Early La Grange Photographers & Unidentified Photos


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In order to ensure that posted unidentified photos pertain to Fayette County, they must have a Fayette County photographer's mark.

Wallace & Hooben & Other 1860s Photographers in Fayette County

A Footprints of Fayette article by Rox Ann Johnson:

Today cameras are everywhere. Even the mobile phones we carry are capable of capturing photographs. However, things were very different in the 1860s when people in Fayette County mostly relied on traveling photographers who were just passing through. As a result, relatively few photographs were taken here, and only a small number of those still exist.

Nonetheless, a few photographers did try to make a permanent home here in the late 1860s.  On November 6, 1866, J. J. Wallace purchased an ad in The State Rights Democrat newspaper announcing his new photograph gallery in the second story of P. V. Shaw’s building, opposite the La Grange Hotel. The advertisement stated that he had lately come from Tuskegee, Alabama and had several years of experience as a photographer. Oddly, the advertisement included the following:

Persons having small pictures of deceased friends can have them accurately copied [and] enlarged to any size desired, either plain or colored.

Also, persons wishing pictures of corpse or aged friends, either in town or country, he will go at any time to their dwellings and make negatives of the same.

One year later, J. J. Wallace was himself listed among the dead, a victim of the 1867 yellow fever epidemic in La Grange.

James J. Wallace was born in Tennessee in about 1834 to Jesse and Mahala (Blakely) Wallace. Operating with a partner under the name Wallace & Hooben, he had set up a photography studio in Uniontown, Alabama and later in Tuskegee, but had likely not prospered in either town. A  November 10, 1866 article in The Democrat indicates La Grange might have been a good place to start over. The article read: “Let them Come! During the past week we have received Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee exchanges, each of them noticing in their respective sections ‘streams of movers, bound for Texas.’ God bless the dear people of those impoverished States, let them come along…”

Though he was in La Grange five months earlier advertising as J. J. Wallace, it wasn’t until April 12, 1867 that “Wallace & Sister” was first used in an ad. His partner was Anna A. Hooben, born about 1846 in Tennessee. James Wallace had sisters, but Anna Hooben was not one of them, and the relationship between them is unknown. It may be that Wallace had been in partnership with her father in Alabama, and that it was easier to pass Anna off as his sister than to answer a bunch of questions. At this point, the ads referred to more artistic services, such as painted opalotypes and hand-colored carte de visites. It might be assumed that Anna Hooben had brought these techniques to the business. The duo again operated as Wallace & Hooben. That business is known for a striking photograph of the third Fayette County courthouse that was built by Heinrich Kreische in 1857.

J. J. Wallace’s brother, Mathew Stephenson Blakely Wallace, born in 1838, was four years younger. He had worked as a peddler before serving in the Confederacy’s 47th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry Company K, alongside another brother, Thomas.  According to family, Thomas was killed, and Mat was taken prisoner in the Second Battle of Murfreesboro, which began on December 31, 1862.

Around 1867, Mat Wallace came to Texas looking for opportunities, but was in the state for about a year before he relocated to Fayette County. J. J. Wallace and Anna Hooben fled La Grange during the yellow fever epidemic that fall, though not early enough to save James. It’s unclear whether Mat had already joined them in La Grange or whether the decision to go to La Grange was made after his brother’s death. We do know that in the January 3, 1868 issue of The State Rights Democrat, Wallace and Hooben announced that they had reopened their photographic gallery on the north side of the La Grange square and were hoping to increase the number of their patrons to justify them making this their permanent location. They had altered and improved their rooms and “Sky light” to make the best pictures at all times of day. They were referring to the slow shutter speeds that could blur images of that era when they added, “the light at noon being the strongest is always preferred for little ones.” Another line from this notice referred to La Grange’s recent tragedy:

In consideration of the many deceased during the late epidemic, we have made especial efforts to offer you our new style of Copied Pictures which are so completely retouched in India-ink, that time cannot effect them ... In looking over our old Negatives we find many old familiar faces we shall see among us no more—all have been carefully preserved and duplicates can be made of them at any time.

Anna Hooben married another photographer from Tennessee, John R. Martin, in Fayette County on May 3, 1868, and a month later, Wallace & Hooben announced the dissolution of their partnership. In the same issue of The State Rights Democrat, Mat Wallace mentioned that he was working as a photographer over Nicholson and Holloway’s store, and he was also running the livery stable attached to the La Grange Hotel. On June 18th of that year, he married Margaret Chandler, a stepdaughter of R. F. Day, who owned a jewelry store in La Grange for many years.

John and Anna Martin, along with a two-month-old baby boy, were in La Grange at the time of the 1870 census. They both gave their occupations as “photographist” and operated here as Martin’s Photographic Gallery or simply as Martin's. We believe that Mat Wallace gave up his photography business in early 1870 and was only operating his livery stable by the time the census was taken that year.

The Martins left La Grange within a short period, but Mat Wallace and his family were still nearby ten years later, making a living by farming. Three of Matt’s sisters had arrived in Fayette County in the late 1870s: Cynthia “Jane,” who married Bill Flippin; Maria, who arrived with her husband, J. F. Helton; and Mary, who married J. F. “Tennessee” Thompson. Jane and Maria spent the remainder of their lives here, but Mat S. Wallace and Mary Wallace Thompson moved on to other states.

Knowing when the various photographers were here can sometimes assist in dating old photos. Other photographers known to have been in La Grange during the 1860s are V. P. Seargeant and H. H. (or W. H.) Gilliam, both here in 1866. Widening the scope to all of Fayette County, others known to have practiced their craft during that decade were P. Vivier in 1860, W. B. Clark at Winchester in 1866, Nicholas B. Gorsuch at High Hill in 1869, R. J. Zimmermann at Fayetteville in 1869, W. F. E. C. Henausin and also Joseph D. Sloan, both at Oso in 1869. Of these men, Zimmermann is the only photographer who made a permanent home in Fayette County, later settling at Schulenburg.

Photo captions:
Top: The third Fayette County Courthouse, built by Heinrich Kreische in 1857; photo by Wallace & Hooben; courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives (Photo 1994.27.405)
Lower: Wallace & Hooben portrait of an unidentified infant; courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives (Photo 19769.4.24)
Wallace file, photograph collection, and marriage index at the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives
Haynes, David. Catching Shadows: A Directory of 19th Century Texas Photographers. Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Association, 1993.
Helton, Billie. The Helton Family History with Related Families, Volume I. Andrews, TX: self-published, 1985.
The States Right Democrat, various issues published in La Grange from 1866 through 1870
E-mail correspondence with John and Dee Cunningham. Mrs. Cunningham is a descendant of Mat and Margaret Chandler Wallace.
Federal census records
1867 Voter Registration records for Fayette County

Martin, John and Anna

Martin's Photographic Gallery operated in La Grange from approximate 1868 until 1870. Read the Footprints of Fayette story, Wallace & Hooben & Other 1860s Photographers in Fayette County, to learn more about John and Anna (Hooben) Martin.

Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives
If you can identify this child photographed at Martin's Photographic Gallery, please contact the Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives.



C. Petersen, La Grange

Conrad Petersen, La Grange photographerConrad Petersen's photographic gallery was located over Hermes Drug Store, a two story wooden frame building on the northeast corner of the square. He was mentioned in the La Grange Journal's January 27, 1881 survey of La Grange businesses. Born in Germany ca 1839, Petersen immigrated in 1853. His obituary states that he arrived in La Grange in 1861 and he married Hermine (Minna) Locke there in 1874, having opened his photography studio about two years earlier. His only son, Leo Petersen, born ca 1879, also worked as a photographer in La Grange and kept his father's photography gallery open after his death in 1914.

Other early La Grange photographers were Adolphus Behn, Samuel T. Blessing, W. B. Clark, H. H. Gilliam, John R. Martin, Charles Joseph Migurski, Frank C. Mills, C. Prealinouz, Carver W. Rains, Louis Rice, John Scott, V.P Seargeant, Stanislaus Szmidensk, and Mat S. Wallace.

La Grange Journal Obituary, March 1914
Haynes, David. Catching Shadows, A Directory of 19th-Century Texas Photographers. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1993.
Photograph courtesy of Nancy Kelsey.

The photos above and the one to the right are probably friends or relatives of the Jergins, Zuhn, or Phillips families.
Contributed by Cathey Cline.

Petersen photo found in Elm Mott antique shop
Unidentified member of Fayette Light Guard
Contributed by Gary McKee
Back of Light Guard photo
Photo found in Elm Mott, TX antique shop
Contributed by Heather Stephenson
Successfully identified as Herman Schaefer!
identified as Otto Schaefer and Emma Bradstetter!
Above photos are friends or relatives of Ella Schaefer Fiebig, possibly Schaefers.
Contributed by Barbara Boyd
Identified as Louis Julius Oeding (1894-1986)
Identified as Elmer George Oeding (1903-1956)

Identified by Donna Scott as Dora Ulrich Schlottmann, daughter of Carol Ulrich and Frida Otto of Bluff, and wife of Johannas John Friedrich Schlottmann
Above photos are relations or friends of the J.J. & Marie Albrecht Munke Family of Bluff/Ammansville communities, the Julius and Louise Mueller Oeding Family of Blackjack, the Paul and Margaret Munke Oeding Family of Ammansville, or the John & Marie Klaevemann Koenig Family of Blackjack.
Contributed by Jon Todd Koenig
Friend/Relative of the Thorpe, Tharp, or Rockwell Families
This photo contributed by Karen Hangsleben is part of a Martinsburg, WV family photo album.
Edward Gustav Lang
Photo found in a Livingston, TX antique store by Doyle Armstrong. Identified by Kathy Stark, granddaughter of Lang's sister, Pauline Lang Johnson.
John Henderson Taylor
John Henderson Taylor
Photo found in an antique store and returned to the family.
Friends or Relatives of the Loessin, Vogt or Willrich Families
Contributed by Sandy Otto
Friends or relatives of the Ruebush family
Contact David Smith
Now Identified as the Lang Sisters, ca 1890s
Found in an Livingston, TX antique store and contributed by Brownie MacKie [e-mail address now unknown]. Kathy Stark has identified these young ladies as Celestine, Pauline, and Marie Delphine Lang.
Friend or relative of Zoch family
Contact Tonya Zoch Hettler
Friend or relative of Zoch family
Contact Tonya Zoch Hettler
On back is written "Andrew Berg"
Tonya believes this may be the Andreas Berk Family, in which case the people pictured would be Johanna Paulina (Grabein) Berk holding Selma, Adolph Carl, Martha, Andreas and little Max.
Contact Tonya Zoch Hettler
Friends or relatives of Hillmann or Richers families
Contact Carla Hillman Ratcliff
Found in a San Antonio, TX antique store
Contributed by MART2RIV@aol.com
Found in a San Antonio, TX antique store
Contributed by MART2RIV@aol.com

Contribute Your Photos

In order to ensure that posted unidentified photos pertain to Fayette County, they must have a Fayette County photographer's mark.

Louis Rice, La Grange & Flatonia

Louis Rice, La Grange photographerLouis Rice was born in 1843 in Baden and immigrated in 1850. He is listed on the Victoria County tax roll by 1872 and on the Fayette County tax roll by 1887. The March 5, 1914 La Grange Journal states that Mrs. Louis Rice has disposed of the photography studio to Mrs. Lucille Franks, who would also use it as a photography studio.

Photo courtesy of the Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives
Haynes, David. Catching Shadows, A Directory of 19th-Century Texas Photographers. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1993.
La Grange Journal
Now identified as Emma Laas Witte.
Thank you Sidney Levesque!
Contributed by Tommy Heinsohn and Rox Ann Johnson
hese photos are friends or relatives of Clara Surman Heinsohn
Contributed by Tommy Heinsohn and Rox Ann Johnson
The photos above are probably friends or relatives of the Jergins, Zuhn, or Phillips families.
Contributed by Cathey Cline.
Labelled as "Tack Millican's sister", W. W. Millican's "daughter by his first wife", Sarah J. Heflin West whom he married in 1861. W. W. Millican was living in Fayette County in 1870 with his Sawyer in-laws and his son James Robert "Tack" Millican. No daughter was with them in 1870. W.W. Millican married Laura Sawyer in Fayette County in 1865, but she died 10 days after son James Robert was born in Jan 1868.
Contributed by Mack Stephenson
Herald Planter,
Hallettsville, 13 Aug 1874


MR. LOUIS RICE, respectfully informs the citizens of Halletsville and vicinity that he has located himself in the square and is prepared to take PHOTOGRAPHS, AMBROTYPES, and GEMS in the highest style of art. Having all the modern improvements will guarantee satisfaction to all who favor him with a call. Special attention paid to copying and enlarging likenesses of deceased persons.

"Secure the shadow,
Ere the substance fades."

Friends or Relatives of the Evans, Meyers, McKinney, Ford, Rutledge, or Dorman Families
The insignia on the hat, left, is a wreath encircling what appears to be FR.
Both photos were marked Louis Rice, Victoria and Flatonia.
Photos contributed by Dorothy Lauery.
The La Grange Journal,
1 Jul 1897

Rice's New Photo Studio.

My new photography gallery, which has been furnished with the best and most improved sky-light in Texas, is now finished. Am prepared to make any style and any size photograph. The public is respectfully invited to visit my gallery and see my work. Satisaction [sic.] guaranteed.
Friends or Relatives of the Loessin, Vogt or Willrich Families
Contributed by Sandy Otto
Friends or Relatives of the Loessin, Vogt or Willrich Families
Heather Stephenson has now identified this photo as Ernst Knigge Jr. and his wife, Anna Vogt Knigge.
Contributed by Sandy Otto

Charles A. Meyer, La Grange

Charles A. Meyer was born in Germany in 1865 and immigrated in 1885. He was in business at O'Quinn with Louis Melcher for a time and also worked in Giddings.

Haynes, David. Catching Shadows, A Directory of 19th-Century Texas Photographers. Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1993.

Has now been identified as Fritz Otell and wife,
Wilhelmine (Minna) Melcher.
Contributed by Sandy Otto
Found in a Clifton, Texas Antique Shop
Contributed by Brett Schneider

Will A. Robinson, La Grange & Yoakum, Hallettsville & Edna

See unidentified Robinson photographs at Lavaca County TXGenWeb Project

Unidentified Photographer, La Grange

La Grange, Texas stamped on back of photograph

Now positively identified as Moritz Gebert (1851-1920) who married Bertha Mueller
Contributed by Collin Maney

Travelling Photographers

The States Right Democrat, La Grange, February 12, 1859


THE Ladies and Gentlemen of La Grange and Fayette county are respectfully informed by W. B. Clark, that his room is now open over Cavanagh's store, for a short time only. Those wishing a true and correct likeness of themselves or friends, are invited to give him a call.
Prices moderate.
February 12, 1859.

See More Unidentified Photographs by photographers in
Fayetteville Flatonia Schulenburg

Lavaca County Unidentified Photographs

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