Sepia Saturday 509. Third in a new series on my maternal German ancestors — the Stoutners of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
My maternal German immigrant great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr. became the patriarch a large extended family in Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
Born on 29 Dec. 1832, Andrew immigrated circa 1855 when he was just 22. He joined the wave of immigrants who left Germany seeking a better life in the years after the liberal 1848 revolution was defeated by conservative aristocracies.
Andrew appears to have brought a technical skill set with him, since his occupation is listed as “mechanic – brick maker” in the 1860 federal census1of Johnstown, Fulton Co., N.Y. — and he continued as a brick maker in Berkshire, outside Gloversville, for the rest of his life.
Andrew poses for a photo
Somewhere around 1890, the advent of portrait photography and his success in his new home apparently prompted Andrew, 58, to have his photo taken at the William H. Kibbe Photographic Studio in Johnstown, N.Y.
Shown above is cabinet card photo of a handsome looking Andrew from my family collection. Below is the back of the photo, labeled “Andrew Sr.” in ink by his granddaughter — my maternal grandmother Elizabeth “Liz” (Stoutner) Laurence.
The other penciled notation “Stoutner 4 Wells St. Gloversville” was apparently made by the photo studio — and that’s where this story gets interesting.
A tale of two Andrews
Inspired by Mister Mike, a fellow blogger and musical photo enthusiast, I decided to see what I could learn about the photographer.
William H. Kibbe, born in 1846, was a noted cabinet photographer who opened his studio in Johnstown, Fulton Co., N.Y. in 1871. He was so successful that he ended up owning the rather substantial Kibbe Building — alas, no longer standing — which is depicted on the back of the photo (above).
Kibbe’s photo, obituary and a brief biography appear on the Cabinet Card Photographers blog — and not only that. At the bottom of the page, as an example of his work, is a pristine rendition from Visual Studies Workshop (below) of the same photo of my great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr.
Wow — what are the chances?
Setting the record straight
Of interest on the Visual Studies Workshop photo is the inserted “Wm.” above “Mr. Stoutner of Gloversville” on the back, implying that this is a picture of Andrew’s oldest son, William Stoutner. In fact, the VSW web page identifies the photo’s subject as “William Stoutnew.” So who is correct here?
My photo was labeled by my grandmother — who knew her grandfather well, having lived in the same house with him as a child — so I believe this is definitely a portrait of Andrew Stoutner Sr.
Moreover, if the photo was taken circa 1890, William Stoutner (b. 1862) would have been 28, while this is clearly the portrait of a much older man — and Andrew was 58 that year.
Perhaps Andrew had copies of the photo made for his children, and this was William’s copy. Or maybe it was mislabeled by the photographer. Or possibly one of William’s descendants made a “best guess” as to the subject of the photo — and that’s the copy that ended with the Visual Studies Workshop.
There’s no way to know for sure, but my takeaway is this: When researching family history, you need to look in the unlikeliest places. Had I not investigated the photographer, I would never have discovered a second digitized portrait of my great-great grandfather Andrew Stoutner Sr.
So, many thanks Mister Mike!
Up next: Andrew Stoutner’s first two wives. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.
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