SPARTAN FAMILY DRINKS TOO MUCH RED BULL IN ILLINOIS

J. Granger’s studio, located in Sparta, Illinois,  produced this cabinet card portrait of the Brown family. The wide-eyed Brown’s give the appearance of a family that are  overdosing on “Red Bull” or some other mega dosed caffeine drink. The Brown’s first names are written on the reverse of the photograph but only half of the names are legible. The United States Census provided assistance in learning more about the Brown clan. The 1900 census reveals that Sylvester W.  Brown (1857-?) was a 42 year-old man living in the town of Central, Illinois. He was a farmer and married to Lydia Brown, three years before the census (1897). The census reports that Sylvester Brown lived with his wife Lydia (age 37), his daughter Hazel (age 12) and son Olin (age 4). It is not likely that Lydia is the mother of  Hazel and Olin. That would only be possible if she was not married to Sylvester at the time of the children’s births and only married him later. A more likely scenario is that the mother of these children had died and Sylvester was a single father when he married Lydia. This theory is supported by the fact that   Sylvester and the children’s names written on the reverse of the image are very legible  but the older woman’s name is illegible and the name is clearly not “Lydia”. My best guess is that the woman standing next to Sylvester is either his first wife or an elder daughter. More research is required to clarify the family structure and history. The 1920 census indicates that little Olin became a soldier and pilot. The census states that he was sergeant/radio operator stationed in Pasadena, California. The 1930 census reveals that Olin became an “Air Pilot” in the US Army. Olin was then living in Belleville, Illinois with his wife, Fern. Olin was mentioned in an article appearing in Aerial Age Weekly (1922). The story is about the Army testing the Airship T-C-1 and Olin’s role as a “Motor Specialist”. The T-C-1 was a hydrogen inflated blimp. In 1923 the T-C-1 caught fire and was destroyed. No biographical information could be located about photographer J. Granger. This cabinet card is in good condition (see scans). Note the 3 small numbers, printed in ink, on the border of the mount.

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Published in: on February 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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VERY PRETTY FASHIONISTA IN SPARTA, WISCONSIN

richardsonThis cabinet card features a very pretty woman wearing a feathered hat. The feathers are likely ostrich feathers. She is wearing a beautiful dress and has flowers pinned to it in two places. She is wearing something that looks like a scarf wrapped around her neck and running down the dress’s front. Her hat is also beautiful. This woman would be considered a fashionista if she lived during the present era. She exudes stylishness. The woman has curly hair and an inquisitive expression. The Richardson Brothers photography firm produced this cabinet card and is mentioned in the Wisconsin Business Directory (1919).The brothers first names are cited as “Fred” and “Frank”. The “Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin ……….” (1895) provides a different first name than Frank. It states that H. N. Richardson was born in 1854 in Sparta, Wisconsin. His father was a wagon maker turned farmer. H. N. was the youngest of five children.At age 21 he left the family farm and went to work in a Sparta marble works. At 23 years of age he moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and was employed for three years n a Marble Works there before returning to Sparta. He joined his brother Frank in a photography business named “Richardson Brothers”. The brothers operated the gallery together for four years. Then H. N. moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin and established his own studio. He eventually developed branches in Plainfield, Scandinavia, and Hancock (all in Wisconsin). H. N. Richardson married Miss Jennie A. Linneman of Minnesota and they had four children. The “St. Louis and Canadian Photographer (1900) reported that Richardson Brothers Studio in Sparta was destroyed by fire. Research also revealed that at one time Fred Richardson was partners with Fred Foster in a studio in Sparta named “Richardson and Foster”.   SOLD