Today’s article features two photographs from the collection of my paternal grandparents, William Musgrove Jr. and Eva Buckmaster Musgrove, now in my collection. There is no writing on the back of these photographs to suggest names for the featured people. The name of the photography studio, W. H. Allen, yields no clues from a computer search.
However, the location of Bancroft, Mo. does give us some clues. Bancroft is in Daviess County, Missouri, where my 2nd great grandparents James T. Pennington and his wife Elnorah Melvina Francis were born in 1857 and 1859, respectively. Their young family was in Daviess County for the 1880 census, but had moved to nearby Harrison County, Missouri by the 1900 census. The 1890 U.S. census was destroyed in a fire, a constant point of grief for genealogists.
While the Pennington and Francis families did scatter into other areas of Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and California, some were still in Daviess County in 1900. Daviess County is north and a little east of Kansas City, Missouri on the way to Des Moines, Iowa. Harrison County is on the border of Missouri and Iowa with Daviess County just south of Harrison County.
This style of photograph is called a cabinet card.
“One style of photograph that can often be found in many old family photo collections is the cabinet card. First introduced in 1863 by Windsor & Bridge in London, the cabinet card is a photographic print mounted on card stock. The Cabinet card got its name from its suitability for display in parlors — especially in cabinets — and was a popular medium for family portraits.”[i]
The cream colored cards measure 4 1/4” by 6 ¼” with rounded corners and a thin gold border imprinted around the edge of the photograph. The name of the photography studio, W. H. Allen, and Bancroft, Mo. are written in script with same gold ink. The back of the cards has three chubby cupids flying around a heart pierced by two arrows. Ms. Powell, on her website, indicates cabinet cards with rounded corners and a thin gold border were popular from 1889-1896. Though, if a photographer had those cards in inventory, they could be used later.
As I look at the photograph of the two young girls, I see my own pug nose on the girl on the right, the one with the high-necked dress. I wonder if this could be my great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Pennington Musgrove. In 1896, she would have been 17 years old and her younger sister, Alice Cynthia, would have 15. We have other pictures of these women when they are older, but it’s hard to tell. Those of you that have those pictures, or knew the women, what do you think – could these be Mary Elizabeth and Alice Cynthia Pennington?
The picture of the two young couples is more difficult, though it does seem like the young women on the left in both pictures share at least a family resemblance, with the woman in the couples picture looking a little older. What do you think?
If you have any clues to the identity of these people, please let me know.
[i] Powell, Kimberly, Cabinet Cards, (http://genealogy.about.com/od/photo_dating/p/cabinet_card.htm :accessed 20 Feb 2014).
Written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge at No Story Too Small.
Copyright © 2014 Andrea Musgrove Perisho