Students of Union School

b mulkie

Click on the image to view larger

I love a group photo, and my favorite antique photo format is the carte de visite, also known as the cdv.  I picked this one up in the VictorianPhoto etsy shop.  I enjoy studying the sitters’ faces, and body language, some seem so relaxed in front of the camera, while others appear unsure and stiff.  There are those who, even without a smile, exude happiness, and, of course, others who read as quite sorrowful.  And, it seems there is always one, whose displeasure for  the experience “shouts” at you (yea, you, center back row, I hear you.)

b mulkie back

All of the sitters are named, which makes the image all the more interesting.  Those with only a surname may be impossible to identify, so I started at the bottom, and will work my way up.  For now, I was able to locate Henry and Ella.

mulkie only

Henry Mulkie was born in New York, in 1851.  At the age of 15, Henry was living with his widowed mother, Catherine, and his siblings, in Poland, New York, and working as a clerk.

In June, 1869, Henry died of spotted fever.  This may bring to mind rocky mountain spotted fever.  However, at this time in history, spotted fever was a term referring to typhus, or meningitis.  In Henry’s case, I believe it was meningitis, as he died in Corry, Erie County, Pennsylvania, which was experiencing a fatal outbreak of the disease.

1870 Feb 25 SPOTTED FEVER OUTBREAK Jamestown Journal Jamestown NY Pg5
Jamestown Journal (NY) – Feb. 25, 1870

Although, I was quite sad to learn of Henry’s passing at such a young age, I was glad to see that he was included in the Union School’s Memorial Day.

b UNION SCHOOL DEATHS Jamestown Journal NY
Jamestown Journal (NY) – June 27, 1873

PARKS Ella cropped

Unfortunately, Ella’s face is almost completely washed out.  But, you can see what appears to be a pompom trim along either the bottom of her bodice, or top of her skirt.  How interesting!

Ella Augusta Parks was born in 1851.  She lived in Jamestown, New York with her parents, Simeon and Anna Maria (Carter) Parks, and her siblings.  Ella never married.  She, and her older brother, Charles, lived at 516 East Second St. in Jamestown, until their deaths.  Charles passed in 1930, and Ella in 1944.  She was 92 years old.

Census records
New York death records
Jamestown Journal, Jamestown, New York
Find A Grave – Ella Parks
Find A Grave – Henry Mulkie


2 thoughts on “Students of Union School

  1. I love school portraits, and this one is particularly nice. Since Henry was born in 1851, it must have been taken near the end of the Civil War, or just after. Do you know if schools were exempt from the stamp tax? I’ve never run across a school photo with a revenue stamp.


    1. This is the only school photo, from this time period, that I’ve seen. I didn’t even think about the tax stamp. But, it seems probable that schools might have been exempt. I thought this photo was taken about 1868.

      Liked by 1 person

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