Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Some Moustache!

Johnson & Hegg
~ Artists ~
Cumberland, Wis.

(click to enlarge)

Among the unidentified photos which once belonged to my grandparents Kerr is the cabinet card shown here. I estimate it to be from the 1880s based on photo dating techniques from City Gallery and other sources. Too bad my grandpa didn't have City Gallery's free downloadable PDF Family Photograph Sheet, because I'm sure he would have known who this was!

Profile portraits seem to be relatively unusual, so of course this one immediately linked up in my mind with the identified portrait of Theron Emmons Sedgwick. Although the shape of the two heads appears to be slightly different, I suppose that could be due to the slight difference between the poses. The prominent chins are similar, and it appears to me the contour from chin to neck may be the same in both cases, although it's hard to tell for sure due to the darkness of the photo on the left. The hairlines seem similar enough to be an evolution from one to the other.

I once read that ears are a lot like fingerprints in their individuality, and I think I could make a pretty good case for this to be two pictures of the same ear separated by a quarter century.

Those noses don't look like a match to me. On the other hand, I've heard the myth that your nose never stops growing, but the cartilage does tend to droop with age. I don't know what to say about the eyes, except that the identified photo comes from a screen capture of a scan of a picture that was published in a book over a hundred years ago, so I don't know what color those eyes were, but in the unidentified photo, they are obviously very light in color, and the same is true of yesterday's set of photos. I think my two unidentified gentlemen could very well be brothers, both having light eyes and male pattern baldness.

I have no reason to believe Theron Sedgwick ever lived in Cumberland, Wisconsin. He did live in DePere and Brown County for a few years, all the way across the state, until early 1878, when he moved to York County, Nebraska. That doesn't rule out the possibility that he may have traveled to Cumberland at some point.

His brother Samuel also moved to York in 1878, and their brother, Dr. David Ernest Sedgwick, joined them in 1880. A quick check at Family Search Pilot didn't turn up any Sedgwicks at all in Barron County, Wisconsin, where Cumberland is located, during the period of 1860-1885. I don't know of any Pettis family members living there either, so the locality of this cabinet card is not helping me much.

A Barron County historian might be able to pinpoint the date of the photo more accurately based on the photographer's imprint. The "Hegg" in Johnson & Hegg may have been Eric A. Hegg, later noted for his photographs of the Alaskan gold rush and Copper River Railway construction. Eric began his photographic career in Wisconsin, opening his first studio at Washburn in 1882 when he was just 15. Was Johnson his mentor prior to that? I wasn't able to find the answer to that question online.

As with yesterday's photo, it's possible that another Sedgwick descendant will recognize who this is. If so, please use the Comments feature to contact me. If you include your email address or another way for me to respond, I will keep the comment private. Your contact information will not be published.

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Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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