Two adorable siblings pose for their portrait at the Goldsberry and Gillet studio in Ottumwa, Iowa. The oldest sibling has incredibly engaging eyes. The reverse of this photograph has an inscription that reveals the identities of the two girls in this photograph. The subjects are Lillian Westling (age 4 1/2) and Lena Westling (age 2 1/2). The children’s parents were Swedish born. Lillian was born in 1888, just a year after her parents married. Their father was John Albert Westling and their mother went by a few different names including Minnie Hurd (Wilhelmina) and Miriam C. Westling. By the time of the 1900 US census Lillian had three younger siblings, including Lena. In 1900, the Westlings had moved to Fairbury, Nebraska and John was working as a laundry man. One of the photographers of this image, Benjamin E. Goldsberry (1853-1922) was born in Ottumwa. The 1880 US census finds him living in Bedford, Iowa, married to Anna E. (Lida) and working as a “Degarian Artist”. While working in Bedford he took a portrait of “Sitting Bull”. In 1895 he and his family moved back to Ottumwa where he worked as a photographer. The 1910 US census reports that he was living in Omaha, Nebraska and pursuing his career as a photographer. Goldsberry’s partner for this photograph was Bert Gillett (1857-?). He is listed in both the 1900 and 1920 census as a photographer. In the 1900 census he is listed as married to Virginia E. Gillett but by 1920 the couple had divorced. Gillett is also listed as a photographer in Ottumwa directories including 1902 and 1905.



OTTOMWA FAMILYA young couple poses with their baby at the studio of White and Hugus in Ottumwa, Iowa. The couple are well dressed and the family is nicely posed for their portrait. The husband is sitting on an interesting and ornate seat (prop). The woman has her hand affectionately placed on her husband’s shoulder and the husband keeps a careful hold on the couple’s extremely alert baby. No information about the photographers was found in  preliminary research. The town of Ottumwa is in southeast Iowa. It was a coal mining town. The state mine inspector reported that there were  15 mine shafts in the town in 1889. From 1890 through 1892 an exhibition center was built in the town. It was called the Coal Palace. Perhaps the gentleman in this photograph was associated with the mining industry.

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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