Portrait of a Painter’s Daughter: Addie Bogle

The ebayer I bought this 1860s Stanton & Butler carte de visite from thought the surname was Boyle, but that “y” looked much more like a “g” to me, and so I set out to find an Adelaide Bogle who might have lived in Maryland and passed through Baltimore in the 1860s.

I promptly came across a good candidate: Adelaide Ann “Nannie” Bogle (1847-1917), daughter of South Carolina artist Robert Bogle (1817-1865) and Rosalie Adelaide Ann (Bailey) Bogle (1828-1896).

Census records show that the Bogles lived in a number of locations that could have sent them through Baltimore between 1850 and 1880, including Anne Arundel County, Georgetown, outside Washington, DC, and Edesville, in Kent County, Maryland.

More importantly, Robert Bogle is listed as an artist at 60 McCulloh Street on page 463 of the 1860 Woods’ Business Directory of Baltimore.

According to Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, Stanton & Butler operated at Fayette and Charles streets between 1864 and 1871.  This time frame seems to fit the age and dress of our subject, who would have been about 20 years old in 1867.

I don’t know enough to judge more than roughly about clothing, but her hair, especially, seems to indicate an 1860s date. She wears it, either crimped or naturally wavy, drawn back behind her ears and gathered low on her neck, possibly in a net.

Later women’s hair fashions moved to up-does with “love locks,” false hair pieces, and then frizzed bangs.

Addie’s hair style shows off black glass or jet earrings that match a small black cross worn as a pendant, perhaps as mourning jewelry worn following the passing of her father in 1865.

Addie’s father was twin to the better-known Carolinas artist James Bogle (1871-1873). The National Academy of Design has several of James Bogle’s portraits in its collection, and others are likely scattered throughout the eastern seaboard, in public and private collections.

In 1884, Addie married Dr. James LaRoche Beckett of Johns Island, Charleston County, South Carolina. They had one son in 1890, James Augustine Young Beckett. Later they moved to Eufaula, Alabama, where Dr. Beckett died in 1910.

Dr. Beckett’s ancestry leads back to the colonial roots of slave-holding Johsn Island and Edisto Island, and include surnames such as Seabrook, LaRoche, and Murray.

Before her marriage, Addie Bogle and her siblings appear to have spent a good deal of their time in the Edesville area of Kent County, Maryland.

Addie’s brother Robert Bogle (1845-1905) farmed there; the youngest of the Bogle children, Newton S. Bogle (1863-1918)  was postmaster and storekeeper on what is still known as Bogle’s Wharf on Eastern Neck Island, once a busy steamer stop on the Chester River. The area is now part of the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.

According to the Archives of Ontario, Canada, Eldridge Stanton was born 7 March 1834 in Cobourg, Ontario and educated at Victoria University. In 1871, he sold his part of Stanton & Butler in Baltimore and returned to Toronto, where he practiced professional photography in several locations.

Stanton served as president of the Photographic Association of Canada in 1887-1888. He died in Toronto in 1907 and is buried in St. James Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario.

The Butler brothers, Joseph and Samuel, were also Canadians who operated a photography business in Baltimore, but I have not been able to find anything more about them beyond the 1870 census. They are listed as “Butler Brothers” in the photographers’ section of Woods Baltimore Business Directory for 1868-1869.

Rosalie Adelaide Bailey Bogle is buried in Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery, Edisto Island, South Carolina.

Adelaide Bogle Beckett died in January of 1917 and is buried in Johns Island Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Johns Island, South Carolina.

Many thanks to the countless genealogy researchers who have documented the lives, deaths and last resting places of these families.

Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Daniel R. Stiltz

D. R. Stiltz carte de visite photograph of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church, Baltimore When Daniel Reed Stiltz (1837-1903) took this photograph of Mount Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church in 1864 (as it was called then), the church still had its steeple, bringing the height of the structure to 145 feet. A photo on the church’s website, bottom row, center, in their “oldies” gallery, shows the steeple toppled in a blizzard on March 1, 1914, and while the bell remains, the steeple was never replaced.

Robert Cary Long Jr.  (1810-1849), creator of the gates of Green Mount Cemetery and the Patapsco Female Institute among many other public and private buildings,  designed the gothic revival Mount Calvary Church in 1844-1845. Bishop Whittingham laid the corner stone for the new church on September 10, 1844 (Baltimore Sun, 10  September 1844, p. 2).

The church was originally Episcopal, but long deplored for its “Romish” ways. Yet it had a prosperous and distinguished following. Robert E. Lee is said to have worshiped there while living in Baltimore with his family. The congregation finally voted to join the Roman Catholic Church in 2010 and in 2012 was admitted as a “Roman Catholic parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,” a special dispensation for Amercian Anglican churches by Pope Benedict XVI.

Mount Calvary was also controversial for the missions its clergy undertook to Baltimore’s African-Americans. Most identified with this outreach were Anglo-Irish immigrant Reverend Joseph Richey (1843-1877) rector of Mount Calvary from 1872 until his death, and his assistant,  Reverend Calbraith Bourn Perry (1846-1914).  In 1884 Perry published an account of the work, Twelve Years Among the Colored People: A Record of the Work of Mount Calvary, Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Baltimore.

This photograph is one of four Stiltz architectural cartes de visite  I own that I believe were part of a larger series he issued in 1864, the date of copyright on the back. Stiltz marketed himself as a “view photographer.” His office was upstairs at Butler, Perrigo & Way’s, 163 W. Baltimore Street.

The comments written on the bottom margin of these cartes refer to architectural details, so it’s possible these photographs belonged to an architect or builder who kept them for reference purposes.

The church is relatively small and unprepossessing from the outside, but the interior is quite beautiful, as shown in these photos taken by Stephen Schnurr. Because Stiltz photographed the church from ground level, when surrounding trees were in full leaf, the exterior is not as clear as in the photo shot from above (in the church’s online “oldies” gallery), probably from the same period.

According to an admiring Baltimore Sun description of the church’s design, published 19 February 1846, all of the interior details were designed by Long himself.

The stained glass was supervised by “Mr. Stephenson, superintendent of the glass-staining at Trinity Church, New York.” The height of the interior was enhanced by the use of an exposed beam structure; the pulpit, desk, and chancel railing are, said the writer, “all of solid walnut;” originally, it seems, the ceiling was painted a dark walnut hue to match the furnishings.

The effect seems to have been particularly striking.

“The whole effect of the dark roof and pews and the tinted atmosphere thrown in by the colored glass is so different from what we have been accustomed to see in our modern churches that it takes some little time for the eye to grow familiar with the intention of the architect.  But the longer we remain on the premises the more imposing and satisfactory is the effect produced” (Baltimore Sun, 19 February 1846).

The artisans who created the church’s beautiful decorations, including its chancel altarpiece,  Christ the King side altar and the Our Lady’s Shrine, are not mentioned.

Retired architect Jim Wollon, a member of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation who worked for the church on ADA improvements some years ago, had a chance to explore the building and its history quite thoroughly.

Two other firms made substantial changes to the church, says Wollon. “Niernsee & Neilson added a larger nave with a very shallow chancel and T. Butler Ghequier (Long’s nephew) added a very deep chancel that penetrated the first row house just north of the church. . . . The colorful tiles of the choir and chancel were added by Ghequier and made by Minton of England, very typical in about last third of 19th century, [in] churches, major government buildings including the US Capitol, important residences; usually limited to entrances.”

Wollon thinks “the tiles in the chancel and choir are original, the long and wide marble steps all the way up to the altar.  Below the steps down into the aisles between the pews — modern.  Not sure I can see the tiles just below the steps down to another set of steps and a wooden rail, maybe a Communion rail; [they] may be replacements.”

The shallow chancel created by Niernsee & Neilson had a large, triangular window above the altar. That window was installed, says Wollon, “early to mid 1850s.  That window is still there . . .  but high and on the left side of the chancel, with one of matching size and shape but later 1880s glass is on the right side of the chancel, the Ghequier period.”

The Niernsee & Neilson chancel and window can be seen on the bottom row, far left, of the “oldies” photo gallery on the church’s website.

Notable on the margin of the carte are notes in period ink. Wollon explains: “The exterior brick was painted red, a darker red than the natural bricks . . . Typical finish in the 19th century. . . . In modern times all [the exterior] was sandblasted to remove the paint, out-of-style in the 20th century.”

In 1849, Long’s already brilliant but short career was cut off prematurely when he died suddenly of cholera while visiting  Morristown, New Jersey. Although it has not been confirmed that Long is buried there, there is a stone erected in Long’s memory in the cemetery of Morristown Presbyterian Church, Morristown, New Jersey.

View a digitized version of a complete Minton Tiles catalog.

Learn more about the work of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation.

Special thanks to Jim Wollon for his enthusiastic help with details about the Mount Calvary Church’s architecture and interior design history.

Field Trip to Philadelphia: Florence Fisher Webb West

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On first reacquainting myself with Baltimore and environs some years ago, one thing that impressed me was the refreshingly utilitarian method of naming roads. Near my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ homes runs Philadelphia Road, which I prefer to call “the” Philadelphia Road–because that’s exactly what it was–the road to Philadelphia.

Recently I found myself  taking a metaphorical trip up the Philadelphia Road to explore the family ties of Mrs. Florence Fisher Webb West. After acquiring  a cabinet card identified as Mrs. Frank West by the Russell & Co. studio, No. 5 North Charles Street, Baltimore, I became increasingly interested in a collection of related family photos, mostly taken in Philadelphia.

Florence Fisher Webb was born in Philadelphia about 1871 to bookkeeper Samuel Webb (1842-1932) and Maria Christiana (Dunnott) Webb (1845-1928). Florence spent at least part of her childhood in the Philadelphia household of her aunt and uncle, Eliza Dunnott Gibson and bookbinder George Gibson.

Florence’s middle name honors her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Fisher Dunott (1824-1897). The Dunott family appears to have originated in Delaware, while the Webbs go far back in Philadelphia. Florence’s grandfather, John Webb, went to sea as a youth, served with the city militia during the nativist riots of 1844, and prospered as a hotel owner.

Florence married hardware salesman Frank West in 1897, son of Emma and Edwin West (1844-1909), an English-born bank clerk. Florence and Frank had one child, Jack Edwin West, born in 1899. Frank does not appear to have done particularly well financially. At first they lived with her parents at 1706 N. Sydenham Street, a neighborhood of three-story, two-bay Italianate row houses near what is now Temple University. In 1910 he gave his occupation as manufacturer of garters. In 1920 he was a “sanitary engineer” at an ordnance depot in Salem County, New Jersey.

1930 found Florence a widow. She and her son were again living with her parents on Sydenham Street in Philadelphia. After that, the trail goes cold. I know she was alive in 1932, because I found a record of invoices sent to her for the funeral and grave for her father with that date, addressed to her at 1706 N. Sydenham Street. That is the last trace of Florence Fisher Webb West.

Her son Jack lived alone in 1940, and gave his occupation at salesman in a sporting goods store. I learned that he served in the Army during World War II, but not what became of him afterwards.

I have another Russell & Co. portrait of Florence’s mother Maria, possibly taken during the same period. But what drew them to Baltimore? I still don’t know.

Rare Images of Antietam and the Photographers Who Took Them

Thanks to a Hagerstown pal, I’ve acquired and am devouring Steve Recker’s wonderful new book Rare Images of Antietam and the Photographers Who Took Them.

A Washington County native, Recker has researched the lives of all the major photographers who took photos of Antietam battlefield: Elias Marken Recher, David Bachrach, W. B. King, J. H. Wagoner, and more.

Recker carefully investigated how each photographer came to take their pictures, and has painstakingly worked to understand what is depicted in each. Also included are some rarely-seen images of the photographers themselves. Some of these cartes de visite and stereoviews have never been seen before.

And you can’t get it on Amazon–only at area bookstores and at Recker’s site, Virtual Antietam. So virtually run, don’t walk, to his site and grab a copy before they sell out.

Read a Q & A with the author on John Banks’ Civil War Blog.

Read an article about Recker and his career in the Hagerstown Daily Mail.

Sharpless Moore Walton, Coast-to-Coast

We tend to think of geographic mobility as a phenomenon of post-World War II America, but many of us can think of someone in our family trees who hit the road much earlier than that.

Sharpless Moore Walton (1863-1951), shown here in a childhood carte de visite photograph by Benjamin E. Lodore (b. abt. 1830, New Jersey) of Elkton, Maryland, was born on a farm in Avondale, New Garden Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and died in Spokane, Washington.

Along the way, Walton studied veterinary medicine at New York University (1881), married his first wife, Jennie Louise Campe, in Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho (1886), and then, under the name Frank M. Walton, turned to real estate and insurance sales in Spokane County, Washington state.

Sharpless Moore Walton was named for his maternal grandfather Sharpless Moore (b. abt. 1810, Pennsylvania). Young Walton’s father, Nathan P. Walton (1835-1869), was a physician and a farmer. They were Quakers, and might have been members of New Garden Meeting of Friends in Chester County.

Walton was still using the name Sharpless when he married Swedish immigrant Jennie Louise (Eugenia Lovisa) Campe in 1886, but what brought him to Idaho, I don’t know (Source: Western States Marriage Records  Index at Brigham Young University-Idaho).

He surfaces in the 1900 census in Spokane as an insurance agent, under the name Frank M. Walton.

Thanks to Washington State Archives’ excellent vital records digital archiving and indexing, we know that in 1918, Sharpless was married for a second time, to Irish immigrant Mollie Ryan. The fate of his first wife is unknown–there is neither a death record nor a divorce record for Jennie.

The Washington State Archives also provided Frank M. Walton’s death certificate, which confirmed his parentage and indicated where he is buried.

Sharpless is buried under the name Frank M. Walton, along with his second wife, Mollie, at St. Joseph Cemetery (aka Trentwood Cemetery) Spokane Valley, Washington. Since a rosary was said for him after his death, he must have converted to Catholicism.

Walton’s father, Nathan P. Walton, is buried in Fallowfield Cemetery, Coatesville, Chester County, Pa. His mother, Elma Moore Walton (1837-1921), married for a second time merchant Levi Preston, and although a Moore family history says she is buried in New Garden Friends Burial Ground, I haven’t been able to confirm this.

When this photograph was taken in Elkton, Sharpless may have been on a visit to some of his mother’s Moore relations. Her uncle William Moore (1796-1859) a teacher and farmer, had settled in Cecil County, near Rising Sun, with his wife Mary Miller Way Moore, where they raised five children.

Why did Sharpless Walton abandon his distinctive first name? What drove him across the country from the land of his ancestors to Washington State? Why did he give up veterinary practice? If you know the answers to any of these questions, get in touch.

Records on photographer Benjamin E. Lodore (b. abt. 1830, New Jersey) are sketchy. He shows up as a photographer in the mid-1860s via IRS tax lists, and with his wife, Amanda, and their children Mary J., William, John, Alice, and Sallie, lived in Elkton in 1870.

In 1880, He and his family were living in Volusia County, Florida, planting orange trees.  An 1885 land record for an additional land purchase by Amanda Lodore says that she was a widow. 

Their son William E. Lodore (b. Nov 1863, Elkton, Md.)  joined the US Army and spent the rest of his life as a career soldier. He was stationed for a time in Cuba. The last record I’ve found for him says he was discharged from the Army in June 1901 at Washington, DC, for disability. There is a Washington, DC death record that gives his death as 12 Jan 1906. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I am grateful to St. Joseph Cemetery, Trentwood, Spokane Valley, Washington, for kindly confirming the whereabouts of Frank and Mollie (Ryan) Walton’s graves, and to the Spokane Public Library for providing Frank Walton’s death notice from the Spokane Spokesman Review.

John F. Wiley, Printer: “In his job, very skillful”

Official printer for the State of Maryland, member of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Board of Directors and the Maryland House of Delegates . . . These are just a few of the accomplishments that made John Francis Wiley (1822-1877) a valued, if forgotten, citizen of Baltimore.

Despite a rather long obituary in the Baltimore Sun, John Wiley’s origins are obscure. He was born in Baltimore, apprenticed to the Philadelphia Ledger as a printer’s devil in 1834, became foreman of that paper’s job printing operations, then returned to Baltimore to fill the same position for the Sun in 1852, later going into business on his own account.

In the mid-1870s he was appointed State Printer, in charge of producing all of Maryland state government’s official publications.  He was twice elected to the Maryland House of Delegates for Baltimore, but died before he could serve his second term.

According to his memorialists, Wiley was a thoughtful and well-read man, as well as a successful printer and public servant. He self-published a travel narrative documenting his observations on his and his wife’s one trip abroad.

Printed privately, his Letters from Europe in the year 1869 is so obscure that it has not been cataloged. The Maryland Historical Society’s H. Furlong Baldwin Library owns a copy, and one copy has surfaced on the web for sale by a purveyor of rare books.

When Wiley died at the age of 55, multiple newspapers published obituaries honoring his enterprise and character. The New York Herald called him “a purely self-made man” (New York Herald, 19 November 1877).

The Baltimore Sun‘s obituary was, naturally, the longest. The anonymous writer remembered him thus:

“He was a ready writer, and though he only made occasional efforts with the pen his writings from time to time displayed culture and observation. He had many warm personal friends. As a businessman he was prompt and intelligent, and in his job, very skillful” (Baltimore Sun, 21 November 1877).

He and his wife, Sally Forman Wiley, had no children. After his death, Mrs. Wiley moved to Philadelphia to live with her brother, William Wiley Forman, his wife Mary, and their daughters, Lillie, Sarah Wiley Forman and Elizabeth Forman.

There is a sad coda to his life story.

Because his wife made no will before her  death in 1897, her brother attempted to have her dying words accepted in lieu of a written statement of intentions. “Rheumatism,” said William Wiley’s attorney, “had affected . . . her hands to such an extent that she was able to write only with great pain and labor.”

But “everything is to go to Willie,” she had said, “Mary, don’t you or the children worry about anything. I want Willie–brother Willie–to have everything” (Pennsylvania State Reports, v. 187, p. 82 ff).

The Pennsylvania courts declined to recognize Mrs. Wiley’s words as a will, and in 1898, the unnamed opponents of William Forman’s case successfully defended against his appeal.

The card mount of this carte de visite portrait bears the blind emboss mark of daguerreotypist and photographer Jesse Harrison Whitehurst (1823-1875). According to Maryland photography historian Ross Kelbaugh, Whitehurst’s photographic studio was at 123 Baltimore Street from 1860 to 1864. Photographs taken between 1864 and 1866 were taxed by means of a  revenue stamp on the reverse. Since this carte lacks a revenue stamp, Wiley’s portrait might might well have been taken between 1860 and 1864.

Whitehurst was one of the most successful of the early daguerreans and photographers, operating galleries in multiple cities, including Washington, DC and New York.  According to what is known of him, he took up the daguerreotypy almost as soon as it was introduced in the United States, traveling from Virginia to New York to study the new technology.

“Mr. Whitehurst,” said his brief obituary in the journal Photographic Mosaics, “was celebrated for securing sittings from distinguished characters, of which he was supposed to have had the largest collection of negatives in this or any other country.”

Whitehurst’s highly-prized portraits of the famous include General J. E. B. Stuart, General Sam Houston, and the actor Edwin Booth.

Whitehurst daguerreotypes and photographs can be found in the collections of noted archives, historical societies and museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Library of Congress.

John Francis Wiley is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

With Compliments of D. R. Stiltz & Co.

When one thinks of vintage views of Baltimore, stereographs are the form that comes first to mind.

Daniel Reed Stiltz (1837-1903) may have sold photographs to stereoview publishers–most are anonymous–but he specialized, at least while in Baltimore, in carte de visite-sized views of churches and important buildings.

This 1864 photograph of  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Franklin Square shows the church still under construction.

Originally designed by Niernsee and Neilson and dedicated in 1853, the church was not finished for 15 years when the board brought in  J. W. Priest.

Priest, a proponent of the Ecclesiological Society’s belief that modern church design should reflect those of medieval English churches, added the small crenelated tower.

The Maryland Historical Society has several of Stiltz’s cartes available for viewing on line, including the old Baltimore court-house at Calvert and Lexington, the Front Street Theater.

St. Luke’s is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Several photographs of the church, as well as details about the history of the design and building of St. Luke’s, are visible via Google Books in The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968), by Phoebe B. Stanton.

Born in Baltimore, according to Maryland photography historian Ross Kelbaugh Daniel Reed Stiltz trained in daguerreotypy under Jesse Whitehurst.

During the Civil War, Stiltz, who served as a private in Company H of Purnell’s Legion, Maryland Infantry, worked as an army photographer (Lycoming County Genealogical Society).

He married Mary Elizabeth Marshall in 1861, and by 1870, they had settled in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, where he continued to operate a studio on 4th Street, and then founded a business called the National Copying Company.

He and Mary, who belonged to Williamsport’s beautiful and historic Christ Episcopal Church, had four children, Helen, Mary (Stiltz) Sergeant, Chester, Stanley (who lived only two years), and civil engineer Daniel Dorey Stiltz (1876-1913). Daniel Stiltz Sr. died on 15 June 1903, and is buried in Wildwood Cemetery, Williamsport, along with his wife, their daughter Helen, and their sons Daniel, Stanley and Chester.

Thanks to the Lycoming County Genealogical Society  for their help with documentation of Daniel Reed Stiltz’s career and with finding his family’s graves in Wildwood Cemetery.

Mary Bayley Cressy’s “Peculiar Freedom”

Taken in the studio of Baltimore photographer Thomas Parker Varley, this carte de visite portrait of Mary Bayley Cressy is the counterpart to the portrait of her husband, George Newton Cressy, discussed in the previous post.

All but  forgotten today, Mrs. Cressy during her brief lifetime built a small Christian kingdom in Baltimore as one of the forces behind the establishment of the Baltimore Female City Mission,  known after 1869 as the “Home for Fallen Women.” Founded in 1865 with the support of First Presbyterian Church pastor J. H. Kaufman, the Mission was an auxiliary of the Maryland Tract Society, of which her husband was a manager.

One of the Female City Mission’s endeavors was to recruit women  to serve as “earnest, faithful female missionaries” to the poorer districts of the city.  Children came to the Mission’s “Sabbath School,” where they were given clothing and food along with prayers and lessons about Christianity.

Mothers were invited to gather weekly for the “Mother’s Mission,” where working class women could find companionship, “instruction and sympathy,” childcare and other kinds of aid, including temporary respite from abusive husbands, all with a generous helping of prayer and evangelizing. She organized a “Saving Fund” to instill in women “habits of economy and calculation for a ‘rainy day.'” Cressy persuaded a number of unnamed wealthy benefactors to support all these projects.

Mary L. Bayley was born about 1828 in Baltimore to Newbury, Vermont-born attorney John M. Bayley and Eliza (Evans) Bayley. Her father died before 1840, and she and her mother found refuge in the home of her aunt Mary Evans, her mother’s sister.

In June of 1860, she married fellow “home missionary” George Newton Cressy, who, like her father, was from Vermont.  Cressy had served the American Tract Society as a colporteur, or itinerant vendor of religious tracts, and was then one of the principals of the Maryland Tract Society in Baltimore.

Mrs. Cressy was one of a long line of women down the centuries who found power and authority through Christianity and the institutions sanctioned by its churches.

What is known about her life comes almost entirely from an anonymous memoir published after her death in 1868, entitled One Who Loved Jesus, published by the Tract House at No. 73 West Fayette Street, Baltimore.

Clearly meant as an evangelizing tool, the volume’s “excessive religious fervor,” as historian M. Hamlin Cannon so aptly says of similar texts of the period, “repels the modern reader” (M. Hamlin Cannon, “The United States Christian Commission,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, Jun., 1951, pp. 61-80).

The book portrays her as a saint, instilled by God from childhood with “the burning love for souls, which at times seemed to consume me” (183). Her ambition was to be a foreign missionary, a rarity for a single woman in the mid-19th century.

“Then I thought that my work would be to go ‘far hence to the Gentiles’ to teach them the unsearchable riches of Christ, but God, in His Providence, ordered it otherwise, gave me South Baltimore as my field of operation” (183).

With the apparent support of her husband,  Cressy devoted her life to evangelizing in South Baltimore. Although she is occasionally depicted with sewing or embroidery, it seems that George Cressy’s modest income gave her a “peculiar freedom from temporal cares” (29).

Instead of taking a house, they “boarded” on Hanover Street, and as they had no children, “her time was to an unusual extent at her command” (32). Unusual indeed for the day, her husband encouraged her to pursue her ambitious agenda for Baltimore’s salvation.

Mary Bayley Cressy died on 29 April 1868. Although her brief death announcement in the Baltimore SUN does not say where she was to be interred, One Who Loved Jesus relates that she wanted to be buried in Loudon Park Cemetery, along side her mother, Eliza (Evans) Bayley and her aunt, Mary Evans.

Note: All quotations are from One Who Loved Jesus unless otherwise noted. A copy of the book can be found at the Maryland Historical Society.

George Newton Cressy, Baltimore Colporteur

This carte de visite portrait of Mr. George N. Cressy was taken at the Baltimore studio of Thomas Parker Varley, corner of Baltimore and Holliday streets, probably in the mid to late 1860s.

Born in 1827 in Jamaica, Vermont to Alpheus Cressy and Lydia (Cass) Cressy, George Newton Cressy devoted most of his life to “home missionary” work in Baltimore (The Cressy Family, created and maintained by LeRoy Cressy). He  had a small income from a farm he owned in South Londonderry, Vermont, and earned a little from his work with the Maryland Tract Society.

He was commissioned as a “colporteur,” an itinerant seller of tracts and Bibles, by the American Tract Society of New York in 1849.

In the 1850s, he settled in Baltimore, where in 1860 he married fellow evangelical Christian missionary and member of the Maryland Tract Society Mary Bayley, daughter of Vermont-born attorney John M. Bayley or Bailey.  They took rooms at 102 Hanover Street, near West Conway, along with Mary’s sisters, Jane and Eliza Bayley. The neighborhood of small row houses is long since gone to the wrecking ball; the Baltimore Convention Center and the Baltimore Hilton now occupy the site.

According to a posthumous memoir of Mrs. Cressy published ca. 1870 by the Baltimore Tract House, George Cressy attended the Congregational Church on Eutaw Street, while his wife was a member of the South Baltimore Presbyterian Church, a mission of the First Presbyterian Church overseen by Rev. J. H. Kaufman (William Reynolds, A Brief History of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, 1913, pg. 67).

They must often have been apart. During the Civil War, George Cressy joined the Maryland Committee of the United States Christian Commission. The Commission’s aim was to bring religion to the soldiers, but the best of these workers did so through compassionate generosity. Commission members supplied food, clothing, books, letter-writing paper along with prayers, exhortations, religious tracts and Bibles.

Cressy spent a good portion of his time visiting wounded and sick soldiers in the Washington hospitals. In 1864’s annual Commission report, Cressy related that “we held two prayer meetings weekly at the National Hospital on Thursday and Sabbath evenings. Some have been well-attended; others, thinly” (Second Annual Report of the United States Christian Commission, 1864, pg.94).

They passed out copious quantities of “tracts, books, etc.,” and Cressy reported a few spiritual successes. “We have been encouraged by several instances of hopeful conversion from these efforts, through the blessing of our Heavenly Father” (USCC Annual Report, pg. 95).

Cressy and his fellow committee members also visited the fortifications and encampments around Baltimore, finding great need for basic supplies, and distributing to the troops “boiled hams, bread, crackers, cheese, condensed milk, tea, sugar, coffee, lemons, etc.,” paying special attention to the sick (Cross, The Civil War and the US Christian Commission, 1865).

Cressy stressed the urgent need for supplies at the hospitals: “Your Committee are of the opinion that the Christian Commission could not do a better work than to obtain from the proper authorities, to all our hospitals, the much needed suitable nourishment for the sick and convalescent” (Cross, pg. 149).

To his nephew, Nelson Newton Glazier of the 11th Vermont Infantry, son of John Newton Glazier and Phoebe (Cass) Glazier, Cressy was simply “Uncle George,” a welcome face from home. Cressy visited Glazier in camp near Fort Lincoln several times in 1862, bringing news from home as well as comestibles including:

“a nice loaf of wheat bread not yet cold from the oven in Baltimore, a splendid sponge cake made by Aunt Mary – Uncle George’s wife – some nice cookies; a lemon pudding and a cocoa pudding; two nice apple pies; a frosted fruit cake . . . three glasses of jellies or preserves; some very nice apples; and a lot of excellent pickles; a chicken already cooked; besides a lot of papers, tracts, etc. To be sure one man no larger than Uncle George could not bring everything, as he had to bring it by hand from the depot” (from the letters of Nelson Newton Glazier, part of Vermont in the Civil War).

Mary Bayley Cressy died in 1868. According to LeRoy Cressy’s Cressy Family website, George spent 35 years in Baltimore, beginning in 1854,  then returned to Vermont. The 1900 census finds the old missionary living with his sister Hannah Cressy in the home of their niece, Betsey Kingsbury.

According to the Baltimore American newspaper, George Newton Cressy died on 20 April 1905, in Bondville, Vermont.

From Susan Bear’s Album: Martin L. Hightman

It’s tricky, trying to glue the fragments  of a family back together through photographs.

This carte de visite by an unidentified photographer is one of only 11 in the Susan Bear album that has some identifying text. In the Washington County, Maryland Bear/Baer family tree I’ve constructed so far, the surname Heightman had not come up. Only when I searched ancestry.com records with a different spelling, Hightman, and without the initials M. L., did something slip into place.

A Martin L. Hightman was born into a Burkittsville, Frederick County family of dry goods merchants about 1852.  Burial records for other Burkittsville Hightmans brought up the grave records of his parents: John Hightman (1825-1891) and M. Elizabeth (Bear) Hightman (1825-1913).

One of Susan Bear’s sisters was named Mary Elizabeth, and her birth year, about 1826, fit. Was there a record of a marriage between a Mary Elizabeth Bear and a John Hightman that fit the time frame?

There was. Mary Elizabeth Bear and John Hightman married in Frederick County on 2 October 1851.

This photograph had to be of Mary Elizabeth Bear Hightman’s eldest son, Martin Luther  Hightman (1852-1891). It was, judging by the subject’s age and the style of the carte, probably taken in the early to mid-1860s.

Why it lacks a photographer’s imprint is hard to say. Certainly the photographers of Hagerstown and Frederick of the era–E. M. Recher, Jacob Byerly and others–promoted their work vigorously with a variety of advertising backmarks. The photographer may have been one of the many itinerants who worked during the Civil War. Or it could have been a copy.

Like his father, Martin L. Hightman became a Burkittsville dry goods merchant. He was also the village’s postmaster. He and his wife Lovetta Arnold had five children: Frederick Arnold, Cora, John Roy, Harrison Martin, and Mabell E. Hightman.

Frederick obtained a bachelor’s degree at Gettysburg College in 1902 and graduated from Gettysburg Theological Seminary in 1905.  In 1908, Rev. Frederick Arnold Hightman  (1876-1967) founded the northeast Baltimore congregation that became Ephiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church. The stone church in the Gothic Revival style still flourishes on Raspe Avenue just south of Belair Road.

Martin and Lovetta Hightman are buried in Burkittsville Union Cemetery in Frederick County. Rev. Hightman is buried in Moreland Memoral Park, Parkville, Maryland, a few miles from his church.