Saturday, 14 March 2009

Dwight Minns Ware of Springfield & Boston, Massachusetts

Today's portrait is what is commonly referred to as an orphan and, to me at least, this means that it has become separated from any family ownership. There are several popular online photo archives which seek to reunite such orphan photographs with descendants or family members, of which perhaps the most well known is the catchily named DeadFred run by Joe Bott. I don't intend to duplicate the admirable efforts of such monumental enterprises, but I would occasionally like to record some of the "orphans" that come my way with a brief account on what I've been able to discover. If that does result in some family member eventually stumbling across this story through the wonders of Google, enabling me to reunite the photograph with the family, then so much the better.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne & courtesy of Irene Savory

This cabinet card showing a mother and young child was sent to me recently by a friend in Massachusetts, who came across it in a deceased estate sale, although she knew that the deceased had no connection with the subject of the photograph. The card mount identifies the photographer as Chauncey L. Moore of Republican Block, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

Fortunately. the reverse has a clearly inscribed name, age and date, which makes researching the subjects a great deal easier.
Dwight Minns Ware.
14 months old.
This is clearly the child in the photograph, and it seems fairly safe to assume that the woman is his mother. Although the exact date which the portrait was taken is not given, just the year, this is enough to provide an approximate date of birth for Dwight M. Ware as late 1884 or 1885. Without boring you with all of the intricate details of how I did it, I managed to find him very easily in the 1900 Census, then aged 14, and then, by going back and forwards in the census records, to outline his immediate family in some detail.

Image © National Archives and Records Administration & courtesy of
US Federal Census, 297 Walnut Avenue, Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts
4 June 1900
Image © National Archives and Records Administration & courtesy of Ancestry

In fact, this is one of those occasional cases that one comes across where an individual rather improbably appears twice in the same census! He is shown both living at home with his parents at 297 Walnut Avenue, Boston (Massachusetts) (above), and as a student attending Morristown School in Morris, New Jersey (below).

Image © National Archives and Records Administration & courtesy of
US Federal Census, Morristown School, Morris, New Jersey
9 June 1900
Image © National Archives and Records Administration & courtesy of Ancestry

I suspected that the census for the two locations may not have been done on exactly the same date, which might explain why both enumerators managed to catch him, so I checked the dates noted at the top of the enumerators' schedules. Ward 21 in Boston (MA) was enumerated on 4 June 1900, while that for Morris (NJ) one was done on 9 June 1900, so I suppose it is quite possible that he left for school some time in the five intervening days.

Dwight Minns Ware was born in September 1885, the third child (and first son) of Leonard and Laura Ware of Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. His father Leonard Ware (b. 1840) was one of ten children of an oil dealer Leonard Ware senior (1805-1888) and his wife Sarah Anne Minns (1816-1884), prominent citizens of Roxbury in Norfolk County.

Image © Richard E. Stevens and courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst Stained Glass Treasures
John La Farge's Triptych stained-glass window, All Souls Unitarian Church, Roxbury, Massachusetts
Image © Richard E. Stevens and courtesy of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst

The lives of Leonard and Sarah Anne Minns were commemmorated in the right-hand panel of a stained glass window in All Souls Unitarian Church of Roxbury, Massachusetts by the celebrated John La Farge, one time mentor of Louis Comfort Tiffany, commissioned by their children in 1889, shortly after their deaths. According to Kyle Cave the windows were were later removed from the Roxbury church, and in 1925 installed in the building that now houses the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, where they remain today.

Leonard Ware junior married at the age of forty, on 7 January 1880, to a girl fifteen years younger than him, Laura Dwight Foote in her home town of Springfield, Hampden County. They settled in Boston, where Leonard worked as a fish oil merchant. In the 1900 Census, however, he described himself as an estate trustee and he had retired by 1910.

Image © and courtesy of the New York Times Article Archive
Obituary of Delia Dwight Foote, New York Times, 28 May 1897
Image © and courtesy of the New York Times Article Archive

Laura Dwight Ware, the presumed second subject of this portrait, was born on 7 September 1855, one of at least six children of Homer Foote (1810-1898) and Delia Dwight (1814-). Her father was a hardware merchant in Springfield and her mother a daughter of the "merchant prince" of Springfield, James Scott Dwight. Her mother's obituary, from the New York Times of 28 May 1897, gives some indication of the family's status in the Springfield community of the late 19th Century.
Delia Dwight Foot, wife of Homer Foot, a prominent public man of Springfield, Mass., died yesterday afternoon in Springfield in the eighty-fourth year of her age. She was the daughter of the late James Scott Dwight, one of the oldest residents of Springfield, and known as the "merchant prince," from the extensive mercantile business he conducted. In 1834 her marriage to Homer Foot, son of Adonijah Foot, Armorer of the National Armory of Springfield, took place. After her marriage she continued her residence in her native town, taking a leading part in the social life of the community. Homer Foot, her husband, was a wealthy hardware dealer, and at the time of Lincoln's first campaign in National politics was nominated for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts against his will. he did not withdraw his name, however, and polled a vote of some 53,000, which was a strong showing, although not enough to elect.

Mrs. Foot was herself the last of a family of twelve children, and the mother of ten children, all of whom attended the golden wedding of their parents twelve years ago. One since died at the age of fifty years, and there remain six sons, three daughters, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren of her decendants. Of the sons, for live in New York. They are Emerson Foot, Cleavland Foot, Sandford D. Foot, and James Dwight Foot. Funeral services and interment will be at Springfield.
The golden wedding anniversary celebration referred to above would have taken place in May 1884, some sixteen months before the birth of Mrs. Foot's grandson Dwight Minns Ware. Dwight's parents would probably have attended the event with his two older sisters Anna and Laura, then aged three and one respectively.

Image courtesy of The Internet Archive
Chauncey L. Moore's studio at 441 Main Street, Springfield MA, c.1884
Engraving from King's Handbook of Springfield Massachusetts

It seems likely that Laura and Dwight Ware visited the studio of Chauncey L. Moore at 441 Main Street, Springfield on another such visit to the home of his maternal grandparents. If Dwight was 14 months old at the time, and we know that he was born in September 1885, then the visit probably took place in November or December 1886. The photographer was well established, as shown by this extract from King's Handbook of Springfield Massachusetts [Courtesy of the Internet Archive]:
Chauncey L. Moore has been a photographer in Springfield for twenty-eight years, and is now the longest-established photographer in Hampden County. His gallery at No. 441 Main Street, opposite Court Square, has been occupied by him for twenty consecutive years, and is familiar to all who ever have occasion to come to this city. Since he began here, Mr. Moore has photographed almost all the men, women, and children who have been noteworthily identified with this locality. Almost every Knight Templar, Mason, Odd Fellow, clergyman, public officer, and business man has sat for his picture in this gallery; and to-day there are here nearly thirty thousand negatives carefully put away, all registered and classified. Here, too, may be found the negatives of hundreds of buildings and views made during the score of years just passed.
Image courtesy of The Internet Archive
The "Springfield Republican" Block, Springfield MA, c.1884
Engraving from King's Handbook of Springfield Massachusetts

The mount of the cabinet card shows Moore's studio at the "Republican Block" in Springfield. As shown in the engraving above, also from the Handbook, this was a four-story building housing The Springfield Republican newspaper, and perhaps it was additionally the location for a branch studio for Moore by 1886.

Although his family had lived in Massachusetts for generations, Dwight Ware moved away in his early twenties. The 1910 Census found him lodging in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was working as an electrical supplier's salesman. By 1920 he was living in Seattle, Washington, and that appears to be where he settled, marrying in the early 1920s and having two sons, William (1923-2002) and Leonard (b. 1928). The 1930 Census shows the family living at Sunrise Terrace, Lake Forest Park, north of Seattle.

Dwight M. Ware had a younger brother born in 1900, also named Leonard, who studied at Harvard University and became a newspaper journalist. He was a veteran of both World Wars, serving as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve intelligence in the 1940s. After the Second World War, he worked for the Boston Herald and was employed as a public affairs officer with the U.S. government.

That's about the limit to what I've been able to dig up about the immediate family - parents, grandparents, siblings, wife and children - of Dwight Minns Ware. If any reader can come up with further relevant material to add to the story, or clues to searching out any surviving descendants of his, please feel free to contact me, and I'll add it to the article in the form of a PS. Of course, if any descendant should happen to read this, I'd be happy to pass on the original photograph.


1870-1930 US Federal Census, National Archives and Records Administration, Indexed images from
World War One Draft Registration Cards, Indexed images from
International Genealogical Index (IGI), online at FamilySearch from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Online database from
The New York Times Article Archive from The New York Times
United States Social Security Death Index, online at FamilySearch from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Stained Glass Treasures: The stories behind the opalescent art of La Farge and Tiffany (PDF), on the web site of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
King's Handbook of Springfield Massachusetts, A Series of Monographs Historical and Descriptive, ed. Moses King, publ. 1884 by James D. Gill, available online at


  1. Thank you for this post Brett. I sent you an email as well explaining why! Thanks

  2. Thank you for this post about one of my distant Ware cousins. I have also sent you some emails telling how Dwight and I are related.

  3. Hello and thank you for this post. I was researching Leonard Ware as my book club ended up with an old book that he once owned ( to use for recording the list of books we read). He had placed an address sticker inside of the book and out of curiosity, I thought I could see if I could find out anything about him. I believe he is the younger brother you speak of here. This is a link to where his nephew posted some information...maybe he would like the picture?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Teresa. Actually, I have already passed on the photograph to a direct descendant. I have a follow-up post planned for the story of how it returned home, but haven't got around to it yet. Anyway, I appreciate the heads up about the web page. Regards, Brett


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