Sunday, October 07, 2007

1890s photo of surveyors on a handcar

From: "Terry Baker"

I have a photo that was handed down in my family. According to names on the back, one of the men was Isaac Winston. He turns out to have been an inspector with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey. In the 1890s he was in Missouri and Kansas. My ancestors lived in MO at the time. The last digit of the date is cut off, but it's most likely 1895. The six man crew is seated on a handcar with two pumpers, and the car has the words "No. 1394" on a plate near the front. A man standing up is wearing a suit and has his arm on a theodolite. Winston was born in 1853, and this guy looks like he's over forty. The crew look to be in their 20s and 30s.

—Terry Baker, Nashville

1890s photo of surveyors on a handcar


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Terry Baker"

I'm including my transcriptions of 1) what was on the back of the photo, and 2) identical handwriting in an old autograph book from 1890-93. Coralie Ervin owned the book, and her older half- sister, Hester Ervin eventually married a Dr. Isaac Howard and had a son, Robert Ervin Howard. He wrote for pulp fiction mags and is remembered for Conan the Barbarian. The writing is very much like Hester's. I believe the 8:15 on the back of the photo really means August 15, therefore 1895, not Oct 11, 1894. The only thing Aug 15, 1895, and Oct 11, 1895, have in common so far are lynchings that took place in Missouri on those dates. "I know what you did last summer."??? Or maybe, "Let's do what we can to avenge this evil."


10/07/2007 8:57 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Aug 15, 1895

Colee’s autograph book. Front page;


Aug 15 – 95.

Thursday Night-

10 PM”

Photo of Surveyors


Isaac Winston

–a Dickson

–ry C. Baird


Thursday Night

Oct 11 - 189—“

The two dates coincide with lynchings that took place in Missouri in 1895.

The handwriting is very similar to Hester Ervin’s.

10/07/2007 8:58 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Terry Baker"

I forgot to note that to the left of the words "Thursday Night" on the back of the photo is "8:15". Well, the picture looks like it was taken just after sunrise, not at night. The men don't have any sweat stains under their arms and no five o'clock shadows on their faces. The light comes from horizontally behind the photographer. It could not have been taken at night. So I think 8:15 means Aug 15, matching the date written in front of the autograph book. Aug 15, 1895, was definitely a Thursday. For Oct 11 to be a Thursday, the year has to be 1894. I would welcome any explanation of the two dates that has nothing to do with lynchings.


10/07/2007 9:01 PM  

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