I like to think of this photo as “composed” not just in the sense that the subject appears calm and collected (i.e. composed) but also that the photographer took the time to compose the image. Recently I was reading about the process of setting up a photograph and was reminded that the view inside the camera (under the black cloth) was upside down. Just imagine that you were planning a photo to look just right, and then imagine that every time you checked to ensure it looked good, it was upside down! The early photographers really did need to have some artistic ability to not only create a compelling image, but also to just see everything upside down. The mind can process an image upside down, but it takes some getting used to. The photographer in this case was Darnell (T. L. Darnell / Thomas Darnell) of Cumberland, MD.
This is also the only photograph in the album with a full name: Milton Hendrickson. I found quite a lot of information on him. Milton C. Hendrickson was born April 25, 1849, and had at least two brothers – Finley C. and Somerfield. In the 1870s he married Laura Smouse (August 31, 1850 to June 6, 1887). Together they had seven children – Harry in 1873, Earnest in 1875, Jessie in 1878, Myrtle in 1879, Clark in 1881, Lulu in 1883 and another child I can’t find a name or date on. Milton was a farmer and school teacher who lived in and around Cumberland and Gross his entire life. After Laura passed away in 1887, Milton apparently continued with his life of farming and teaching school. Sometime in the 1910s, he married Ella (born 1893). One account indicates that they had two young children together which is impressive as Milton would have been in his 60s at that point. He died August 26, 1923 at the age of 74. Perhaps a family member will be searching on Milton or his family and find this blog!