The idea of taking a picture of a large group of people has been around since the early days of photography, although it would have been difficult in the very early years. For several decades, photographing large groups was the province of professionals. But as the technology became more accessible, amateurs also entered the field. Of the pictures on this page, taken between the 1890s and 1930s, two are certainly by amateurs with the remainder apparently by professionals.
Professional photographers like C. Zimmerman of Lima, Ohio, were once frequently hired to take pictures of the many attendees at birthdays of older individuals. This 1931 picture was taken in Putnam County, Ohio, almost certainly at the home of Sophrona Blosser, who is seated in the center of the picture. Sophrona was born 22 Oct. 1833 (one source says 19 Oct.) in Fairfield County, Ohio, the first child of Daniel Seitz's (1791-1864) second wife, Catherine Beery (1808-1904). Sophrona married Jacob Blosser on 3 Jan. 1858 in Fairfield County. Jacob was born 29 Dec. 1830, in Pennsylvania, died 23 Aug. 1892 in Putnam County. While I do not have identifications for most of the people in the picture, most of the first cousins in the next picture on this page are found in this picture.
Picture: This photograph comes from the genealogy files of Sophronia's niece, Jennie (Seitz) Hendee (1866-1962), daughter of George Washington Seitz (1841-1945) and Mary Larimer (1843-c.1912)
Sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s Enoch Beery Seitz, son of George Washington Seitz and Mary Larimer travelled from California to Putnam County, Ohio to visit relatives. This picture, taken at what I assume is Sophrona Seitz Blosser's home (the same one as in the previous picture), is of nine grandchildren of Daniel Seitz (1791-1864). Comparing the people who are in both this and the previous picture, I believe this picture was taken a few years earlier than the birthday picture. I did not make the original identifications, but the dates are from my research. From left are Daniel W. Seitz (1850-1933), Isabelle (Seitz) Gray (1862-1936), Nancy (Seitz) Campbell (b 1870), Enoch Beery Seitz (1884-1959), Ida (Blosser) Neeper (1874-1947), Charles D. Blosser (b 1868), Sarah (Blosser) Clevenger (1863-1940), David Edson Blosser (1867-1943) and John Seitz Blosser (1877-1959).
Picture: This photograph came from the genealogy files of Enoch's sister, Jennie (Seitz) Hendee and was probably taken by a relative, perhaps a spouse of one of the first cousins in the picture.
From left to right, this four-generation picture includes Anna Elizabeth Kerlin Seitz (1854-1918), Elijah Iles Kerlin (1809-1901), William Kendrick Kerlin (1832-1903) and William Kerlin Seitz (1879-1936). Biographical sketches of Anna and Elijah are found on our original pictures page.
William K. Kerlin was born 2 March 1832 in Wayne County, Ind. After serving as Darke County, Ohio, treasurer, he founded the Second National Bank of Greenville. He died 28 May 1903 in Greenville, Ohio. You will find a letter written by William Kendrick Kerlin to his daughter Anna on the Darke County, Ohio, genealogical researchers website.
Willie K. Seitz was born 19 Oct. 1879 in Greenville, Ohio. After attending the state Normal School at Kirksville, Mo., he graduated from the University of Missouri in 1906 as a civil engineer and worked in various cities before going into business with his brothers, Raymond and Enoch. He later became a consulting engineer and city manager. William died April 7, 1936 in St. Joseph, Mo. His wife, Claudia McBride Seitz, died in Quincy, Ill., about January 1981.
Picture: Copied from cabinet card (photographic print on 4-1/4 by 6-1/2 inch card) apparently made in 1890s, probably in Wayne County, Ind.
I'm not sure who took Harry's picture but my suspects are David or Robert Bowman, neither of whom are in the picture. They are sons of Belle Kerlin Bowman and brothers of George Bowman, both of whom are in the picture. Harry is George's son-in-law. If the picture was taken before 1919, another suspect would be Belle's husband, David Weller Bowman Sr.
It is possible that Harry's picture was taken by William Louis Kerlin Sr., whose wife and children are in the picture, but is not himself. However, I believe it more likely that William's picture ended up elsewhere.
Starting at the upper left, here are the people in the picture as identified by my father (the dates are from my research): George Bowman (1902-1977); John Duffee Kerlin (1865-1928); Ruth Seitz (1908-1973); Constance Kerlin (1907-2000); Belle Kerlin Bowman (1862-1942); Minne Martin Kerlin (1865-1935); Hazeldean Bolt Seitz (1886-1979); Emma Kerlin (1856-1931). Front row: William Louis Kerlin Jr. (1896-1968); visible behind William are the shoulders and an ear of his brother Thomas Corwin Kerlin (1908-2000) who was recovering from jaundice at the time; Emmaline Pitsenberger Kerlin (1869-1932); Kerlin McCullough Seitz (1916-1985); Anna Ethel Kerlin (1894-1987); Avarilla Fahnestock Kerlin (1864-1943); Oscar Calm Kerlin (1861-1942) and Hannah Lucille Kerlin (1891-1984)
This gathering at the home of Rachel Ann (Mairs) DeWitt near Reger, Sullivan County, Mo., may well have been for a birthday. If that is the case, this picture was most likely taken in May of 1910 or 1911. If the gathering was not related to her birthday, the picture could have been taken as late as January or February 1912, although it does not appear to be a winter in the picture. Rachel is the elderly seated woman. For further identifications and comments, visit the Website of Don DeWitt.
Picture: This photograph, which was made into a postcard, comes from the family files of McCullough and DeWitt descendant Buff Huntsman.
Clockwise starting with baby, this five-generation picture includes Ruth Susan Seitz (1908-1973), Hazeldean (Bolt) Seitz (1886-1979), Elfie Maud (McCullough) Bolt (1868-1961), Margaret Josephine (DeWitt) McCullough (1849-1937) and Rachel Ann (Mairs) DeWitt (1823-1912.) They are sitting on the front porch of the DeWitt house near Reger, Sullivan County, Mo.
Ruth Seitz was born 24 June 1908 in Milan, Mo., where her father, Enoch Beery Seitz Jr. was superintendent of schools. She graduated from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., June 1929. Ruth married Harlen Ware in June 1935. She died 24 May 1973 in Carmel, Calif.
Hazeldean Bolt was born 9 Nov. 1886 in Montgomery County, Iowa. She married first Enoch Beery Jr. 20 Aug. 1907 in Milan, Mo. She married second Nate Snyder in January 1951 in San Antonio, Texas. She died 1 June 1979 in San Antonio, Texas.
Elfie McCullough was born 25 Nov.1868 in Sullivan County, Mo. She married first Isaac S. Bolt 14 Oct. 1885 in Milan, Sullivan County, Mo., and moved to his home in Montgomery County, Iowa. They had a tumultulous relationship. In 1891, Elfie applied for a divorce in Douglas County, Neb., and on 21 April 1892, she married William Kerry Casad, a touring minstrel musician of some note, also in Douglas County. Billy and Elfie divorced in 1894. On 21 Aug 1894, she married George Betrand Storer in Milwaukee, Wis. That marriage was short as Elfie returned to marry Isaac again in November 1895, presumably in Montgomery County, Iowa. Elfie and Isaac were divorced again by 1900 by which time Isaac was living in Chicago. Elfie's whereabouts have not been determined for certain from that divorce until the 1920 census when she is living alone in Los Angeles. She appears to have married A. Payne Jr. on 22 June 1912 in Milan, although I have not been able to identify or locate him. In 1922, Elfie said she was a widow when applying for a passport in Los Angeles under her maiden name. She spent a few years in China before returning to Los Angeles. By 1940, she was living in suburban Monterey Park, where she spent the rest of her life. She died 28 Nov. 1961 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Josephine DeWitt was born 8 July 1849 in Sullivan County, Mo. She married Warren McCullough 2 July 1865 in Sullivan County. She was active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She died 30 April 1937 in Quincy, Ill., while visiting her daughter, Annie Winters.
Rachel Ann Mairs was born 7 May 1823 in Stuebenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. She married Joel DeWitt 1842 in Jackson County , (W.) Va. They moved to Missouri in 1845. She died 26 Feb. 1912 in Sullivan County, Mo.
Pictures of Rachel when she was younger and of her husband, Joel DeWitt, can be found at the Website of Don DeWitt. On the same Website are a genealogy of the DeWitt family and additional pictures of the DeWitt house.
Picture: This picture is copied from a photograph made late 1908 or early 1909, at the Joel DeWitt family home near Reger, Sullivan County, Mo. The original was framed by the Chicago department store, Marshall Field, probably in the 1920s or early 1930s.
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