If you’re confused about why you’re looking at a photo of a young man when the title of this post is Lucretia A. Richmond, let me explain.
Upon purchasing this tintype I found a piece of paper affixed to the reverse. It reads “L.A. Richmond Belleville Kansas.” Also written in the upper corner is 165 with either a dollar or numeral symbol. Puzzling! I found no Richmond men with the intials L.A. living in or around Belleville. And that leads me to suspect L.A. Richmond was not our sitter, but might have been the photographer, Lucretia Ann Richmond.
Lucretia, who never married, was born in 1863 in Ohio. Her childhood is a mystery. Her family doesn’t appear on census records until 1900 when it’s just Lucretia and her widowed mother living in Belleville, Kansas. Lucretia’s occupation was recorded as an artist, a term many photographers used.
The only traces of Lucretia’s father, Edward R. Richmond, are from Preble County, Ohio. He wed Lucretia’s mother, Miss Mary Clayton, in 1862. At the age of 25, in June 1863, Edward registered for the Civil War Draft. At the time he was a cabinet maker.
And this leads me to another possibility for this tintype. Could it be a photograph of Lucretia’s father? Perhaps a copy Lucretia had made of an earlier tintype or ambrotype. Maybe the slip of paper affixed to the back denoted who the photo was to be picked up by or delivered to. The notation of #165 might have been an order or invoice number.
There sure are a lot of “what ifs,” but no matter what the answer to this mystery may be, I’m left thinking about Lucretia. She continued her career as an artist until her death at the age of 77 years. According to her great, great nephew, Richard Easley, Lucretia was known for her paintings. How I wish I’d been able to find examples of her art work and/or photography.
Lucretia, who lived with her mother all her life, died in 1940 just 20 days after her mother passed and the two are buried in Glendale, California.
Find a Grave