Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Orphan Payne photos from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

The following three photographs are cartes de visite of Payne family members from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States that were "rescued" by Shelley Cardiel. If anyone thinks that they could be a member of this family, they are welcome to get in touch with me, or contact Shelley directly (Email). She is keen to see them being "returned to the care of the family."

Image courtesy of Shelley Cardiel

The first is a portrait of Martha "Mattie" Payne which was taken at the Van Pelt & Webber Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The photograph appears to me to have been taken in the early to mid-1860s, with Martha likely in her late teens or early twenties at the time it was taken. In addition to her name, someone has written "died age 23, single" and "Great Grandmother Payne's youngest daughter" on the back of the card mount.

Image courtesy of Shelley Cardiel

The second is a half-length seated portrait identified in pencil on the front as "Great Grandmother Payne". The card mount shows it to have been taken at the Dabbs Studio, also in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, probably sometime in the mid- to late 1870s. The woman in the photograph appears to be in her sixties or seventies.

Image courtesy of Shelley Cardiel

The last carte de visite in the series is a head-and-shoulders portrait identified in similar pencilled handwriting on the front as "Great Grandfather Payne," and was also taken at the Dabbs Studio in Pittsburgh. It is likely to have been taken in the mid- to late 1870s with the man in the photograph also probably in his 60s or 70s.

Although one branch of my Payne family - from Derbyshire in the English Midlands - did emigrate to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in the late 1830s, I don't believe Mattie and her parents are related in any close manner. To be honest, I'm not sure I would want to take on these rather severe looking "great-grandparents."

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