Magical Mystery Tour


I found this 1890s cabinet photo in the WeepingWidow Etsy shop.  The image of the three young women is lovely however I bought it because of the location, Angola, Indiana, one of my hometowns.  I was hoping I would find lots of newspaper articles featuring the women’s social activities however that was not the case.  Still, I’ll share the little bit I did find.

Writing on the reverse identifies the three as “Miss Blanch Cartright (sic), Miss Osa McClarg, and Miss Nettie McClarg.”  I suspect the writing was done by one of the McClarg girls or someone close to them as their names are spelled correctly while Blanche Cartwright’s name is not.


Osa and Blanche were two years younger than Nettie, who was born in 1873. Based on their ages and research into the photographer I date this image to about 1893.

1889 Nov 27 CHARLES CARY PHOTO Steuben Republican IN
Nov. 27, 1889 – Steuben Republican, Angola, IN

The photographer, Charles Cary, operated a photo gallery in Angola from 1890 to about 1899 when he began offering machine shop work and bicycle repair and rental from the location.

1899 Sep 27 CARY PHOTO Angola Herald IN
Sep. 27, 1899 ~ Angola Herald, Angola, IN

None of the young women resided in Angola which makes me ever so curious about what brought them to Cary’s photography studio.  Osa and Nettie McClarg, whose given names were Mary Osa and Eva Garnet, grew up in Noble County, Indiana while Blanche was from Allen County.  The girls lived a mere 18 miles apart and approximately 40-45 miles southwest of Angola.

It’s possible they were attending the Normal College in Angola. In 1895 and 1896 Blanche was working as a teacher in Fort Wayne, a position which most likely would have required her to take some college courses, and Nettie noted on the 1940 census that she completed 1 year of college.

Whatever brought them together in Angola in the mid-1890s, they were all married and having children by 1899.  Osa and Nettie married farmers and lived out their long lives in the Noble County area, while Blanche wed a dentist and traveled quite a bit, living in North Dakota, Chicago, and Saskatchewan, Canada.  A family tree on ancestry notes that she performed missionary and welfare work while in Canada. Blanche died at the age of 58 and her resting place is unknown.

Census records
Find A Grave
Indiana death certificates
Indiana marriage records
Saskatchewan Canada burial index

4 thoughts on “Magical Mystery Tour

  1. My grandmother attended a normal school in St. Louis, Missouri, for two years (around 1910) after she graduated from high school. This gave her the educational background required to teach in the public schools. She taught for several years and then she met her future husband (my grandfather, a widower) when she was the teacher of his daughter. After they got married she quit teaching and they had two daughters-my aunt and my mother. I would bet the ladies in your photo were attending the normal college in Angola.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s