Hunt’s Methodist Church, 1908

A Miss Clara Miller mailed this real photo post card (RPPC) of Hunt’s Methodist Church in the Green Spring Valley area of Baltimore County to a Miss Clara Chew, Brunswick, Md. in December 1908.

According to the church’s historical sketch, a group of Methodists began meeting at the home of Phineas Hunt here in 1773. The stone building was erected in 1874 on the site of several previous log meeting houses.

The church, located near the junction of Joppa and Old Court roads, is considered to be located in Towson, but the church itself refers to its location as “Riderwood.”The Baltimore County Historical Sociey erected a  historical marker to remember this spot as one of the earliest Methodist meeting-places in Maryland.

The structure has clearly undergone expansion and renovation since this homemade photograph was taken.

According to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, it was rebuilt in 1933 following a 1932 fire.

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.

Mrs. Nora Welty Barnheisel At Rest

According to penciled notes on the back, this oversize McCune Studio card photograph of Nora Welty was “received at Fairplay May 28th, 1905.”

Relaxed and at ease before the photographer’s gaze, Miss Welty wears a  wide “walking skirt” and a silk shirtwaist with a pleated bodice, overlaid with a lovely drop-shoulder lace yoke.

Daughter of Fairplay, Maryland undertaker David Welty and Laura A. Shafer Welty, Nora married Hagerstown coal mine operator William Garfield Barnheisel later that year.

In 1916, the journal Coal Age mentions Barnheisel as president of the newly-organized Casselman River Smokeless Coal Company of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The company, Coal Age rreported, planned to develop mines on 2,000 acres of land it owned in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Nora grew up in Fairplay, a rural area of Washington County, Maryland.  After her marriage, she lived with her husband and two daughters, Margaret and Jane, in Hagerstown.

Barnheisel appears to have sold his interest in Casselman Coal rather quickly: In 1930, the family lived in San Jose, California, and William Barnheisel described his occupation as “investor.”

Nora died in Santa Monica, California in January 1951, and William followed her to the grave in September of the same year. According to her obituary in the Hagerstown Morning Herald, Nora is interred in the mausoleum at Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown, Maryland.

Charles Brewer McCune (1869-1953) operated a photography studio in Hagerstown for some 35 years. Like Nora Welty Barnheisel, his remains rest in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown.

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.

Immanuel Episcopal Church, Glencoe, Maryland

Mary Bosley Matthews Mitchell (1888-1978) sent this real photo postcard of her church to her friend, Grace Guthrie of Monkton Maryland, in 1947.

Mary Mitchell, the daughter of physician and farmer Frederick Gibbons Mitchell and Rebecca (Gorsuch) Mitchell, grew up on Retreat Farm, on Glencoe Road, in Baltimore County.

The farm came into the family via Rebecca Gorsuch, daughter of prominent county farmer Dickinson Gorsuch (1827-1882?). Retreat Farm was part of the extensive Gorsuch land holdings in northern Baltimore County,  amassed throughout the 19th century by merchant John M. Gorsuch and his descendants.

Mary Mitchell may have taken this photograph of her church, Immanuel Episcopal, Glencoe, herself, using a special amateur camera designed for creating postcards. Since we cannot see the stamp box, we can tell very little about when this card was made. (For an excellent guide to the history of real photo postcards, visit the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City .

Mary Mitchell remained single and lived quietly at Retreat Farm until the mid-1950s. She and her parents are buried in Immanuel’s cemetery.  Apparently, all that is left of the structures on the farm is the historic stone Gorsuch barn , now owned by a stoneware auction house.

Mary had an infamous lineage. Her grandfather, Dickinson Gorsuch, and her great-grandfather, Edward Gorsuch, were at the center of an explosive episode in the history of slavery.

In 1851 Dickinson  accompanied his father, Edward Gorsuch, and other male relations, on a journey to Christiana, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to retrieve several escaped Gorsuch slaves. The party was armed with a writ backed by the Fugitive Slave Law, which gave slave owners the right to reclaim runaway slaves in any state, free or not.

The disastrous attempted assault on the Parker home, where one of the escaped men was hiding, sparked violence against African-Americans throughout the area,  and became known as the notorious  “Christiana Riot.” Edward was killed; Dickinson was seriously wounded.

The incident sparked widespread discussion throughout the country. Frederick Douglass wrote of the episode in his newspaper in an article entitled “Freedom’s Battle at Christiana;” imagined depictions of the scene were published widely. Some historians hold that the violence and resulting trial raised a new awareness in the north of the far-reaching impact of the Fugitive Slave Law and moved the nation closer to war.

Soldier in a Sylvan Glade

I don’t know enough about military dress to tell if this soldier’s uniform is post- or ante-bellum, but this Bachrach & Bro. cabinet card portrait has the look of late 19th century studio style.

The not-quite-young man attempts a relaxed stance, leaning casually upon a ludicrously unrealistic papier mache – er – rock? Behind him is a misty forest backdrop.

A few things about his uniform stand out: He wears a forage cap with artillery insignia, possibly with one row of braid. Perhaps a 1st lieutenant? His sack coat is quite tight and short–not sure it’s Civil War style.

Three aspects of this portrait date it to 1875 or after: The cabinet card size, use of painted background and papier-mache props, and the name of the studio.

The cabinet-size portrait became popular just after the Civil War, as demand for the carte de visite portraits fell off.

“Several sizes were suggested among the professionals,” writes photo historian Robert Taft, “but the one which soon caught public favor was commonly credited to G. Wharton Simpson, the editor of one of the British photographic journals. It made its appearance in this country in the fall of 1866. . . . The cabinet size (for it was soon known by that name in this country) rapidly achieved popular favor” (Photography and the American Scene, p. 323).

New York theatrical portraitist Jose Mora is credited with popularizing painted backgrounds and a new variety of props in the 1870s (Taft, 350-51).

In this he was abetted by L. W. Seavey of New York. “To Seavey, in large measure” writes Taft, ” must go the credit, or the blame, for the introduction of the painted background. He rose to fame during the seventies, making a specialty of manufacturing accessories for the photographic gallery” (Taft, 352).

Soon studios all over the country were employing a wide variety of accessories, such as papier mache rocks, stumps, fences and gates, paper flowers and vines, imitation balustrades and porticos, etc.

Another feature that dates the photo is the studio’s name. David Bachrach (1845-1921), whose descendants continue as portrait photographers today, took his younger brother Moses into the business in  1875, and the studio then became known as “Bachrach & Bro.” until about 1910 (Photographic Journal of America, v. 53, n. 3, March 1916, p. 117).

Also worth noting is the composition of the card mount. The fraying at bottom right shows that the mount is made of paste board, made by pasting multiple sheets together; according to William C. Darrah,  it was introduced about 1870.

The subject’s jacket  is short and tight-fitting, , and worn buttoned to the neck, in the style that became popular after 1880.

But the crease in the trousers may be the best aid to dating this portrait: Men’s pants did not begin sporting a crease until the advent of the wooden trouser  press ca. 1890.

Leo J. Beachy: A Birdseye View of Grantsville Maryland

Grantsville, Maryland teacher, writer and photographer Leo J. Beachy (1874-1927) made and sold real photo postcards in his studio at “Mt. Nebo,” his parents’ Garrett County farm.

I can’t be sure, but I am  guessing this view of Grantsville is an early effort. Later postcards have his name and/or  “Mt. Nebo Studio Grantsville  MD” on the postal side.

According to what is known about Beachy’s life and work, he taught himself photography while still an instructor in local schools. A  brief biographical sketch of Beachy by the Maryland Historical Society says that Beachy began taking photographs in 1905 when he received a small Kodak camera and developing chemicals as a prize.

Beachy was frustrated that no professional photographer would come out  to make photographs of his school and environs, and he decided to take up the task himself. He took many photographs of country school classes, and then began turning his camera on the people, pastimes and landscapes of the place he loved.

In 1906, Eastman Kodak began marketing a folding pocket camera that made negatives the same size as post cards. The US Postal Service began allowing divided back postcards in 1907 (McCulloch, Card Photographs, A Guide to Their History and Value, p. 121) .

The Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City has an excellent collection of postage stamp imprints. This one has a postage stamp imprint used on Cyko bromide postcard papers produced by Ansco on its real photo post cards between 1903 and 1905.

Another source dates the availability of Cyko paper to 1906-1920.

The 3/-1/4″ x 4-1/2″ photograph has been printed on 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″  paper, suggesting that Beachy used a smaller format camera and did not yet own an  enlarger (Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City). Eventually he was able to have a fully-equipped studio built on the family farm, and must have acquired a camera made specially for photo postcards.

The Cumberland Road Project has an example of a similar Beachy postcard entitled “The National Pike Eastward Through Grantsville Md” that helps pinpoint this view’s orientation.