Tag Archives: Louisville Kentucky

Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter

Last weekend my son, Linton, and I had a day together in Louisville.  He lives in Indianapolis, not the ends of the earth, but not an easy day trip.  When our weekend was planned I told Ritchey and Kate he was mine on Saturday, but I would share him with the rest of the family on Sunday!  We had a huge family dinner and Julian had quite a day with Uncle Linton.

Most of our day together was spent at bookstores, record shops, eating and talking.  Beforehand I searched for those rare and used bookstores and the first we visited was A Book By Its Cover on Dartmouth.  When we turned in it was a residential area.  We searched again and came up with the same place.  Linton called, and, yes, we were in front of the business!  The gentleman told us most of his business is online, but he welcomes those who want to come and peruse.  And he had one room of Kentucky history and county histories – I was in heaven!

One book I found was Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter (1787-1827) by E. A. Jonas.  The book is in excellent condition, being No. 264 of 500 copies of the first edition.  About forty of his portraits are reproduced in the book.  Being a Mercer County resident and having a little knowledgeable about the history of our county, I recognized the last name as the same as the wife of Thomas Allin, our first county clerk.  Thomas Allin married Mary Jouett on February 16, 1789, at the home of her brother, Captain John Jouett, Jr.  Their parents were John Jouett, Sr., and Mourning Harris.  Captain John Jouett, Jr., better known as ‘Jack’, was the father of Matthew Harris Jouett.  Matthew was born in 1787, two years before his aunt’s marriage.

After a local education, Matthew’s father sent him to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, to be educated as a lawyer.  He studied and became a lawyer, but his free time was spent painting.  In 1812 he married Miss Margaret Allen of Fayette County.

He could not continue his law profession, gave up his business and started painting portraits as his livelihood.  His father was not happy, and that is an understatement.  The War of 1812 changed everyone’s lives, and Matthew Jouett volunteered his services and served valiantly.  He enlisted in Captain Robert Crockett’s Company, Third Mounted Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Allen commanding.  July 13, 1814, he was appointed paymaster, with the rank of captain of the 28th United States Infantry by President Madison.  At the battle of the River Raisin the payrolls and papers, in his care as paymaster, fell into enemy hands and were never recovered.  He found himself in debt to the War Department for $6,000.  That doesn’t sound like a huge sum today, but it would be about a million dollars.  This was not due to negligence or lack of prudence, just a fortune of war.  He was determined to pay the money back – and he did so through painting portraits.  His father was furious and called him a ‘sign-painter’, never realizing how great his talent truly was.

Matthew Jouett went to Boston in 1817 and studied for a year with Gilbert Stuart – who painted the famous George Washington portrait.  Back in Kentucky Matthew painted assiduously.  Those who sat for him sound like a Who’s Who of history – Henry Clay, Judge John Rowan, Andrew Jackson, Hon. George M. Bibb, Mr. Justice Thomas Todd, Captain Robeson DeHart, Colonel Edmund Taylor, Sr., General LaFayette, Hon. John Brown, Hon. Robert S. Todd, George Rogers Clark and many, many others.  It is said that in the ten years of his career he produced over 400 portraits – and there could be more.  In 1964, at an auction in Lexington, a gentleman bought a portrait of a child for $22 – and afterwards found out it was a Matthew Jouett painting, worth $1600-$2000!

Matthew Jouett died after a short illness, August 10, 1827, in his fortieth year and at the top of his professional success.  It is said he accomplished as much in ten years as many others were able to do only in a lifetime.  His fame as a great painter truly began at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.  His paintings were given the best place in the gallery by the Hanging Committee because of their recognized merit.  In 1928 fifty to sixty of Matthew Jouett’s portraits were exhibited at the J B Speed Museum in Louisville.  Some of his work is in the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center, and I believe one hangs in a New York museum.

Matthew and his wife are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.  I think there’s another road trip to plan – to the cemetery, J B Speed Museum in Louisville, and the old state house in Frankfort where the life-size portrait of General LaFayette hangs!  I will keep you updated!

1886-1893 Louisville Cabinet Card Photograph

I have a photograph to share with you today that I hope you will see as beautiful.  Some may see this woman as old, worn out and wrinkled.  But I love photos of old people.  You can see lines on their faces and hands that show they have lived life – sometimes it is harsh, sometimes kinder, but I always try to guess what their life was like.

To date this photo, we need to find out more about the man who took it.  J. M. Gregory, of Louisville, Kentucky (another reason I favor this photo!), first appears in the Louisville city directories in 1870-1872, at a studio at 78 West Main Street.  In 1873 and 74, he appears at 114 Market Street.  After a pause of several years he is in the city directory for 1880-81 at 104 Fourth Street, then 1882-83 at 613 W. Market.  In 1886, he again shows up at 810 W. Market – which is the address on this photo – and remains there through 1893.  Afterwards there is no information about him in the Louisville city directories.  Therefore, this photo was taken between 1886-1893.

This woman has the white hair that comes with great age.  Isn’t it amazing that she has lived such a long life, particularly during this time period?  From the perils of childbirth to the many illnesses that today could be cured, even in the 1880’s to 90’s something that seems trivial today could be deadly.  She looks rather sad, but that was not unusual in the day.  Her hands are those of someone who has worked all their life – washing clothes, weeding the garden, cooking meals, sewing – all those usual chores that come with being a wife and mother.  Her clothes are not fancy, but look sturdy and useful.  No jewelry, not even a wedding ring.  At this point in her life she was someone’s wife, mother, grandmother, even possibly great-grandmother.  Perhaps she had this photo made at the wishes of her family – to have a remembrance to cherish.

Where Were Those Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes and Tintypes Taken?

After writing the blogs last week about the very old family photographs I have, I couldn’t help but think – where did they have these photos taken?  This lead to another search.  Located in Washington County, I believe they must have gone to Louisville.  It would have been the nearest large city, so that was where I focused my research.

Thomas Jefferson Dobyns was a daguerreotypist, ambrotypist and merchant, active in Memphis, Tennessee, as early as 1845.  He opened a studio in Louisville in 1847, and one in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1848; two years later Vicksburg and Nashville contained his studios, as well as New Orleans in 1851 and New York in 1853.

According to From Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide, by Peter E. Palquist and Thomas R. Kailbroun, Dobyns opened his ‘Daguerreian gallery in Memphis across from the Continental Hotel in late August 1845, in time to take advantage of the crowds of delegates in town to attend the Western and Southwestern Convention’ and as of June 1846, advertised that ‘he had a camera large enough to execute pictures of any size.’

As the above ad in The Louisville Daily Courier, Thursday, February 8, 1855, says, the studio is opened again and with reduced prices.  It lists itself as the oldest gallery in the city, located at the corner of Main and Third Streets.  Dobyns’ partner in Louisville was John Hewett.

This advertisement from an August 21, 1855, Louisville Daily Courier, lists several galleries.  W. A. McGill list prices beginning at 50 cents for a 1/9 size daguerreotype.  He also offers miniatures set in rings, lockets, pins, etc.  50 cent daguerreotypes are also offered by Carpenter and Swymmer.  And Theodore Harris offers photographs in 15 seconds!

I love this advertisement from August 28, 1855, since it gives more information on the types of photographs you can choose – upon a metal plate, glass or paper, from Webster’s Gallery.

Mammoth Gallery says, ‘A blue and white Double Quick Work Sky Light, just introduced by Roesberg, at his well-known Mammoth Daguerrean Gallery, which enables him to take Pictures in a few seconds, and for the reduced price of fifty cents and upwards.  It also is one of the best lights ever known to produce a correct likeness, either of children or adults.  The red hair and blue eyes which heretofore have always been so difficult to produce, are now no longer any trouble, to give them the real artistic disposition of light and shade.’  In addition, he adds, ‘All medium size pictures that are badly taken by other artists, will be retaken over at 50 cents, and if not bettered no charge is made for trying.’

At Brown’s Gallery, an athanotype is ‘a photograph on glass, a picture of exquisite beauty, holding place above daguerreotypes or the ordinary photograph.  The picture is held between plates of glass, and securely protected from all influence of atmosphere, dampness, and even acids, hence it bears every guarantee of durability.’

John M. Hewett, in collaboration with T. J. Dobyns, was located on Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets.  From The Encyclopedia of Louisville, by John E. Kleber, gives us an 1848 description of Hewitt’s studio, ‘as one of the most magnificent in the United States, with a reception room, 65 by 63 feet, furnished with the most costly furniture, including a ‘splendid pianoforte’ kept for the entertainment of visitors.  A separate ‘ladies’ toilet’ was similarly furnished.  Both of these areas were separate from the room where likenesses were taken, which had a ‘magnificent light and is equal to the other rooms spoken of.’  All were ornamented with likenesses ‘of the most eminent men and the most beautiful ladies in the United States.  The Filson Club owns a fine set of daguerreotype portraits by Hewitt, and his work is also found in Louisville family collections.  The studio does not appear in directories after 1856.  In 1852, 23 people engaged in making daguerreotypes that year – only eight studios are listed in the city directory for 1851-52, so they employed an average of two to three individuals.’

From the same book, we learn that during the 1850’s several studios were founded – Webster and Brother (Edward Z. and Israel B. Webster), Theodore Harris, Daniel Stuber and Edward Klauber.

It would be wonderful to know for sure which studio(s) my family visited for their daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes!

Old Photo From Louisville Kentucky

Today I share this photo of a very distinguished looking gentleman from Louisville, Kentucky.  Any photo from Kentucky I find I buy.  This gentleman’s hair blends with the background, but you can definitely see his kind eyes and his patrician nose.

I would date this photo to the late 1890’s due to the collar of this gentleman, as well as the embossed name and address at the bottom of the photo.

And the advertisement covering the back of the back of the card was also used during the 1890’s.  E. Klauber, Photographer and Art Dealer, 332 Fourth Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.

Edward Klauber was a photographer for many years in Louisville.  The first instance I could find was for his shop located on 403 Main in 1864.  In 1868 he moved to 58 W. Market, and remained there through 1870.  1871-1883 his shop was at Third Street at the NE Corner of Jefferson Street.  In 1884 he moved to 332 Fourth Street and remained there through at least 1907.

I read online that Edward Klauber was considered by many to be one of the best photographers of his time.  He came from Bohemia at the age of eighteen.  His ‘large and elegant studio was compared to the studio of Matthew Brady in New York City.  The studio was lavishly furnished.  Stage personalities like Mary Anderson enjoyed having portraits done by Klauber when they were in Louisville performing at the Macauley Theatre.  Klauber’s studio closed in 1913 and he died in 1918.’  (From The Cabinet Card Gallery)  Since his first photography studio opened in 1864, he was at his job for 50+ years!

How Can City Directories Help Genealogy Research?

William Franklin Linton standing in front of his grocery store about 1899.

 

City directories are a marvelous source of genealogy information.  Not only do they list who lives in a particular city, and their residential address, but it lists their place of work and that address as well!  I have used city directories in several instances, not only to prove where people lived, but to prove they weren’t living in a particular city.

The following examples are from Louisville, Kentucky.  This was research complied for my dear friend Richard Linton about ten years ago.

The Linton’s listed below are the grandsons of Moses Linton and Nancy Pead.  Moses was the son of Captain John Linton and Ann Mason, and came to Kentucky a few years before his father made the move from Loudoun County, Virginia, to Washington County, in 1818.  Moses moved to neighboring Nelson County, but later in life moved back to Washington County, although his children remained in Nelson and raised their families.  In the book I’m reading on Frankfort, Kentucky, they spoke about how the Depression of 1893 hit the state hard.  Perhaps these men who had worked as farmers for years, with their fathers, felt a new location and a different job would help them support their families.

The cast of characters:  William Yerby Linton, Moses Fillmore Linton and Benjamin Clark Linton – all sons of Moses Linton and Nancy Pead.  Those who moved to Louisville, Kentucky:

  • James Monreo Linton – son of William Yerby Linton
  • William Franklin Linton, John Kennedy Linton, Joseph F. Linton – sons of Moses Fillmore Linton.
  • James Fenton Linton – son of Benjamin Clark Linton

Now let’s see how jobs and home addresses change throughout this six year period.

1894 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. and James Fenton Linton), grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • James Fenton Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 226 7th
  • James Kennedy Linton, packer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 511 22nd
  • James Monroe Linton, engineer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 226 7th
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 2401 Slevin

1895 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. Linton) grocers, 1324 W. Broadway
  • John Kennedy Linton, packer Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2401 Slevin
  • Joseph Fenton Linton (J. F. and J. M. Linton), grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • Joseph Fenton and James Monroe Linton (J.F. & J. M. Linton) grocers, 2401 Slevin
  • James Monroe Linton (J. F. and J. M. Linton) business 2401 Slevin
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 1324 W. Broadway

1898 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • Linton Brothers (William F. Linton) grocers, 1324 W. Broadway
  • James Monroe Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove, residence 1816 Todd
  • John Kennedy Linton, porter, Robinson-Pettet Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, driver, Bridge-McDowell Company, residence 2828 Cleveland Avenue
  • William F. Linton (Linton Brothers) residence 1324 W. Broadway

1899 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • James M. Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2136 Duncan
  • John Kennedy Linton, porter, Robinson-Pettet Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, grocer, 1628 W. Madison
  • William F. Linton, grocer, 1324 W. Broadway

1900 City Directory – Louisville, Kentucky

  • James M. Linton, packer, Louisville Tin and Stove Company, residence 2136 Duncan
  • John Kennedy Linton, packer, Carter Dry Goods Company, residence 511 22nd
  • Joseph Fenton Linton, clerk, W. F. Linton, residence 1851 Lytle
  • William F. Linton, grocer, residence 1322 W. Broadway

Bergman Photography – Louisville, Kentucky – 1868-1894

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Isn’t this a handsome young gentleman?  Very clean cut, hair parted on the side, with the extra swiped back at the top.  He is a very smart dresser.  The high button on his coat give us a hint that this photo was probably taken in the 1870’s.  The jacket of the suit has a high top button, that when buttoned would still show the rest of the vest.  The vest also has a collar, which is from this decade.

This is the first time I have seen a tie pin in the knot of the tie.  Is this a new trend, or is this following a group he is associated with?  And from the second button hole of his vest hangs what looks like a group’s crest.

Louis Bergman, the photographer, located his studio at Second and Market in Louisville.  Perhaps that is near The Mayan Cafe – one of my favorite restaurants!  Louis was a German immigrant, his wife Carrie was born in Louisiana.  Their one child, Carrie, took over the photography studio when she reached the age of eighteen.  Louis Berman was President of the Photographers Mutual Society of Louisville in 1883.

I’m always interested in Kentucky photos – although I have very few.  Does anyone recognize this gentleman?

1870-1880 Photos – Lexington, Kentucky

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One never knows when you might find something exciting in your own back yard!  I have been very interesting in purchasing a copy of Colonel George Chinn’s book, The History of Harrodsburg and “The Great Settlement Area” of Kentucky, 1774-1900.  I’ve checked on Ebay and Amazon with no luck.  So I called one of our local shops, J. Sampson Antiques and Books – on Main Street in Harrodsburg.  At that time there was not a copy available, but received a call this week that he had a pristine copy found over the weekend.  Most anxious to see the book I told him I would be there after work.  Not only did I purchase the Chinn book, but several others on Mercer County history.  Then I asked about old photographs.  Even though in number they were few, I found four photographs taken in Lexington, Kentucky; one in Georgetown; and one in Louisville.  I was thrilled!  So my blog to you today are these photographs, I believe from the 1870’s to 1880’s.

The above photo is of a young man very nicely dressed – I love his neckwear.  He is holding a riding whip, which perhaps he has nervously twisted while waiting to take the photo.  This is a carte-de-visite, the 2.5 x 4 inch photo taken from the 1860’s through the 1870’s.  On back it reads “Go to Butler’s Gallery for Photographs, No. 19 1/2 West Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky” – which is almost exactly where my daughter used to live in the high rise on Main Street!

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The rest of the photos are cabinet cards – 4.25 x 6.5 inches.  This lovely woman has an interesting dress, but her brooch is most beautiful!  She almost has a smile on her face!  This photo was taken by Mullen Photography in Lexington.

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I love this photo!  The gentleman’s suit is a three-piece matching outfit.  His striped tie a nice compliment!  The fob attached to the man’s belt is not for a watch.  It is hard to see in the photo, but I believe there is an emblem on the lower part – perhaps a Mason or Odd Fellow fob?  This photo was taken by John’s Photography in Lexington.

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There is much beauty in this photograph of an older woman.  The sunken cheeks and tiny mouth remind me of my grandmother Hill!  It is impossible to see, but perhaps she braided her hair and wore it wound around at the back of her head in a bun – also like my grandmother.  Look at her hands – small and well-worn.  Although it’s always hard to say for certain, if this photo were taken in 1875 – this woman could have been born around the turn of the century.    On back is written, W. E. Johns, 55 E. Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky.  The previous photo was also taken by a Mr. John’s in Lexington, but there is nothing written on the back.  That would lead me to believe the previous photo was taken several years before this one.

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The next photo is of a very debonair young man whose photo was taken by Phipps Photography in Georgetown, Kentucky, just sixteen miles north of Lexington.  I like the elongated coat – and fastening just the top button, with a view of the vest and watch chain, is definitely an 1870’s style.  I’m not sure what the star on his lapel might represent.

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And I saved the best for last!  This is the most adorable little girl!  And we know her name – Anna Kilsal Wilde!  Look at the plump arms and feet – and the one little foot resting on a pillow!  The white lace dress is gorgeous!  Her sweet little face and hair just complete the picture!  This photo was taken by Veasy, The Doerr Gallery, at 12th and Market Streets, Louisville, Kentucky.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the gallery show of Kentuckians today!  Please let me know if you recognize anyone in these photos – or know anything about Anna Kilsal Wilde!