Monday, November 26, 2012

Mystery Monday - 1886 Girl from Jefferson County, IL - Who is She?

When I saw this cabinet card come up for sale on eBay, I knew I had to have it. This beautiful young woman with the winsome look on her face had her photo taken by Mr. & Mrs. Jas. Hitchcock of Mt. Vernon, Ills, my hometown.  I am fascinated with the photography of Major James Hitchcock who lived and worked in Jefferson County, Il from about 1870 until his death in 1916. I have collected a few of his photographs, but this is by far my favorite to date.

When I received this photo in the mail I was excited to see that there was handwriting on the back and thought that the subject was identified.  Upon closer examination, sadly it appears that the words say, "got home from Bonnie (or Rome) this AM Aug 30th 1886." Such a disappointment, but at least it helps to date the photograph.

Major James Hitchcock was a well-known Mt. Vernon citizen, coming to the city in 1870 from Indiana after the Civil War.  He was born in Gibson County, Indiana in December 1843 to John William and Margaret (Brasher) Hitchcock.  In 1862 he enlisted in the 71st Indiana Infantry, Company E, and transferred to the 6th Indiana Cavalry in February 1863. In 1864 in a disastrous attempt to release prisoners held at the notorious Andersonville, GA prisoner of war camp, he and 2,000 others were captured by Confederate troops and was himself held as a P.O.W. for nine months. He was taken from Andersonville to "somewhere in Florida" along with other prisoners where they were able to make their escape along the way.

In May of 1868 in Richland County, IL he married Annie E. Gardner and by 1870 they were living in Jefferson County, IL with a one year old daughter Barbara (Ruby).  A son Ray was born in 1873 and a daughter Ethel in 1879.  For many years he and his wife operated an extremely successful photography studio at 219 South Tenth Street in Mt. Vernon, IL (Jefferson County).  He was well respected for his craft and his photos documented most of the history of Jefferson County and the surrounding areas between 1870 - 1910.  His wife died in 1912 and Hitchcock was reported to be grief-stricken.   He died four years later on 2 Jan 1916 and he and his family are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon.

Thomas A. Puckett, Mt. Vernon, A Pictorial History, 1991
The Headlight, 1898


  1. Teresa,

    You're right - that really is a great photo of a beautiful girl.


    1. Thanks, Beverly, very frustrating to me not to know who she is though.

  2. How interesting to buy old photos and try to identify them. I found two items in the papers of my gg grandfather written by people he knew in the period from 1830-1855. I have reached out through to try and find descendants of those people so they can see the document their ancestors actually wrote and I posted on my blog. We all have something that somebody else needs when it comes to genealogy. I have benefitted from the work of many others, and hope to do the same.

    I'm new to blogging (since September) and am writing my second article for Daily Genealogy Prompts (Tuesday's Tip) which should be out soon (tomorrow or next week(. Sorry for so long a comment.


    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment Grant. I also love family genealogy and have two blogs my family history and my husbands but have not spent much time on those blogs lately. I seem to be more drawn to this one with all these orphaned photos I have collected. I'm sure I will eventually get back to my own research though.

      I hope you are enjoying blogging, I will take a visit over to your site and let you know what I think. I also hope you have luck on Ancestry reaching descendants, you just never know, it does happen!


  3. She appears to be on the verge of saying something profound.

  4. She was a beautiful woman indeed. Today I would not advice a photo store to advertise with the slogan 'Hitchcock's Gallery'.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...