LINCOLN FAMILYThis cabinet card features a family portrait of a mother and father with their two adult sons and their young daughter. The family is well dressed. The father has a terrific beard and mustache.  All three men in the image display the chains from their pocket watches. The photograph was produced by the Tandy studio in Lincoln, Illinois. An inscription on the reverse of the image identifies one of the subjects as “Mr Fred Kemmer, 612 College Avenue, Lincoln, Illinois”. Research has provided some information about the family pictured in this cabinet card photograph.The father in this image is Mr.Fred Kemmer (1846-?). He was born in Germany. The mother in the photograph is Hannah Kemmer and she was six years the junior of her husband Fred. The 1880 US census finds Fred and Hannah living in Mount Pulaski, Illinois with two sons and a daughter. The children were named Fred (age 6), Ella (age 3) and Charles (age 2). The 1900 census notes that Fred and Hannah were living in Lincoln with a daughter named Lucy (age 14) and that Fred Sr.was listed as working as a “landlord”. The children seen in this photograph are likely Fred, Charles and Lucy. Research also revealed information about Fred W. Kemmer Jr. (1873-1944). He was born in Lincoln and died in Mt. Pulaski at age 71. He was educated  through the fourth grade. He was married in 1899 to Carrie Backle (1877-1951), who was a Nebraska native. Fred was a farmer. The 1900 census revealed that he lived in Mt. Pulaski with his wife and 8 month old daughter, Beattrice. He still lived in Mt. Pulaski at the time of the 1940 census. The photographer of this image is Walter S. Tandy. A large collection of glass plate negatives taken between 1880 and the early 1900’s is curated by the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College in Lincoln. Tandy’s death, at age 83, is announced in the Bulletin of Photography (1918). Most people would guess that Lincoln, Illinois was named after Abraham Lincoln but few would surmise that the town received it’s name before Lincoln became President. The town was named Lincoln in 1853.  Abe Lincoln had practiced law in the town between 1847 and 1859.


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  1. What a remarkable time frame in which to live: from 1873 until 1944. Imagine the range of American events during that period of time.

    • Fred Kemmer and Hannah Gehlbach were my great-great-grandparents and this picture has graced the walls of my living room for 45 years. Hannah died not long after this picture was taken from heart disease. Shortly thereafter her widowed husband, Fred Kemmer, Sr., left for Los Angeles because he never got used to the Illinois prairie thunderstorms. He died at age 96.

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