Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dashing Dandies

The phrase, “Hamilton, O.,” is one that has given me quite a bit of grief in the last few years of research. It was written on a number of papers and photographs in the Tully family belongings.

In that typical way of notating states during the 1800s and early 1900s, “O.” would be presumed to mean Ohio. That is—until I found out that the Tully family not only had relatives living outside Cincinnati in Hamilton, Ohio, but that they also had family still in Ontario. And yes, you guessed it—one of the towns near these Tully relations was, in fact, also referred to as Hamilton, O.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

When I’m trying to figure out the information on some of these family papers, it leaves me with two choices: shall I consider the entry as referring to the Tully relatives who moved to Ohio? Or those who have not yet moved out of the province of Ontario?

In the case of this photograph above, thankfully I am not obliged to muddle that out. The inscription on the lower edge of the frame makes it clear this is from Hamilton, Ontario. So perhaps I am viewing a descendent of the mysterious Margaret Tully whom I’ve not been able to find since her childhood years in the home of her parents, Denis and Margaret (Flannery) Tully. After leaving their native Ireland, the patriarch of our Tully line settled for a time in Paris Village, outside Brantford, in what is now Ontario. It is, in today’s terms, a quick drive from Brantford to Hamilton, where the subject of this photograph stopped by the Farmer Brothers studio on 10 King Street West on some unknown date. I presume it took him longer than half an hour to make his journey into town. Regardless of who this is, or how far he traveled, by all looks of the portrait, the subject appears to have been quite pleased with his likeness.

Then, again, this could be someone from the other side of the family—not William Tully’s relatives, but his wife Sarah Swanton’s relatives. Her mother’s Sullivan line did have relatives in Simcoe County, and though that would have been a longer trip to this Hamilton studio, I suppose it would be possible. Or perhaps there is another family possibility I’ve not yet uncovered.

Though the next photograph doesn’t entangle me in any enigma of postal abbreviations, it still leaves me thoroughly stumped. The studio, A. A. Bish of Chippewa Falls, presents a portrait much like the other, in terms of full-length presentation. As far as the identity of the subject, however, I am clueless. I did find out that Chippewa Falls is a town in Wisconsin, and since some Sullivan relations as well as Clifford descendants moved from their Chicago and Indiana homes to Wisconsin, I considered a few possibilities in those lines. However, when I checked MapQuest for proximities of the towns where these descendents settled, it is nowhere near a convenient trip into town for any of those family members to pose for his likeness.

And so, once again, I leave these portraits out in the ether, to be found and hopefully identified by some long-lost relative.


  1. Baptism records showing Margaret Tully and her siblings - 10 Sep. 1844


    This could be her:


    Working as a domestic servant at the Dunlop House (a hotel) Jacksonville, Morgan Co IL. for John B. Damon in 1870. There is no record of her in 1880 so I would assume she married (and maybe moved on).

  2. Here a possibility:


    A Margaret born in Ireland in 1844 married to a Thomas Carroll.

    The son's names are "suggestive".. I found it interesting that they are in Hamilton, Ohio...

    I found a reference saying Margaret's madiden name was Tully.... but I can't refind it - (Sloppy researching on my part).

  3. "Sacred Heart Church is the oldest Catholic church we have visited on our journey together. In 1834 a vote was taken among church elders to see where to locate a Catholic Church in Brant County - Brantford or Paris? The vote was 13-12 in favour of Paris. By 1838 a wood chapel was erected dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was officially the first Catholic Church in Brant County. In 1857, construction of the present day Sacred Heart Church began and the first mass was celebrated Christmas Day. In 1880, construction was completed."




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