Row of Stewart Family, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.
The Stewart Family
What do you do when your ancestors write on the back of a photo and you suspect the date is wrong? The man and the woman in this photo are my 2nd great grandparents and their son, Charles Edward Stewart, my great grandfather who founded Westerly Laundry. (The Victor Project) I am writing about in my other blog.
A long time ago, I asked Maureen Taylor to help me date them because I found the photo of Charles separated from his parents. It is Charlie's handwriting on the back of his parents photos and he dated them 10 years earlier than they should be. I was so surprised at how quickly Maureen dated them that I really did not write down what she said and last month I had to ask her again. This time, she told me even more about them. It is very cool. Thanks, Maureen because I could never do what she does. It is very hard.
These photos date to the early 1870s. Dudley's clothes are a bit old fashioned and he wears his tie as he has tied it all his life. He probably did not get dressed up often (except for church and selectman meetings) as he ran the General Store in North Stonington, CT. In 1870 he is 47 and the census states his real estate value as $4,500 and his personal estate value as $6, 500. In today's money he was a millionaire.
Eliza, his wife is much more fashionably dressed. Eliza's father was a Denison descendant and her mother was a Fish descendant and so they were prominent families in Stonington and Groton. Eliza's brother was the proprietor of a large store in downtown Mystic. I am sure she had the money and the connections to get up to the minute clothes. I own her furniture, her writing desk and some jewelry.
It is possible that this marriage was arranged as Dudley must have known Eliza's brother, I.W. Denison as they were in the same business circle. Dudley was 33 and Eliza was 23 at the time of their marriage in 1856. Dudley did not serve in the Civil War.
But, best of all, this couple owned the family Bible where they wrote all the births, marriages and deaths of his family and hers. Dated 1859, it must have been a gift for their oldest child, my great grandfather's birth. It pays to be descended from the oldest son.
Dudley and Eliza are the reason that I am a genealogist. When my grandmother showed me that Bible and brought out of her desk, these photos, I was hooked. Eliza and Dudley are the pivotal couple in my maternal line for they were cousins. The relationship chart I created lists thirteen cousin relations! (from fourth to seventh cousins listing Denison, Wheeler, Stanton, Chesbrough, Gallup, Avery and Palmer families together). It's a miracle that I finally got it all connected correctly (I hope).
I talk about Eliza and Dudley as if I knew them. That's what good family records can do for you. I look at these photos every day.
Word count: 517
Word count: 517