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.

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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



It’s August, which means the Montgomery County Fair is coming soon! (The Agricultural Center’s website is literally counting down the seconds until opening day.)   Since it’s Postcard Wednesday, here’s a card from 1914 that references the Fair.

Addressed to Mrs. John Peters, Germantown, Md., RFD #2.  Postmarked Dickerson, Md, 1914. “Dear Cousin Ada, Sorry [you] & Helen can’t come up & go to the fair wish you could.  Let Helen come up and stay a week with me.  Hope you all are well.  Love to all.  From Blanche.”

Okay, I did realize this morning that the postmark is dated October 1914, and that Blanche says “come up,” which probably means she’s talking about the Frederick County Fair rather than Montgomery’s.  But I’d already figured out who Ada was, so here it is anyway!  Lillian Ada Collier (1876-1960) of Seneca married John W. Peters in 1896; in the 1910 census, John (a farm laborer) and Ada are listed near Germantown with their daughter Helen, born 1897.   (Cousin Blanche still eludes me – is she Ada’s maternal or paternal cousin, or John’s, ditto? English words for family relationships are too vague!) 

The front image of the postcard (published by Carroll Merchandise Co., Westminster, Md.) shows the Monocacy Aqueduct (built 1829-1833), which carries the C&O Canal over the Monocacy River and connects Montgomery and Frederick Counties.  So actually I like the fact that Blanche is talking about [probably] the Frederick Fair; it goes nicely with the image she chose.  Down-county-ers like myself can easily forget that our upcounty neighbors in Dickerson, Poolesville, and Damascus are closer to Frederick’s institutions and businesses than to things in Rockville or further south.   The Historical Society’s arbitrary distinction between Montgomery County and Other Places, while necessary for the sake of keeping our collections in check, has the disadvantage of downplaying the naturally fluid relationship between the county and surrounding jurisdictions.  Pay the Monocacy Aqueduct a visit this weekend, and wave to our neighbors in Frederick County!

Montgomery County was created on September 6th, 1776, out of the southern portion of Frederick County.  As we have for many years, the Historical Society is celebrating the county’s birthday with a big party (complete with birthday cake!) this coming Sunday, to which all are invited.    Want to help us celebrate Montgomery County’s 235th birthday? Visit the Beall-Dawson Historical Park this Sunday, September 18th 2011, between 2 and 5!

Alas, we have few artifacts in our collections related to birthdays, at least to birthday parties, so today’s post relies on our photo collection to bring home the birthday theme.  Here are a few images of local birthday parties, big and small, to enjoy.  

Billy Hazard’s first birthday party, Garrett Park, August 6 1914.  The birthday boy is seated at left; his guests, according to the record in his baby book, are Miss Elizabeth La Borteaux, Miss Margaret Davis, and Master Robert La Borteaux. Baby book donated by the Barth family. 


Raymond M. Riley’s 85th birthday party featured this adorable C&O Canal-themed birthday cake.  Mr. Riley was born in Lockhouse 24 (Riley’s Lock) in 1897, and he drove a canal boat of his own as an adult.  Photo from the Morris Fradin collection. 


According to Roger Brooke Farquhar’s book Old Homes and History, these guests at Gilbert Grosvenor’s home “Wild Acres” (outside Bethesda) were attending a birthday party in honor of former First Lady Helen Taft in June, 1929. 


This giant birthday cake was made in honor of the City of Gaithersburg’s 100th anniversary, in 1978.  Gaithersburg Mayor Bruce Goldsohn and Willie Max Fullerton are pictured making the ceremonial first cut.  Photo donated by E. Russell Gloyd.