On Saturday I went to a craft sale. I had minimal interest in the sale itself…what I really wanted was to get inside the building it was being held in. The building was an old CP Rail building (1904) that had be converted into a space for the local aboriginal community to use. Not being of aboriginal decent, I had no earthly reason to go in it.
My primary interest in it was that it was the forth station to stand on that site and it was at that site, my Great Grandfather would have arrived in Winnipeg before walking a couple of blocks to get to a hotel. He spent the night in the hotel and then walked across the street to the old city hall to find work. I did a blog post about that a few years ago.
While at the craft sale, I took photos with the intention of sharing here. There was such a crush that it was doubtful these photos would have looked good. Well, low and behold, I found a Facebook page that did a much better job…so enjoy!
The next page of my photo album has head shots of a woman and a man. There is a similarity in style that might lead one to believe these are companion photographs of a husband and wife. As we will see in a moment, they likely are not as they were not taken in the same city.
I was not successful locating any information on the Farmer Bros. other than a few examples of their work. James F Barke was a photographer in the 1880’s and 90’s. I was unable to find any information about 294 Queen Street other than it had various business’ (some of them photography studios) but no firm dates.
His latest fellow had his photograph taken in Sault St. Marie Michigan.
Okay, lets look at the patterns.
Perhaps these are brothers.
Winnipeg – album was bought in Winnipeg.
(These two ladies are not the same lady and they do not look enough alike to make me think that they are sisters.)
Does location imply family groups? If the man, woman and children from Toronto, are a nuclear family why are they grouped in the book so randomly. Were they put in by the original owner randomly? In order of receiving them? Are they even in the original place the first owner of the book put them in? Have random family members and collectors pulled them out and rearranged them? Are they even related to each other or known to each other as friends?
There are patterns but there are more questions than answers.
The last page of my new photo album that I wrote about was a man and a woman.
The man’s photo was taken in Toronto (as was the children’s photo on the previous page) and the woman’s photo was taken in Winnipeg.
Let’s focus on the couple first.
Once out of the album, we see that the couple were from Winnipeg like the lady from the page before and also where the album was purchased.
With a convoluted search that I wont trouble you with the links for, I discovered the photographer was J.F. Mitchell and he was working in Winnipeg from 1889-1907. The lady’s hair style was popular in the 1880’s but the dress looks more belle epoch than bustle so I will estimate the photo to be 1889-1895.
Next is the young lady. Snappy winter ensemble she has!
There is only a river between Canada and Sault Ste Marie Michigan and Sault Ste Marie Ontario Canada. They were one city until the war of 1812. Those naughty Americans tried to make Canada another State. A treaty after the war divided the city in half. Was this girl a Canadian going to school in the States? Was she on holiday? Was she an American cousin?
I can find no information on the photographer and I can only guess at the date of the photograph as well. But based on the stamp in the front I’d estimate the photograph at 1882-1900.
A- Age: 51
B- Biggest Fear: tie between snakes and heights
C- Current Time: 7:05 am
D- Drink you last had: Coffee
E- Easiest Person to Talk to: My best friend
F- Favorite Song: I have several and they change all the time but the one I call “my soul to music” is Pachebel Canon in D
G- Ghosts, are they real: They are something. One theory is they are souls who have not left this Earthly plain and another is demons. I find both ideas scary.
H- Hometown: Winnipeg, MB, Canada! But I was born in Edmonton and lived a bit in Thunder Bay
I- In love with: My family. I love them all in different ways
J- Jealous of: people who don’t need to work (retired, independently wealthy) and can spend their days doing as they please.
K- Killed Someone?: Nope but I would to save my children
L- Last time you cried?: There was a death in the family this past week (due to ALS). I’ve had a few good cries daily.
M- Middle Name: Marie…same one as my mother. I heard somewhere that many French folks give girls Marie after the Virgin Mary and Joseph after her husband.
N- Number of Siblings: Two, both younger than me ( 1 brother and 1 sister)
O- One Wish: World Peace? No really, all I really want is my wandering son to come home from Europe and stay. He has been wandering the world for the last 2.5 years and I’m tired of it.
P- Person who you last called: I don’t remember! I text more than I call!
Q- Question you’re always asked: Is all that hair yours? (And yes it is.)
R- Reason to smile: God has it all in hand.
S- Song last sang: God be with you till we meet again.
T- Time you woke up: 5:45 am
U- Underwear Colour: burgundy
V- Vacation Destination: Carlyle Saskatchewan in December and Mexico in January
W- Worst Habit: eating when I am stressed out.
X- X-Rays you’ve had: I’ve had tons. Head to toe.
Y- Your favorite food: KFC or McDonald’s (why can’t I lose weight?)
Z- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
We started with the babies.
My initial hope is these are the parents of the two babies. It is still possible. If it is, the photos were likely taken prior to the wedding. You will see why I say this in just a moment. Let us start with the gentleman.
J Fraser Bryce was at this location 1885-1903. The card could be dated to the earlier end of this time span because of the color of the card.
“In the mid 1880s dark-colored cards were introduced and used until the early 1890’s. The most popular was a dark maroon and black.” (info found here)
The small plain print was more common in the early 80’s (but not unheard of later) so I’d estimate the card to be from 1885-1890. This would be prior to the date I estimated for the children (1891-1900). If this is the dad, the photo would have been taken prior to their birth.
The next page is the female.If this is the mom, I would guess this would be prior to the wedding on several counts. The first being, couple or wedding photographs typically have the couple in the same photograph or separately but in the same style to be a complimentary pair.
John Ross seems to have worked in Winnipeg from 1882-88. The lady’s card is dark with the photographer’s stamp in the front. The main difference is the font is fancier which came into vogue in the 1882-1900. So again, based on the color of the card and the location of the print, as well as the time the photographer was working, I estimate this card to be from 1885-88.
This date suits her fabulous bustle fashions to a tee. And this is a very similar time to the man and early enough to be the mother of the children.
Are these the parents of the children? How did they meet? What are their names? Did they live in Toronto, where the man’s and the children’s photograph was taken? Did they live in Winnipeg where “mom” is from and where I found the album?