleaning the ear drum–apparently not a widespread practice at the time (Maryland Medical Journal, v. 33, pp. 367-368).

Passport applications and a mention in a medical journal indicate that Hartwig traveled to Europe at least once, in 1914, at the same time as another, much more prominent physician, the learned and charismatic medical professor Dr. Ridgley Brown Warfield (1864-1920), scion of an old Howard County family who had graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1884 and taught there.

Young Hartwig sat for his portrait at the studio of John Philip  Blessing (1835-1911) and Franklin Kuhn, located ca. 1882-1886, Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers tells us, at 46 N. Charles Street. Hartwig chose a vignetted bust style for his portrait, as had Dr. John C. Uhler. Hartwig likely encountered Uhler as a student at the University of Maryland, where Dr. Uhler was an instructor in the Dental Department.

Uhler, Hartwig, and the others must have met one another during their schooling in Baltimore and in the practice of their professions. Perhaps they exchanged portraits upon graduation. But who collected these Baltimore portraits of dentists and doctors of the 1880s and kept them so carefully all these years? Not that I’m complaining.

Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. John C. Uhler

This cabinet card portrait of Dr. John Charles Uhler (1846-1917) is one of a number of photographic portraits of dentists from, based on the period ink identifications, what appears to be the same collection.

Born in Baltimore to merchant Erasmus B. Uhler (1818-1883) and Elizabeth (Deady) Uhler (1816-1893), John Uhler’s claim to renown is that he was among the first faculty appointed to the  School of Dentistry established at the University of Maryland in 1882.  Starting as Demonstrator of Prosthetic Dentistry, he became Associate Professor of Prosthetic Dentistry in 1900.

The new school was built upon the institutional foundation of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.

Said to be the oldest school of dentistry in the world, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery  was established 1839-1840 with a charter from the State of Maryland. With this charter, the organizers created a new degree, the Doctor of Dental Surgery. Uhler obtained his degree there in 1867, and established a private practice.

Howard’s 1873 The Monumental City includes an advertisement for the college, then located at Eutaw and Lexington streets, that depicts a Second Empire-style three-story building with mansard roof.

Uhler was elected one of the first members of the Executive Committee of the Maryland State Dental Association in 1883.

In 1910, he lived with his sister-in-law and niece, Clara and May Uhler, at 938 Madison Avenue. Uhler retired from his practice and from teaching about 1913, and is buried near his parents in Greenmount Cemetery.

It is unclear whether the studio, Russell & Co., is related to that of William C. and Dora Russell. Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers dates the addresses to 1888; the presence of “new” means the photograph had to have been taken after the re-numbering of Baltimore streets that occurred in 1887.

The operator chose the popular vignette style for this head-and-shoulders portrait, burning out the background to create a soft, floating effect. Light falls from the upper left to create shadows that emphasize the Uhler’s appealing eyes, which gaze away from the camera as if he were thoughtfully contemplating the past and future of dentistry’s development.

Portrait of Cadet Lee DuVall, 1892

The period-ink notes on the back of this cabinet card photograph identify the subject as  “Lee Duvall, April 22, 1892, Laurel.”

My research turned up two individuals named Robert Lee DuVall in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, both descendants of the same Anne Arundel County family founded by immigrant Huguenot Mareen Duvall.

Mareen DuVal  or DuVall (b. 1625) arrived in Anne Arundel County in 1650. When he died in 1694, he left a vast estate of land and slaves, and 12 children by three wives. The Society of Mareen Duvall Descendants erected several historical markers in the area, including one near Davidsonville at  the site of Middle Plantation, where he died.

From Mareen Duvall’s 12 children sprung a huge clan whose members intermarried with many important Maryland and Virginia families.

Robert E. Lee DuVall was born about 1869 to wealthy plantation-owner and Confederate officer Ferdinand DuVall and Annie Linthicum Duvall. They lost their estate, centered in what is now Crofton, Anne Arundel County, after Ferdinand DuVall’s death in 1878; Robert, his mother and sister emigrated to Oregon, but he returned briefly, in 1900, to reclaim the family cemetery. Robert, a railroad employee,  died in Shoshone County, Idaho in 1943.

But the youth in this photograph seems a bit too young to have been born in 1869. A second Robert Lee Duvall, born 1875, seems a much better match.This Lee Duvall was the son of merchant Evans Duvall (1839-1911). In 1900 the family lived in Laurel, Prince George’s County.

Lee’s uniform is almost identical to that worn by the cadets of Maryland Agricultural College, precursor to the University of Maryland, College Park, just 13 miles away from Laurel. The college’s 1911 historical pamphlet lists all the graduates of the school from its opening to date.  Lee is not listed, but he may either have taken the preparatory course, or attended without graduating.

He is buried in  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, Crownsville, Maryland, along with is wife, Mary (Moss) Duvall, and children Mary Duvall Waterman, Hilda Adaline Duvall, and Charles Evans Duvall.

The Russell studio was operated by William C. Russell (1843-1900), and by his wife, Mrs. Dora C. (Jose) Russell ca. 1886-1904.  The photographer chose a simple, soft, neutral background, lit from above left, to allow the ornamental pattern of the trim on the youth’s uniform, bright with brass buttons, to shine.

For more about Ferdinand Duvall’s career in the Confederate Army, visit his page on this site devoted to the history of the Second Maryland Infantry, CSA. For more about Mareen Duvall and his descendants, see The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties by J. D. Warfield, published 1905; and yes, Mareen “the Emigrant,” as he is called, has a page on Wikipedia.

Malcolm Westcott Hill, St. Paul’s School, 1893

According to the notes penned on the back of the mount, this cabinet card portrait depicts Malcolm Westcott Hill, age 18, in 1893, while Hill was a student at St. Paul’s School in Garden City, Long Island, an Episcopal boarding prep school with a progressive science curriculum.

Young Hill went on to study at Johns Hopkins University and became an electrical engineer and electrical contractor. During the first World War, he attended Engineer Officer’s Training Camp at American University in Washington, DC, serving the Corps of Engineers until 1919, when he mustered out with the rank of captain.

Hill’s family had roots going back to two of the republic’s earliest conflicts: The American Revolution on his mother’s side, and on his father’s side, the War of 1812.

Malcolm’s grandfather, Thomas Gardner Hill(1793-1849), was a sergeant in Captain McKane’s Company, Maryland 27th Regiment during the War of 1812, and said to have been at the Battle of North Point. Malcolm’s father, Thomas Hill (1834-1909) was a prominent businessman of Baltimore.

Malcolm’s mother, Harriett Louise Westcott, could trace her roots back to the Revolutionary War, when her great-grandfather, Capt. Samuel Westcott (1757-1854), commanded a company in Col. Silas Newcomb’s First Battalion, of Cumberland County, New Jersey.

Malcolm’s grandfather George Burgin Westcott (1801-1887), relocated from New Jersey to Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland, where he amassed land and wealth and served as president of Kent National Bank,  president of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Kent County, member of the Board of Governors of Washington College, and was prominent in the Episcopal Church.

The house they occupied in Chestertown from the 1830s to 1910, now known as the Geddes Piper House, is the headquarters of the Kent County Historical Society. They owned 320 acres of  “Hinchingham,” west of Chestertown, on the bay, but there is no evidence that they lived in the historic house of the same name.

The studio where this portrait was taken was the busy and successful business owned by Harry Lenfield Perkins (b. abt. 1854, Maryland), and founded by his father, Palmer Lenfield Perkins (b. 1824, Burlington Co., New Jersey).  According to Ross Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, 311 E. Baltimore Street (old 103 W. Baltimore) was the studio’s address 1887-1897.

Like the Hills and the Westcotts, P. L. Perkins was a zealous and involved member of the Episcopal church. The Perkins belonged to Ascension Protestant Episcopal Church, Lafayette and Arlington streets (from 1932 called St. James Episcopal Church Lafayette Square); the Hills to St. Peter’s, from 1868 located at Druid Hill Avenue and Lanvale Street in Bolton Hill (today owned by Bethel A. M. E. Church).

Perkins chose a vignette style for this bust portrait, in which the background is burned out to create a soft, almost floating effect. Malcolm’s head is tilted to the left, his eyes raised up, as if gazing into his promising future–a style now  familiar to generations of school portrait victims.

St. Paul’s School for Boys, an impressive Gothic Revival complex built ca. 1880, was dedicated to the memory of the founder of Garden City, Long Island, Alexander Turner Stewart. It was run by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. Empty for decades, preservationists have been engaged for years in a struggle to save the buildings from demolition and find new uses for it.

Old Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Feagaville, Maryland

This frame church, located on the Jefferson Pike just outside Frederick, Maryland, lost its tower and other features when it was converted into apartments about 1950.  Does it still exist?

According to the Feagaville Survey District document that was filed in 1980, the church was built in 1880. The building to the right was a stone schoolhouse built ca. 1840-1850; perhaps it had been whitewashed. The hand-drawn map accompanying the survey document locates the church just north of Feagaville Lane.

A newer, brick church, surrounded by its cemetery, thrives just a few miles away at Mount Zion and Mount Phillip roads.

The history of this church is confusing. The History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume One, published in 1910, speaks of the church being built 1819, but says it was a stone structure. There is no mention of a frame structure. But, as mentioned above, the 1980 survey says this frame church was built in 1880. The History mentions a new stone church being built on the site in 1885 (p. 503)–but nothing about a brick church.

A contemporary photograph taken by Jody Brumage shows a stone above the new church door on Mount Phillip Road with the date 1885.

“Very truly yours Wm. E. Loane”

This simple, bust vignette cabinet card portrait of a handsome, clear-eyed young man  was taken at the studio of Norval H. Busey (1845-1928), Charles and Fayette streets.

After I acquired this photograph, labeled “Very truly yours, Wm. E. Loane, 9.29.82,” I attempted to trace the sitter.

I found a William E. Loane, born about 1858 , son of builder Harry E. Loane, living in Baltimore in 1880.  I traced the family back to 1860 Baltimore.

So far, not unusual. Things got interesting when I spotted a W. E. Loane in the 1885 census of Colorado, born about 1858 in Baltimore, listed as a miner in Clear Creek County.

William E. Loane turned up again as one of the nine victims of the Anna Lee mine cave-in that occurred near Cripple Creek, Colorado, on 4 January 1896.

According to the account I found transcribed on the web, Loane had recently been hired by the Portland Company to be mine foreman. He was said to have been a well-known resident of Aspen, about 150 miles northwest of Cripple Creek, and to have been married, but the name of his wife is not mentioned. Clear Creek County’s Marriage License Index, however, contains a record of a license issued in 1886 for the marriage of William E. Loane, aged 28 to Ida F. Blinn, aged 30.

Loane’s body was recovered and he was buried at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver on 14 January 1896.  A photograph of his grave is posted on Findagrave.com.

The Denver Public Library has many photos of Colorado mining, including this  ca. 1895 photograph of Battle Mountain, outside Cripple Creek, where the Anna Lee mine was located, and an excellent map showing locations of all the mines in the Cripple Creek district.

William Easley Woodall, “A Dear Friend of Baltimore Md.”

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I got lucky again with this identified portrait taken in the studio of John Holyland between 1865 and 1880.

On the back is written in old but still quite legible ink, “Mr. Wm. E. Woodall a dear friend of Baltimore Md. shipbuilder.”

Research in census records quickly turned up a William E. Woodall, ship builder, born in England in 1837. Through research in a newspaper archive, I learned that William E. Woodall & Co. was founded by three partners in Baltimore in 1873: William Woodall, his brother James, and Charles A. Witler. The announcement of the new partnership related that the yard was located on “the north side of the basin, near Reese’s Furnace.”

According to Robert C. Keith’s Baltimore Harbor: A Pictorial History (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), William Easley Woodall arrived in Baltimore from Liverpool in 1853, at the age of 15 (pp. 102-103). Woodall’s yard built and refitted all sorts of vessels until its closure in 1929. It is now remembered chiefly for its drydock:

“The yard he created had the harbor’s first drydock, a floating affair built at the Reeder wharf on Federal Hill in 1874. The 270-by-60-ft. drydock was a harbor landmark for 62 years. It could be sunk in 30 minutes to pick up a ship in need of paint or repair, and handled 50 or more vessels a year” (Baltimore Harbor, p. 103).

Keith’s volume includes a map of the harbor showing the location of the Woodall yard and many other docks.

Woodall died in 1884; his brother James in 1915. James is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Baltimore; it seems likely William is there as well. A third brother, Henry Easby or Easley Woodall (1827-1909), settled in Baltimore as a rigger after a career at sea and in the California gold fields. They may have had an elder sister, Hester Woodall Richardson, wife of ship’s joiner James Richardson.

John Holyland, chose a simple, vignetted bust for Woodall’s portrait. Subtle side-lighting delineates the features of a successful, confident, and vigorous man in the prime of life.