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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, January 23, 2012
Which Mother is It?
Posted by Maureen

Susannah_Wideman.jpg

This lovely image depicts either someone's mother or stepmother. The question is, which one? It's a north-of-the-border mystery.

Chris Rye inherited this photo from his grandfather, who in turn inherited it from his mother. The back of this tintype reads "Enos Mother." Enos Storm is Rye's great-great-great grandfather. 

Enos' mother was Susannah (born in 1836), who died in childbirth in 1866 when Enos was born. The family lived in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

Susannah also had three daughters, born in 1859, 1861 and 1862. This woman is posed with a toddler on her lap. Notice the size of the toddler, as compared to the mother's diminutive size. She has large hands but a tiny body in contrast to her very hearty child.

Enos' father remarried a woman named Mary (born about 1847) and she had a daughter in 1879.

The clothing clues in this picture point to the 1860s.  The mother wears an everyday dress with cap sleeves and a small collar, and wears her hair pulled back. In the late 1870s, women's clothing featured more trim than this, and even everyday dresses had fitted bodices.

The little girl's dress also dates from the 1860s. 

This is an entrancing portrait. Susannah looks directly into the camera with a slight smile on her face, while her child sits still for the image. It's a family history treasure!

This is one of the three daughters, but which one? She could be any one of them depending on a specific year.  The toddler is likely around 3 years of age, meaning the photo was taken in approximately, 1862, 1864 or 1865.  Any photos of the girls taken later on would be useful for comparison.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1860s photos | children | Tintypes | women
    Monday, January 23, 2012 4:30:55 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [5]
    Friday, January 27, 2012 12:25:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Maureen, I have noticed that in many photos dating to this time period, that women's hand are huge when in front of their bodies, such as on their laps. I suspect it has to do with the camera and depth of field, but I have never looked into my theory. Do khow if this is the case?
    Phyllis
    Friday, January 27, 2012 8:16:27 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    No matter which of the three girls it is, the woman is undoubtedly Enos' mother, Susannah, based on the dating of the clothing to the 1860s. Enos' sisters would have all been over four when he was born, and his step-sister was born when Enos was 13. - Janet
    Janet Isenberg
    Monday, January 30, 2012 2:17:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Phyllis--Camera lens caused some distortion, but the child's hands are not enlarged. I'll take a closer look at my photos to find more examples.
    Thank you for commenting
    Wednesday, March 07, 2012 2:16:24 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    , <strong>Air Jordan 5</strong> not adopted. <strong>Air Jordan 7</strong> </P> <br> <P> it is not as fine white marble, carved <strong>Air Jordan Shoes</strong> lettering <strong>Air Jordan 9</strong> <strong>Air Jordan 8</strong> can dig under, but also <strong>Air Jordan 3</strong> not <strong>Air Jordan 10</strong> <strong>Air Jordan 4</strong> as smooth a...
    Wednesday, March 07, 2012 2:38:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
    Comments are closed.