Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Directly across from the photo I posted last is this one of a family. I don’t think it is the same family but the little boy seems similar. Maybe they were related in some way. This particular photo was made by Barry in Bismarck, Dakota Territory. Today, Bismarck is located in North Dakota. Dakota Territory was created in 1861 and included much more than the current two states named after the territory. Parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were included in the original territory, but later were spun off into territories or states on their own. What remained was Dakota Territory until 1889 when it was divided into the states North and South Dakota.

This is helpful in dating the photo to prior to 1889. The photographer is quite famous! David F. Barry learned the photographic trade from an itinerant photographer named O. S. Goff from about 1870, but he did not become a business partner of Goff’s until 1878. At that time Goff & Barry were working in Bismarck, D. T. Barry then became a prolific and important itinerant photographer in American history. He spent the next five years traveling through the Territory photographing the local Indian population, including Sitting Bull and Red Cloud, as well as American Calvary officers, forts, soldiers, battlefields, working men and trappers. His documentation of the Indian Wars of the era are important evidence to understand the crucible that was the Dakota Territory. Some of his images of Indian Chiefs are the only known photographs of these amazing men. In 1883, Barry returned home and established his gallery in Bismarck, so this dates the photo from 1883-1889. In 1890, Barry left the Dakotas never to return; he died in Superior, WI in 1934. His papers and images are housed at the Denver Public Library and include his original glass plate negatives.

5 thoughts on “The whole family

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    I agree, the little boy looks like they might be the same person – its a long way from Meadville, PA to Bismark, ND, about 1,300 miles to be sure – but the iron horse (Northern Pacific Railroad) arrived in Bismark in 1873, a year after Bismark was founded – so they could have “taken” the train from northwestern PA to Chicago and on to Bismark quite easily.

    Both photos are roughly the same “vintage” and the boy roughly the same age.


  2. A cousin maybe..Barry was a very prolific Photographer..I have been looking for some of his work. At the Museum we have a Barry that is of Buffalo Bill Cody..I was thrilled to have found it hidden away in a file cabinet in a vault! :)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I think I read he became friends with Cody when he came back to Bismarck. What a treasure you have!


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