Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Sometimes a photo comes along that reminds you that people haven’t changed much over the past hundred years, and this is one of those for me. This young girl’s portrait captured her in a moment of reflection with her future bright in front of her. She is a beauty with long softly curling hair and a lovely oval face. She makes me hope for my daughter’s future as one filled with love and happiness.

The photographer is Zeph. F. Magill, who purchased the business from a Mr. Clark. Earlier cabinet cards by Magill state “successor to Clark” instead of the studio location. Zeph. F. Magill was somehow involved in politics and fertilizer, oddly coordinating lines of business and could also be identified as Zeph. T. Magill who was somehow associated with a criminal arrested for fraud. Such an odd name could not be easily duplicated, but an F can look like a T and vice versa. Hmmm.

6 thoughts on “The beauty of youth

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    Troy, NY? Some “far flung” relative of the Dobb’s?

    She is mighty pensive and very pretty. I wonder what her story was/became.

    I recall Far Side saying those Photographers were a irrascable lot. Remember the one that married Polly Engle (I think that’s what her name was)?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      They get even more far flung tomorrow!


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    I might have a lead….

    While I do not know who Nina is – she may (or may not) have been married to Martin Dobb.

    Here is what I know –

    From the 1885 Chicago City Directory

    Dobb Hillbrand, carp, house 145 flournoy (Hilebrand is Martin’s father)
    Dobb Martin, clk, house 145 flournoy

    Click to access 1885d.pdf

    From the 1892 Chicago City Directory

    Dobb Cornelius, carp, house 145 flournoy (b. 1867) – listed as Carnelius Dobbs in the 1880 census <–
    Dobb Hillbrand, peddlar, house 145 flournoy
    Dobb Martin, clk, 6, 158 Monroe h. 145 flournoy (b. 1863)

    Thinking perhaps Mr. Dobb was Cornelius – I looked him up in 1900 US Census and found him in Dayton, Ohio – living with his brother.

    United States Census, 1900 for Cornelius H Dobb
    Residence: Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio
    Birth Date: Jan 1867
    Birthplace: Illinois
    Relationship to Head-of-Household: Brother ??!??!
    Father Birthplace: Holland
    Mother Birthplace: Holland
    Race or Color (expanded): White
    Head-of-household Name: Martin Dobb

    Looking at his brother's record – I see… he is WIDOWED… in 1900…

    Martin Dobb
    Residence: Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio
    Birth Date: Nov 1863
    Birthplace: Illinois
    Father Birthplace: Holland
    Mother Birthplace: Holland
    Race or Color (expanded): White
    Gender: Male
    Marital Status: Widowed

    Could this be Mr. "Nina" Dobb??

    Checking the city directory – and looking for 145 Flournoy Street – I find it just a few blocks away from most of the Chicago area photographers that took all these photographs….

    …the chase continues…


  3. IntenseGuy says:

    Martin L. Dobb remarried and is listed with his 12 years younger wife, Annie/Anna Dobb living in Dayton in 1910. Anna is listed as widowed in 1920. I found a grave near Dayton, Ohio with a Martin Dobb, died Apr. 14, 1919. Martin and Anna do not appear to have had any children.

    Just who Martin’s first wife was, I’ve not determined – nor have I determined where the two (three?) children Nina had … went to. They do not appear to have been adopted by Martin’s parents or by any of his brothers. Perhaps Nina’s parents adopted them – I don’t think the children were *that* old when Nina died. Do you have a guesstimate as to the years they were born and age when their mother died?


  4. IntenseGuy says:

    I’m thinking it might not be outside the realm of possibility that Helen C Dobb, living with Martin Dobb’s parents might have been the little girl. 20 year old Helen C., born in 1890 was living with 71 year old Cezina (Mrs. Hilbrant) Dobb in 1910. Either she was a very late birth or perhaps she was adopted.

    Earnest/Earnst (b. 14-Feb-1886 in Chicago, IL) living with Jacob Dobb (Martin’s brother) (1900 US census) moved to Portland, Multnomah, Oregon and is shown as married to Belle Dobb (1910 US census) living and divorced in San Francisco (1920 US census)… Maybe?

    Another possible boy might be Herbert (b. 1885) living with brother Jacob. He married Blanche E. Bartley on 14 Jan 1910 in Paw Paw, Van Buren, Michigan. Paw Paw is inland from Benton Harbor.


  5. This is a lovely photo..and yes she looks totally innocent..I hope her life was good:)


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