Friday, April 18, 2014

Fannie's Pink, Green and Black Silk Parasol

One traveling trunk that belonged to Fannie Moran held many treasures, mostly clothing.  There were nightgowns, children's clothing, booties, feathers, fans, hats and such.  

One item was carefully wrapped with green paper and tied with a pink ribbon. 

 Carefully opening the package it revealed a very fragile silk parasol with bamboo handle.

I wanted to open the parasol but wasn't sure I wanted to risk damaging the fragile fabric.  I decided to open it up and take a couple of photographs.

You can see the holes near the top center and a few smaller holes here and there, possibly moths?  I didn't open  it all the way for fear of tearing the fabric. 

After photographing the parasol back in 2011, it was wrapped back up and has not been opened again.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Walter B. Delbridge, "Deaf and Dumb Photographer" 1880's

Once again we have a photograph of an unidentified individual.  The picture itself is not in the best of shape and is extremely faded.  Even using photo manipulation software I was only able to bring the image out just a bit.  It had obviously been cut and inserted into an oval frame at sometime but that was long ago.  

What I can tell you is that the photographer was Walter B. Delbridge, born about 1846 in Virginia.  He was a son of James D. Delbridge and his wife Martha J.  I believe that Martha was actually Martha J. Collier as I found a North Carolina marriage bond dated Feb 28 1839 between James D. Delbridge and Martha J. Collier.  Also, in the 1870 Census for Oxford Mississippi there is a B.W. Collier and family living nextdoor to the Delbridge clan.  You will also notice that James and Martha have two sons that are labeled as "Deaf and Dumb"

You can see that W. B. Delbridge was listed as an artist in 1870.  In the 1880 Census he has moved to Milan Tennessee and is a photographer.

On May 6 1880 the following advertisement appeared in the Milan Exchange:

We are pleased to receive a visit from Mr. W. B. Delbridge, a deaf and dumb photographic artist, who intends opening a gallery in Milan at an early day.  He exhibited some of his work to us, and from the specimens we are sure he will give entire satisfaction to those who wish a good picture.

On  July 9 1881 the Milan Exchange reported that Delbridge was leaving Milan and now was a good opportunity to get photographs taken.  

Since the back of the photograph says he was a traveling photographer he may have just been going to visit other towns or it's entirely possible he made the move to Dresden since the following notice appeared in the Dresden Democrat on October 21 1881:

"W.B. Delbridge, our popular photographer, has gone to Memphis"

So maybe his photography studio had moved to Dresden.  What the paper fails to report is that Delbridge went to Memphis to marry Miss Maggie Wright!

The next notice I find is a death notice for his wife Maggie.  Less than a year after their marriage, Maggie died in McKenzie TN.  It appeared in the Memphis Public Ledger August 9 1882:

Mrs. Maggie Delbridge, formerly Miss Wright of this city, and married in october last, died of malarial fever at McKenzie, Tenn, last Monday. 
It is unknown where she is buried.

I don't know what happened to Walter Delbridge however he does appear in findagrave and is interred at Oxford Memorial Cemetery with his parents and a few siblings.  If he had a full headstone it is no longer there with only a foot marker to note his initials W.B.D. and his life.

Friday, March 14, 2014

E.C.Barksdales Obsession, 1909

I believe this letter was written by Ella C. Hurt, wife of Nathaniel P. Barksdale.  The letter is addressed to "Cousin John", that would be J.W. Moran but I don't know yet how the Barksdale family connects to the Morans.  In the letter Ella seems obsessed about a misplaced grip (luggage).  She mentions Nona and Gene.  Nona is her daughter, Nona Cecile Barksdale, who married Eugene (Gene) Creed Freeman.  She is listed in Chattanooga City Directories as Ella C Barksdale, widow of Nathaniel, from 1903-1911.  She died September 23 1911 in Chattanooga.

Huntingdon Tenn
Nov 22 1909

Dear Cousin John,
I received your letter yesterday and so very much appreciate your kindness in having my grip sent.  Gene had the operator here to telegraph for it Thursday, but they claimed here not to have an answer from Dresden and Friday morning, said it was not here, so as it was not mine I felt a little anxious about it.  I certainly did not attribute the failure of its being put on the train to any fault of yours, but censured the conductor or porter for not attending to his business as he should have.  Had it not been for your kindness, I suspect some of us would have been left standing there, and I fully realized your efforts to help the lady and babies off of the train, then help us on and the train leaving so quickly that you did not have time to get the grip on, but was afraid some one had picked it up by mistake and you not seeing it, would think that it was put on.  I am sure now that my delay in getting it is due to the fault of Agent here or the transfer man in not attending to his business as he should.  If it had been mine, I would have had it checked, but thought twould be less abused to take it with me.
Nona joins me in truest love to you and Harold.  I do hope you will both come to see us before very long.

Affectionately your cousin,
E.C. Barksdale