Tuesday’s Tip: Local Historical Societies and the Beerbower Family

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Samuel T. Beerbower Bible-  Unknown couple from the front of the Bible. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)
Samuel T. Beerbower Bible- Unknown couple from the front of the Bible. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)

Beerbower Family

Tuesday’s Tip: Contact the local historical society where your ancestors lived. They may have a treasure trove of family information!

We were very lucky because the Marion County Historical Society (MCHS) found and contacted us through the blog. Our Beerbower family lived in Marion County, Ohio for a number of generations, and a Beerbower family bible was donated to the Society, along with photographs that were found inside. The MCHS is planning an exhibit and they would like to learn more about the Beerbower family.

Samuel T. Beerbower Bible-  Unknown couple from the front of the Bible- reverse. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)
Samuel T. Beerbower Bible- Unknown couple from the front of the Bible- reverse. Posted courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society. (Click to enlarge.)

Alas, like so many photos, there are no names nor dates on the majority of the images (though we are lucky with this one). We are putting these images up on the blog in hope that someone will recognize some of these folks, and let us know. The MCHS has kindly shared all the images of Beerbowers and Bible pages to help us piece together more of our family history.

This Bible is known as the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible. Samuel was the brother of our direct ancestor, Edgar Peter Beerbower, who married Anna Missouri Springsteen. He was thus an uncle to Anna May Beerbower, who married Gerard William Helbling. (If you are a grandchild of May and GW, Samuel would be your great-great uncle.) See the Beerbower Family Tree on the blog for more information.

So who are the people in this image?

Known Data:

Clue #1– The image was found in the front of the Bible.

Clue #2– The Bible the picture was found in is called the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible.

Clue #3– The reverse of the image notes the photographer as “Wm. H. Moore, Third Story, Bennett’s Block, Marion, Ohio.”

Clue #4– “1878” is handwritten on the reverse of the photo.

Clue #5– The image shows a man and a woman.

Analysis:

Clue #1– The image was probably of two people very important and/or closely related, to the family, since it was in the front of the Bible. That would often be parents.

Clue #2– Although the bible is called the Samuel T. Beerbower Bible, the notations inside suggest it may have been the Bible of Nathan Peters, Samuel’s father-in-law, and passed down to Irene L. Peters, Samuel’s wife. There are mostly Peters family member listed, and just a few Beerbowers. Instead, it may have been Irene’s Bible into which she copied the names from her father’s Bible.

Clue #3– Research on this photographer indicates he was a daguerreotypist 1857-60 and had studios in Cinncinnati 1857-97 and Marion 1859-97. There was also a “Moore’s Photographic Gallery” on Bennet’s Block in Marion, but no date noted. The History of Marion County, Ohio, 1883, notes that his Bennet Block studio was established in 1855, and at the time of the writing of the county history, published in 1883, he had moved to Main Street. If a photographer had a large stock of backings, this one may have been still used after moving to the new location, but for now, we will use 1855-1883 as the time range for the Bennet location.

Checking for W. H. Moore in Marion city directories will help to narrow the time frame a bit.

Clue #4– It is unknown who added the date to the photo. The date does fit with the known dates of the photographer’s location. The photo appears to be a ‘cabinet card’ which was introduced in the early 1870s, so the date of 1878 still is very plausible. Analyzing the style of clothing and hairstyles may help to narrow the date range of the image.

Clue #5– The man and woman in the image are posed as married persons are often posed. They appear to be in their 30s-50s.

Nathan Peters- Portrait from "History of Marion Co OH," 1883, p226. Drawn from a picture of him, per his bio in the above.
Nathan Peters- Portrait and signature from “History of Marion Co OH,” 1883, p226. Drawn from a picture of him, per his bio in the above. (Click to enlarge.)

My hypothesis (which remains to be proven) is that the first image is Nathan Peters with his wife, probably his second wife, Mary Ballantine Peters. They married on 02 Jan 1842, and Irene L. Peters, their daughter, was the Bible owner at one point.

Mary B. Peters died on 18 Dec 1850, however, so could not have been in a photo taken by WH Moore, since his business started in 1855. I am wondering if this could be a copy of an earlier photo, possibly a daguerrotype; this appears to be the case with another photo in the collection. Nathan would have been 79 in 1878, so that would be older than the man in this picture, thus reinforcing the idea this is a copy of an older image.

We have no evidence that Nathan remarried after the death of his second wife. Censuses show some of his children living with him on the farm in his later years, plus a servant for the household and a farm laborer, but no wife is listed. (We have been unable to find him in the 1850 census, although his 1850 Agriculture Schedule is available.)

Note the cheekbones and jawline of the man in the couple picture, and his ears- they look somewhat similar to the drawn portrait of Nathan that was in the county history, which might vary somewhat as it was an artist’s conception of a photo. The hairline and brow seem similar, too.

The Bible has mostly Peters information, and very little on the Beerbowers, so that is another clue that suggests this first image in the Bible might be Nathan Peters and wife.

What do you think?

 

It is so wonderful that Historical Societies and scholars are finally working with family historians- that is the only way to tell the whole story of history.

And please, if you know anything about the couple in this image, contact us!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Image courtesy of the Marion County Historical Society.

2) Ohio Photographers: 1839-1900 by Diane VanSkiver Gage, Carl Mautz Publishing, Jan 1, 1998. https://books.google.com/books?id=LChcvLOmf-UC&pg=PA81&lpg=PA81&dq=Wm.+H.+Moore+photographer+marion+oh&source=bl&ots=_MClGo0rAD&sig=XL9n5rCyt7z-j3m1tpdO68C8XVk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nJb-VOX0IoiUNtPXgfAI&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Wm.%20H.%20Moore%20photographer%20marion%20oh&f=false

3) “History of Marion County, Ohio,” Leggett, Conaway, 1883, p226. https://archive.org/details/historyofmarionc00legg

4) Family Tree of Anna May Beerbower:  http://heritageramblings.net/family-trees/the-helbling-beerbower-springsteen-family/

 

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