Sunday, April 20, 2014

W.L. Ayers, Dry Goods Merchant


We have a few pictures from the Ayres/Chambers families.  At this time the only connection I know of is that William L. Ayres, the owner of the above float, moved to Gardner Tennessee and went into business with F.M. Gardner.  The Gardner's are cousins of the Morans.   The picture was taken in Gatesville Texas post-1882 which is when Ayres and Gardner, like so many others, made their way to the Lone Star State.  If you look at the top of the building behind the float you'll see that it says "Gardner & Ayres" even though the float shouts "W.L. Ayres & Co."

William L. Ayres was a son of Matthias Leake Ayres and Martha Rebecca Hanes of Virginia.  He was born in 1851.  I would speculate that his middle name was Leake since that was his fathers and his sons middle name as well.  He moved to Gardner, Tennessee in 1867 and went into partnership with F.M. Gardner.  Ayres married Martha Holman Chambers (daughter of John W. and Mariah Chambers of VA) on Sept 26 1872 in Obion County Tennessee.

They are living at Gardner Store, TN in the 1880 Census.  William is listed as a dry good merchant, age 29.  His wife Mattie C. is keeping house.  They had three children: Matthias Leake age 7, Corona/Corinne W age 5 and John C age 3.

William L. Ayres died in 1910.  His wife Martha passed on in 1917.   Their son Mathias was a banker, sounds familiar, and married Myrtie/Myrtis/Myrtle Buckley in 1896.  Mathias died in 1949 and was interred at Gatesville City Cemetery. Corinne Ayres married Howard S. Compton.  She died in 1945. Their son John Chambers Ayres was a physician. He married a woman named Renna and they had a son, John C Ayres Jr.  John and his family lived in Memphis.  He died in 1952 and was interred at Memorial Park in Memphis.

As to the burial of William and his wife Martha....there seems to be some confusion about the Masonic Cemetery and the Gatesville City Cemetery which has resulted in two memorials for them on Findagrave.  Each memorial has the exact same picture taken by different photographers.
Mattie C. Ayres Gatesville City Cemetery
Mattie Ayres Masonic Cemetery
William L. Ayres Gatesville City Cemetery
William L. Ayres Masonic Cemetery

Like her parents, Corinne Ayres Compton has two memorials:
Corinne Ayres Compton Gatesville City Cemetery
Corinne Ayers Compton Masonic Cemetery.

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.