Spouse

A Sister’s Sacrifice

The title of this post comes from an article in the Christmas Eve 1889 edition of the Bay City (MI) Times. I’ll be writing about Emma Baker, the sister of Jacob Baker (my husband’s great-great grandfather). Emma was born to George and Elisabeth (Kline) Becker on January 13, 1869 in Ohio. She was the 7th of 9 children. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, the family was living in Richfield Township in Lucas County, Ohio. Emma’s older brother Conrad (1860-1933) married Mary Hager in Bay City, Michigan in October 1884 and remained in that area. Jacob joined Conrad in Bay City sometime between 1884 and 1889.

Emma Baker
photographed by G. F. Sterling of West Bay City, MI between October and December 1889

Jacob became ill with “typhoid-malarial fever” and Emma came up from Ohio around the beginning of October 1889 to care for him – I assume since he was single and didn’t have anyone else to tend to him. According to the Bay City Times article, “For nine weeks [Emma] attended carefully to his wants, remaining at his bedside day and night, and sacrificing her health and rest for his good.” Around December 13, 1889, Emma too got sick. While she was ill, their brother Conrad also came down with the sickness and was moved to a different house (I assume since he had a pregnant wife and young son at home). Emma died on December 23, 1889 at about 10:30 AM.

Bay City Times, 12-24-1889, page 5

Emma was buried in plot 1264 in Bay City’s Pine Ridge Cemetery on December 24, 1889 at 2 PM. Jacob and Conrad recovered from their illnesses. Jacob was back in Ohio by 1900 where he married Bertha Knisel. He and his wife named their first child Emma Maud Baker, a touching tribute to his sister who nursed him, or as the article said, “…[laid] down her own life that her brother may live.”

Spouse

Dating Photographs through their Photographers

Recently, my mother-in-law gave me a 19th-century album full of family portraits. She knew the portraits were of relatives from her father’s side of the family, but none of them were identified. Luckily, I recognized one of the photos from Ancestry.com. It was of my husband’s 3rd great-grandmother Elisabeth (Kline) Becker/Baker and her sisters Catherine (Kline) Hartman and Dorothea (Kline) Eberhart.

Original portrait from the album
Image from Ancestry.com user with their caption

Most of the portraits were from photographers in Owosso and Bay City, Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and Danville, Illinois. In examining the Kline family, who came to the U.S. in around 1854, Elisabeth and Dorothea’s families lived in Danville, Illinois in 1860, and while Dorothea stayed in Illinois, Elisabeth’s families re-located back to northwest Ohio, where Catherine’s family had stayed. Meanwhile, other Kline siblings Frederick, Wilhelmina, Conrad, and John Nicholas moved to Bennington, Shiawassee County, Michigan.

While I had a general idea of the possible identities of the portraits, I thought finding out when the photographers were in business would help me date the images and (maybe) further narrow down the identities.

Michigan Photographers

The Clements Library at University of Michigan hosts the online edition of the Directory of Early Michigan Photographers by David V. Tinder. This resource was incredible helpful – arranged by city (including different address changes) and also by photographer. Here are the photographers contained in my mother-in-law’s collection:

PhotographerCityYears
Beebe & HorsemanOwossoca1893
Moore Bros.Owosso1884-1891
W. E. MarshallBig Rapids1886-1913
G. F. SterlingWest Bay City1886-1895
Harman & VernerBay City (914 N. Water St.)1884-1889
Miller / Miller’sBay City (710 Washington Ave.)1884-1887
DragoBay City1886-1897
C. B. ColburnBay City1869-1891

Illinois Photographers

I wasn’t able to find a source for Illinois photographers as good as Michigan’s, but I did find a website that mentioned “Early Danville Photographers.”

PhotographerCityYears
Phillips & BergstresserDanville1886-1888
W. BoyceDanville1884-1888

Ohio Photographers

In Google Books, I was able to search the 1998 version of Ohio Photographers, 1839-1900 by Diane VanSkiver Gagel.

PhotographerCityYears
BallToledo (205 Summit St.)1890
ChesebroToledo (61 Summit St.)1883-1888
ChesebroToledo (417 Summit St.)1890-1893
Arthur & PhilbricToledo (159 Summit St.)1888
Geo. FieldsToledo (57 Summit St.)1878-1886
Geo. FieldsToledo (113 Summit St.)1889
A. C. SwainToledo (205 Summit St.)c1891-1900

Indiana

I do have one photograph by Hutchinson of 110 Jackson St., Elkhart, Indiana but I haven’t been able to find any information on this one.