Miss Mary H. Gaither

This cabinet card photograph of Mary H. Gaither (b. abt. 1856, Anne Arundel Co., Md.) was taken by Baltimore photographer Barnett McFee Clinedinst, Sr. The photo was found in an album owned by Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers, and may depict Mrs. Summers’ sister Mary.

Their parents were carpenter Vachel H. Gaither (b. 1824, Anne Arundel Co., Md.), descendant of a line of Gaithers going back to before the American Revolution, and Margaret E. Robinson (b. abt. 1830, Anne Arundel Co., Md.).

Dating this photograph is difficult. Mary Gaither looks to be no more than in her mid-20s, at most. Clinedinst opened a studio in Balitmore in 1880 and operated at various locations until the mid-1890s, when he moved to Washington, DC. However, none of the studio locations documented in newspaper ads or in city directories was 48 and 50 N. Charles Street. James Cummins operated at 48 N. Charles for a number of years. Cummins occupied both  48 and 50 N. Charles in 1884, about the right time for this photo.

The unraveling of this riddle will have to wait for additional evidence.

All photographs from the Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers album were acquired on ebay from jbatro (johnscollectibles@att.net).

Margaret “Rita” Robinson Gaither?

This cabinet card photograph is another  image from an album owned by Baltimorean Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers that was recently broken up and  sold piecemeal.

The photo was identified as Rita Gaither.

Rita was a common diminuitve for Margaret and Marguerite. Based on my research into the Gaither and Summers families (available to registered users on ancestry.com) I believe this is Elizabeth’s mother, Margaret E. Robinson Gaither, born about 1830 in Anne Arundel County to William Robinson and Mary Ann Eleanor Turton Robinson.

It may be a case of two sisters marrying two brothers. Margaret married Anne Arundel County carpenter Vachel H. Gaither, and Margaret’s sister Anna Maria Robinson married Vachel’s brother, farmer Evan Gaither. While Evan and Ann remained in Anne Arundel County, Vachel migrated to Baltimore, probably to take advantage of the post-bellum building boom there.

The Gaither name goes back to the early days of Anne Arundel County. Evan and Vachel were sons of John Marriott Gaither (1790-1850) and Henreitta Lusby Gaither (1800-1873). Evan and Vachel’s grandfather, Vachel Gaither (1750-1804) served as a captain in the Severn Battalion of the Maryland Militia during the American Revolution.

David J. Wilkes kept a photography studio at 125 W.  Baltimore Street in Baltimore from about 1873 to 1885 (Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900).

Since Margaret Gaither does not appear in the family after the 1870 census, my guess is that she died between 1870 and 1880, a chronology  congruent with the dates of Wilkes’ studio location.

All photographs from the Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers album were acquired on ebay from jbatro (johnscollectibles@att.net).

Keeping the Family Together: Elizabeth Gaither Summers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Old photograph albums are continually being sold, their contents removed and re-sold piecemeal. An album owned by Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers (b. abt. 1866), wife of Baltimore carpenter Charles D. Summers (b. abt. 1870), recently met the same fate.

When a number of identified cabinet card photographs came up for auction on the web recently, I felt a strong desire to keep as many of them together as possible. I began to build a Summers-Gaither family tree (available to registered members on ancestry.com), and to add portraits there.

With the tree and clues from the i.d.’d photos, I’m attempting to reconstruct something of the family’s history.

Elizabeth was the daughter of carpenter Vachel H. Gaither (b. 1824, Anne Arundel Co., Md.) and Margaret Robinson Gaither (b. abt. 1830, Md.).

The Gaithers go back to the very beginning of Anne Arundel County; Vachel’s grandfather and namesake was a Captain in the Severn Battalion of the Maryland Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Intriguingly, it’s the building trade that links the Summers and the Gaithers in Baltimore. Young Vachel brought his family to Baltimore after the Civil War, probably to take advantage of building work as the city boomed.

The Summers family probably came to Baltimore for much the same reasons. Charles’ father, Samuel A. Summers (b. abt. 1832) had been a furniture-maker in Trappe, in south Talbot County.

Son Charles D. Summers took up the house carpentry trade and came to Baltimore with his mother, Anna Louise Ross Summers (b. abt. 1850), daughter of Trappe shoemaker Charles H. Ross and Ellen M. Bullen; probably Samuel’s second wife), and siblings sometime between 1880 and 1900.

The studio of photographer James S. Cummins has been documented at 106 N. Charles Street in Baltimore 1888-1890 and 1893-1899 (Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900). Under this assumption, the oldest that Elizabeth Gaither Summers could be in this cabinet card photograph would be about 39 years of age.

All photographs from the Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers album were acquired on ebay from jbatro (johnscollectibles@att.net).

B. W. T. Phreaner: Chewsville Chums

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I fell for this carte de visite the moment I saw it. Photographer B. W. T. Phreaner, who operated a studio in Hagerstown from 1866 to 1901, posed  these three young Chewsville friends out on the town one day in the late 1860s.

The owner of the carte carefully identified each youth on the back, with corresponding inked numbers, and wrote their home town, Chewsville, below their names.This nameless person’s care enabled me to trace something of their lives.

It seems probable that John F. Rinehart (center) and Jacob T. Wolf (left) knew each other from childhood. They likely crossed paths with William C. Mullen at father Hiram Mullen’s store in Chewsville, a village in Washington County, Maryland about five miles east of Hagerstown.

John F. Rinehart was born in Washington County, Maryland in April 1847, the son of farmer Henry B. Rinehart (1818-1901) and Ellen Maria Beard Rinehart (1826-1892). John married Martha Lyday, daughter of Leitersburg tavern-owner Samuel Lyday, in 1844.

John and Martha  farmed near Leitersburg, and later near Chewsville, in Washington County. Their son Henry S. Rinehart was born in February 1870.  A second son, George Frank Rinehart, was born about 1874, and a daughter Carrington N. Rinehart three years later. Son Hubert Carleton Rinehart followed in 1884.

Born November 1848, Jacob Thomas Wolf was the son of Funkstown farmer Joseph M. Wolf and Catherine Thomas Wolf and grandson of  prominent Dunker (Brethren) Church member Joseph Wolf (b. 1783). In 1860, the Wolfs were neighbors of the Rineharts in the Funkstown area. By 1870, the Wolfs had relocated to the Chewsville area, where their affairs prospered. Joseph Wolf reported owning land worth $10,000, and household goods worth $1,000. In 1900, Jacob and his wife Rosa were farming on their own in the Cavetown area, on Hagerstown Pike, and had two boys, Joseph L. Wolf and Harry L. Wolf.

The two families, Wolf and Rinehart, became related by marriage when John Rinehart’s nephew Charles H. Rinehart married Jacob Wolf’s daughter Leona Wolf in 1898.

William C. Mullen, born about 1849 in Maryland, was the son of Virginia-born merchant Hiram H. Mullen. By 1870, they had moved from Catoctin, Frederick County, to Chewsville, where William and his older brother Harvey clerked in their father’s store. Hiram Mullen was appointed Chewsville’s postmaster in 1870.

Bascom W. T. Phreaner (1845-1932), son of Hagerstown tailor, William Phreaner and Louisanna Bowman Phreaner, learned photography from Hagerstown photographer Elias Marken Recher (1829-1887). According to Breed’s Directory of the Western Maryland Railroad for 1892, Phreaner’s studio was located at 4 Washington Street, on the public square at Potomac Street, and the building may still be in existence. Phreaner is believed to be buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown.