Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nashville Photo of Unknown Clergy by Rodney Poole, 1870-1896

I can't tell you who the man is or if he was family or friend but it's obvious he was a clergyman and meant something to the Moran family. The photograph was taken by Rodney Poole between 1870 and 1896 when the Poole Art Co. was in business.

I can tell you a lot about the photographer, Rodney Poole. He was a well-known Nashville photographer owning his own studio from 1870 - 1896. He was born June 12 1837, a son of Horace Poole and Sophia Mahy, in Ohio. He was the oldest of eight children.  

1850 Census
Springfield, Clark County Ohio
Horace Pool (sic) is 42 and a grocer.  His birthplace is listed as New York.  Sophia is 37 and a native of France.   All of the children are listed as natives of Ohio.  Rodney age 12, Forrest age 11, Oscar age 9, Marilla age 4, Samma (actually I think this is Emma) age 1.  A William Pool is in the household, age 84 a native of Connecticut and most likely Horace Poole's father.

1860 Census
Springfield, Clark County, Ohio
The Poole family shows up in 1860, minus Rodney.  Horace is a merchant, native of Vermont. Sophia is 42, a native of the "Island Guernsey."  Forest, age 22, is also a merchant, born in Ohio. Oscar, age 20 is a clerk.  Marilla is 14, Louisa Emma is 9, Charles is 7, Ella F. is 5 and James is 3.

1870 Census
Springfield, Clark County, Ohio
Horace is now 63 years old and a farmer.   His wife, Sophia is 52 and Prussia is listed as her native
homeland this time around.  There oldest son Rodney is 32 and "book pedler".  Marilla is 24, Emma is 18.  Son Charles is 16 and it looks like he may have been apprenticed out.  Allen is 15 and James is 13.  Both are listed at school.  Mary May is 83 and is Sophia's mother. She is listed as being from Prussia.

1870 Census
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee
Another 1870 Census, this time for Nashville TN, has Rodney, age 33 and "Millie", age 22, (I believe this is his sister Marilla) living in the home of Nashville Photographer J. H. Van Stavoren. Rodney is a photographer, maybe working at Van Stavoren's studio, the studio he ended up purchasing.  

1880 Census
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee
In 1880, Rodney is 40 years old and still a photographer.  He's living with his brother James, age 23. James is a carriage merchant.

1900 Census
Civil District 15, Davidson County Tennessee
Rodney Poole is 62 years old and out of the photography business.   He heads the household and lives with siblings: Louisa Emma Poole, age 48, single, dressmaker, Charles Poole age 46 and single an electrician, Ella F. Poole age 45 and single and a dressmaker like her sister Louisa 

1910 Census
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee
This time around Emma, age 45, is listed as head of household although she has no income, Rodney , age 70, does have an income an occupation is not listed.  Charles is 46 now and an electrician while Ella, age 40, is now an artist.

The 1915 Nashville City Directory shows that Rodney Poole is working at the Masonic Library as a librarian.  The 1920 City Directory lists no occupation and his address is 908 Berryhill.

Rodney Poole died at the Nashville City Hospital on January 29, 1921.  The death certificate is transcribed incorrectly as Rodway Poole and lists his parents as Harris Poole and Sophie Mahy which makes it a bit difficult to find him in a search.  The informant was his sister, Emma Poole and they were still living at 908 Berryhill Street.  Cause of death was chronic interstitial nephritis.  He was interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.

Known Interments at Mount Olivet:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Painting by J.C. Capella, ca late 19th/early 20th Century

Artist Self Portrait
From WikiGallery
Most  artwork in the Moran home were simple pieces but there were a few large oil paintings. 

One painting we have is signed J.C. Capella and is a beautiful pastoral seen with thatch roof homes and cows at the stream. The painting hung in Moran Place for at least a hundred years and most likely in the same spot, the upstairs sitting area above the sofa. 

We don't know when or where the painting was acquired but we speculate that it may have been on a trip to New York, Cincinnati or St. Louis.  It's also possible that Uncle Brud purchased the painting when he took a cruise to see the new Panama Canal.  During that trip he made stops in Cuba and other ports of call.

Pastoral Scene by J.C. Capella.  With frame approximately 31" H x 45" W.

Artists signature: J.C. Capella
The picture has darkened quite a bit but with flash and some photoshop manipulation we get a better sense of its beauty. I've included a closeup of the artists signature.

John the Baptist and Herod
J.C. Capella
It has been suggested that J.C. Capella wasGiulia (Julia) Cheli Capella, born about 1874 in Florence Italy.   Like many artists, Giulia painted Biblical scenes such as this one of John the Baptist and Herod. 

Not much is known about J.C. Capella except that she was living at 28 via Venti Settembre in Florence Italy in 1915 and that she died in 1919.