Finding William, Emma and Jessie Heft

I haven’t shown any of my cabinet card collection in a while so I’ll have go at it today.  With a quick glance at the lady, my first guess for a date was the late 1870s.  SAM_1108 I thought that date mainly because the lady did not have the frizzy bangs that I have in every card that I have narrowed down to the 1880s.

My next step was to look up the photographer.  This was the best bit I could find.  When on this site, scroll down to just past the photo of the grave marker to see this.

LAFORGEE, Chenoweth (Redden) born 1867; painter for EP Piper, resided with Ayres Jr. 279 W William 1877; worked for Stafford & LeForgee, resided same address 279 W William 1889; Photographer 340 N Main; resided at 542 N Eldorado 1899; Photographer 142 S Church; resided work address 142 S Church 1907 and 19167 died 1909

The way I read the above statement, Chenoweth Laforgee worked as a painter in 1877 and by 1889 was working at the Stafford and Laforgee studio.  None of the studio addresses match the one on the card so I can’t use the address to narrow down the date.  If he quit his job as a painter after 1877 and became a photographer, my original guess was possible.

My next step was to look at the card itself.  I had three big clues.  The red line border around the photo was one.  Those were common 1866-1880.  The small print at the bottom of the card was 1866-79.  So far my guess was holding.  Then I flipped the card over.SAM_1110

Ornate photographers stamps that fill out the back of the card was common from 1880 on.  I looked at the lady again and decided her dress could be late 1880s even if her hair was not the most popular style.

Then as I was writing this post I noticed something at the bottom of the back of the card.  It is written faintly in pencil so it is hard to see on the actual card but blown up with computer lighting you can plainly see Will Heft.  I Googled the name I got this site.

It says that a Jessie M Heft Emery was born in 1886 to William W Heft and his wife Emma J Heft.  And Jessie is buried in Decatur Ills.  There are links to her parents, William Heft and Emma Heft and they say they are buried side by side in Maroa Ills.  These two places are 13 miles apart!  The links also say that there was a son born to William and Emma in 1889.  There is no son in this photo.  Emma does not look to be expecting and Jessie looks to be 2 years old.  Ta da!  We have a date 1888.  We also have names and birthdays and dates for passing.  It makes them more alive to me!  I’ve tossed out some lines…let us see if we can reel in a new home with family for these folks!

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