Early Photographers

Nineteenth Century Photographers of
Pulaski & Giles County

As early as the 1830's photographs were being taken in the United States. Pulaski, Tennessee, being a very progressive small city, soon had resident photographers who recorded much of her history. Today many of those old photographs are hidden away in boxes and albums throughout the United States with many of the subjects photographed no longer remembered.

For those of you who have those old photographs tucked away, this is an attempt to help you determine the dates that some of those photographs were made. Utilizing primarily the advertisements and articles that appeared in our local newspaper, THE PULASKI CITIZEN, and its forerunners, this is an effort to name the professional photographers of nineteenth century Pulaski and to give the approximate dates that they worked in Pulaski and Giles County.

Even before the first professional photographer came to Pulaski, we had a resident artist. THE TENNESSEE DEMOCRAT dated October 21, 1852, announced:

PORTRAIT PAINTING. H. KELSEY would respectfully inform the citizens of Pulaski and vicinity, that he has opened a room at the Dwelling House of T. S. Riddle, where he is prepared to take Portraits in Oil Colors, in superior style.

Any person having Portraits, Miniatures, Daguerreotypes, or Engravings, desiring copies, can obtain them by calling on H. K.

The public are respectfully invited to call and examine specimens.

Pulaski's earliest known professional photographer was Wm G. Cannon, a young man in his mid-twenties when he opened his studio. In the December 17, 1858 edition of THE PULASKI CITIZEN he announced:
PICTURES! PICTURES! I have now permanently located in Pulaski and am now prepared to take pictures of all kinds and sizes, from the smallest to the largest, at prices from $1 to $30. If not full satisfaction given, no charge made. Persons will please call and examine my specimens. Rooms till Christmas at Mrs. Mosley's Hotel.
An example of Cannon's work is this photo of Dr. William Thomas Barrett:
In January, 1859, Wm G. Cannon moved his picture gallery to the southeast corner of the square, into the building formerly occupied by the Post Office. In December, 1859, Cannon moved his photograph gallery to the east side of the square, over J. A. P. Skillern's dry good store. On April 23, 1868, the entire east side of Pulaski's square was destroyed by fire. Among the many businesses burned out was Cannon's Picture Gallery.

During the War Between the States, one of Pulaski's best known photographs was taken. The Giles County courthouse, surrounded by Union soldiers, was captured by a camera. Believed by some to have been taken on the day Sam Davis was executed, TH. Gubelman made this photograph:

The opening of W. D. Murphy's The Elite Art Gallery was announced in January, 1866 editions of THE PULASKI CITIZEN. Murphy came to Pulaski from Madison County, Alabama, and offered Pearl Miniatures, Photographs, Vignetts, Cartes De Visite, etc. Murphy advertised photographs for $6 per doz. or $3 1/2 per 1/2 doz.; pearls $12, $15, and $20 apiece; other pictures at various prices; double price for bad children. (Pearls were photographs that were hand colored, producing an elegant, life-like portrait.) The Elite Art Gallery was located upstairs, precisely east of the court house.

In 1870, Charles A. Hall and Ben Gregory operated Hall & Gregory's FINE ART GALLERY in Pulaski. They were located on the east side of the square in McKissack's new building. McKissack's new building had been built in the latter part of 1868, after the east side of the square had been destroyed by fire.

An example of Hall & Gregory's photography is this picture of Wade Barrett and possibly one of his brothers (Thomas with beard per Carol Sue Gibbs):

THE PULASKI CITIZEN of October 30, 1879, carried the announcement of a new photograph gallery to be opened in Pulaski:
C. S. Judd of Sewana, Tenn., will open a first class PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY in Pulaski about the 1st of December. He will have every facility for making Fine Pictures of all kinds.
C. S. Judd's stay in Pulaski was short, for by early 1883 he had moved his gallery to Columbia, Tennessee.

A fine example of his work is this photograph of Judge Thomas McKissack Jones, a veteran of the Seminole War and one of the most prominent men in the history of Pulaski.:
Alex D. Anquinos advertised in the May 1, 1884 edition of THE PULASKI CITIZEN:
For the best pictures you ever had, call at Professor Anquinos's Gallery.
The February 5, 1885 edition of THE PULASKI CITIZEN carried this announcement:
Now is the time to have your picture taken. Do not wait until it is too late. J. S. Patterson. Pulaski Art Gallery.
In the August 20, 1885 edition he advertised:
THE PULASKI ART GALLERY is now opened for business. The best chance you ever had to get first-class pictures at reasonable prices. So come at once and bring all your family. Everything in first-class style. J. S. Patterson, Operator.
For the next twelve to fifteen years, J. S. Patterson was Pulaski's leading photographer. Although he closed his gallery several times and moved away, he always returned to Pulaski. His assistant, Felix Raymer eventually became his partner. When the nineteenth century was nearing its end, Patterson & Raymer had galleries in Union City, Lewisburg and Pulaski. This unidentified photograph is an example of Patterson's work:
C. D. Baugh advertised in the April 26, 1894 edition of THE PULASKI CITIZEN:
Photographs. One dozen cabinets for $2.00, and one large boudoir picture and a 22 x 36 handsome landscape thrown in. Only at BAUGH'S. Photographs are equal to any, though he only charges $2.00 a dozen for cabinets, and gives with every dozen a handsome 22 x 36 landscape picture. Only at BAUGH'S. Will make tintypes on Saturdays and First Mondays at 25 cents for two. These prices are for the above days only. Remember the place. BAUGH'S.
An example of Baugh's work:
The May 26, 1898 edition of THE PULASKI CITIZEN carried this notice:
Photographs at LeFans gallery for the next two weeks at twenty-five cents. Everyone should take advantage of this offer. It won't last long.


Special thanks to Carol Sue Gibbs of Bay City, Texas, who furnished two of the photographs used in this article. Interested persons may aid in further research of 19th century Giles County photographers by sending information about the photographers and copies of photographs to:

Bob Wamble
585 Short School Road
Pulaski, TN 38478
E-mail - rbwamble@usit.net

Submitted by: Bob Wamble