Thursday, July 5, 2018
We're still puzzling over just who that Henry was who sat for his portrait with an unnamed woman identified as "cousin" and "John Reed Daughter." Having some help from a descendant of that same John Reed doesn't hurt, of course, so let's look at the hints he provided for possibilities.
A prime candidate might be the son of John Reed's sister, Francis Ann. For this man, born in 1851 in Ontario, we can check off the prime requirement: his name was, indeed, Henry. Since we had figured the photograph, from the Burgess and Son photography studio in Guelph, Ontario, was taken sometime between the mid 1880s and mid 1890s, that would put our possible Henry at an age range of thirty five to forty five. That seems to fit nicely with appearances.
This Henry, son of Francis Ann and George Easton, had another qualification: he was single. That little detail might tempt us to think someone was up to some matchmaking, in singling out an unmarried daughter of John Reed, to pair up with for this photograph. And don't let that cousin status alarm you; it was not unusual for cousins to marry, back in that era.
Another interesting thing about this particular Easton family is that Henry Easton's youngest sibling—nearly thirty years younger than he—happened to marry and eventually move to northern California. And that sibling—her name was Hattie—had several children, one of whom ended up with a Find A Grave burial record showing his final resting place to be in Contra Costa County, California.
That location may not mean much, for those who haven't been following these photo-rescuing escapades at A Family Tapestry. But you may recall that several of the photos I've found in northern California antique shops seem to link back to a family member in Contra Costa County. It's likely that a wholesale provider of antique photos is the one located in that county, rather than simply that these family members lived there, but that's the suspected route I think many of the photographs I've found have taken. And here, with Henry's photo, we have another possibility of a nexus with the Contra Costa County supplier.
There's only one problem with this scenario: Henry Easton didn't live in Guelph at the time this photograph was taken. In fact, he didn't live anywhere in Ontario. Forget a Canadian address any time after the U.S. 1880 census, where we can find him, a single man, living in Dawson County, Nebraska. In fact, a Find A Grave volunteer posted a transcription of his obituary from 1904, indicating that he and other Easton family members had homesteaded in Nebraska in the 1870s.
Never mind that the pathway in California made sense, considering our other rescue experiences. Unless Henry Easton made a trip back to Guelph to visit family sometime after settling, pioneer style, out in Nebraska, it is doubtful this would be the right Henry, single or not.