I happened upon these three tintypes, listed individually, in the Glassing Etsy shop. As soon as I noticed that the handwriting on all three was the same I had to purchase them. Without a location, I knew that the only hope of them being identified was to keep them together. So, what was the sitters’ connection?
Julia Rust, Joe Tompkins, and Helen Waite grew up in Dutchess County, New York. Julia was born in 1842 and was seven years older than Joe and Helen. When the 1870 census was taken, the young women were working as school teachers and Joe was working on his parent’s farm next door to Julia. I couldn’t find a family link so I suspect these three were friends or at least they were acquaintances of whoever owned these photographs.
Joe continued farming, married, and had one son, Arthur. I believe there was some marital discord or possibly a divorce, as when his wife, Katherine (nee Barnes), died in 1890 her will did not mention her husband and she left all of her property to her father who she also entrusted with the care of ten-year-old Arthur. However, in 1892, Arthur was not living with his grandfather but was residing with his father and step-mother, Lettie (nee Berry). I sure wish I knew Katherine’s story.
Julia continued in the teaching profession until retirement. When she was about thirty years old she moved from New York to Chicago, Illinois where she lived for a time with her sister, Frances, and then boarded in various homes.
Helen married when she was twenty-three and had one son, Willard. Her husband, Jonathan Gidley was a farmer. Sadly, Willard died just a little more than a year after Helen, when he was only thirty-five.
Julia died at 87 and was laid to rest in Mount Auburn Memorial Park in Illinois.
Joseph lived to 67 and is buried in the LaGrange Rural Cemetery.
Helen’s final resting place is in a Dutchess County Cemetery.
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