Just a quick post today, in honor of Father’s Day. I always enjoy family portraits, especially combinations that seem a little surprising (at least in the 19th century formal photography studio setting) – like couples holding hands, or fathers posing with their kids. This is me doing my part to combat the image of the stern and distant 19th century patriarch, who expected his children to be seen and not heard. While we don’t know too much about these gentlemen, their photos show a moment or two of togetherness.
Above: Here’s Dr. William A. Waters of Neelsville (on the horse) with his little son Charles Clark Waters, and his brother-in-law William Willson. (And a dog, and two ladies in the house behind them.) Taken in Clarksburg, circa 1868. Donated by Marian Waters Jacobs.
Above: Sidney Connell, Sr., with his sons Dudley and Sidney Jr. Mr. Connell worked for the C&O Canal Company as a section supervisor (his wife Hattie was the daughter of Ap Violette, lockkeeper at Violette’s Lock); the family lived in a company house near Riley’s Lock. Probably taken at Riley’s Lock (I think the kids are standing on the lock gates), circa 1910. Donated by Morris Fradin.
Above: George Minor Anderson of Rockville with his son Thomas Minor Anderson, and a toy horse. There’s a nice little series of these images of proud papa George, some including mom Julia Prout Vinson Anderson. Taken “at Cora Stover’s house on Court Street, Rockville,” circa 1903. Donated by the Anderson family.
In closing, I’ll leave you with some advice written in 1840 by a father to his sons. (I didn’t quite mean for this post to turn into a sons-only affair, but so it goes.) William Prout of Georgetown was ailing; he and his wife took a trip to Key West for his health, leaving their children with various aunts and uncles in D.C. (Unfortunately, Mr. Prout died in Key West shortly thereafter; his widow moved the family to Rockville, and granddaughter Julia married into the Anderson family.) Mr. Prout left these rules for his sons Daniel and William during this “grievous separation.” The original paper was donated to us by the Anderson family.
Rules to be observed by my dear Boys during my absence —-
To obey their Uncle and Aunt in all things
To attend to the wants and wishes of their Grand Father ———
To go to no fire by day or night and never touch an Engine or its apparattus [sic] ——
To be always in the House by Sun Set, and to remain in, without express permission from their Uncle–
To be attentive to their School in [?] ——–
Not to interfere with the Servants, or House hold concerns in any way
Be attentive to your personal appearance at all times —-
as cleanliness is next to Godliness ———————
These few prominent rules, if observed will add much to your comfort, and the Comfort of those who have been good enough to take charge of you, and from your good sense and education, I shall expect a close adherence to them, which if done, will some what compensate for the grievous separation imposed on your dear Father.
Washington Oct 8 1840
Master Wm. Prout
Master D.F. Prout
From their affectionate Father W. Prout