Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #84 Unknown Couple abt. 1894

This photograph of an unidentified couple measures 6 1/2″ x 4 1/4″. The rich soft tones of the image are marred by a stain on the right side of the picture. At first, I thought a top layer had been scratched off of the photo. The original shows this is actually a piece of paper stuck to the picture. Very likely another photograph stuck to this one when the water damage happened.

unkcoupleoriginalscanThe front includes the photographer’s name and location in golden artistic print common around 1882-1900. The rounded corner and single line border dates this cabinet card to the 1889–1896 period. The photo was glued to a light cream colored heavy card stock and there is no writing or printing on the back.

The collar of the man’s shirt is a low band without an actual collar. His tie has a large knot and is tucked to the side as was the style in the late 19th century. His hair is cut short and neat.

The woman’s dress has a high neckline with lace, leg-of-mutton sleeves, and a wide cape-like collar bordered with black venitian lace similar to that around the neck. A pin is attached to the middle of the high neck of her blouse. Her face is framed in tiny ringlets instead of bangs while the rest of her hair appears to be put up in a bun at the back of her head.

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O. H. Talbott who had his business in Girard, Kansas, worked as a photographer from 1894 (or perhaps earlier) until just before 1910. No information was found for a photographer of this name. To place his occupation in Girard during a certain time period I had to draw up a short biographical sketch from information found in census records and his children’s records.

  • Othniel Henry Talbott was born in 1853 in Indiana.
  • In 1860 he was in the household of Lorenzo Dow Talbott and Elizabeth Allen, likely their oldest child, in Greencastle Ward 5, Putnam County, Indiana.
  • Sometime after 1862 and before 1866 the family moved to Iowa. In 1870 they were living in Yellow Springs, Des Moines County, Iowa.
  • In 1880 Othniel was 26 years old, single, living with his parents in Mediapolis, Des Moines County, and working as a blacksmith.
  • In 1885 when the Iowa state census was taken, he still working as a blacksmith and living in his parents’ household.
  • A change in profession and residence took place during the nine years period between 1885 and 1894.
  • Othniel married Genelia Richie about 1892 and their first child, a son, was born in January 1893 in Fairbury, Jefferson County, Nebraska.
  • In January 1894, O.H. Talbott was running advertisements in The Girard Press for his photography business.
  • In August 1894 O.H. Talbott went to Muskogee in the Indian Territory while his wife and child visited in Paola, Linn County, Kansas per a snippet in The Girard Press of August 23, 1894.
  • He must not have remained long as in 1895 they were in Paola and his parents and one of his brothers living in his household. Othniel was working as a photographer per the 1895 census.
  • In November 1897, when their 2nd son was born, the couple was still living in Paola.
  • In 1900 they were in Eldorado Springs, Cedar County, Missouri, where Othniel was working as a photographer.
  • A third son was born in September 1904 in Eldorado Springs where Othniel H. Talbott applied for a patent on 5 June 1908 for a photographic-plate holder.
  • In 1910 they were back in Potosi in Linn County, Kansas, where he was working his own mortgaged farm.
  • The 1915 state census showed Othniel, a farmer, and his wife with their two youngest sons in Potosi.
  • By 1920 the couple and their youngest son moved to Gates, Campbell County, Wyoming where land was acquired and farmed. He was still farming in 1930.
  • Othniel died in 1938 at the age of 85 and was buried in Basin. He had likely retired from farming and moved there between 1930 and his death in 1938.
  • In 1940 his widow was living in Basin, Big Horn County, Wyoming, with their son youngest son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.
  • His wife who was 19 years younger, died in 1954 and was buried beside him.

Since this sketch points to O.H. Talbott doing business in Girard, Kansas, in January 1894 and until August of the same year, I wonder if his business in the town may not have gotten off to a good start. Paola is 73 miles north of Girard and I do not believe Othniel would have commuted to work. It is more than likely his business in Girard was short lived and this photograph may be one of very few, if any, which survives.

youngoliveThere is another photograph in this collection which was taken in Girard at Bell’s Studio in the early 1880s. It was featured in Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #18 Olive ROYALTY 1871-1949 and shows a young Olive (right) and another girl who was only identified as Irene (left). How Olive came to be in Girard to have her portrait taken with Irene is unknown. Could Olive’s friend Irene be a younger version of this young woman with the man? When comparing the two photographs the difference in the color of the eyes stands out. Could the soft tones of the photo taken by Talbott cause the young woman’s eyes to appear lighter? Can a resemblance be found between the young woman and Irene?

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More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 39 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

17 thoughts on “Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #84 Unknown Couple abt. 1894”

  1. As my Mother would say “I swanee” that looks like Quincy Royalty as a young adult. Referring to the portrait taken in Kansas as well. His hair being parted on the other side might be an image reversal, but it sure looks like him. And the portrait of Olive and Irene sure looks like the one I labeled Unk2women, Olive on the right. Maybe you already processed this and I missed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll do some comparing with the photo of young John Quincy Royalty – and check his timeline.
      The light looking eyes for the man and the woman in this photo make me wonder. Quincy’s eyes are dark in the photo you are referring to. If there is an image reversal it may be the couple photo as Quincy has his part on the same side when photographed in Kansas and in New Mexico.
      I did the one of Olive and Irene (this is written on the back) in 2015.
      Thanks Joe for always bringing up more questions.

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  2. Isn’t it fun tracking the photographers? They all seemed to be a peripatetic gang! I don’t see the resemblance to Irene. Although we can only see one ear in the younger lady, it sticks out slightly, and the woman in the top photo has small, flat-to-the-head ears. The mouth of the younger girl doesn’t look wide enough, either. I was really struck by what a sweet-looking young man that is. Worth tracking down. Is there a history of that county of Kansas in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s? The young man looks younger than the woman to me. She could almost be his mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In a previous comment, Joe thought the man may be John Quincy Royalty (brother of the famous Florence). He was a schoolteacher in Kansas before 1900 but there is no known marriage for him. So nix the wedding photo assumption if this is Quincy. His mother died about 1874 and his stepmother died in 1892 at the age of 62 so your theory of son and mother in this case wouldn’t work. Loving all the possibilities! Thank you, Vera. I’m going to do some more checking.

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  3. You have piqued my curiosity as to the identity of the couple—do you know? I don’t see any obvious resemblance between the two girls and the woman in the top photo, but it certainly is possible. Lovely photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having a lot of Kansas ancestry, I always enjoy when I land on a post examining families (known or otherwise) from the sunflower state. When researching these unknowns do you ever reach out to the local historical society? I know there’s one for Crawford County. I bet they’d enjoy seeing a bit of their history in this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the beginning I thought to only share the photos. The series has grown as I started learning more about photography and fashion of the times.These are families of collateral lines, some not even related to me, so I haven’t done more in-depth research or reached out to local historical societies. Great suggestion and thank you for the compliment, Michael.

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