The Picture Bin: The Face of Sullivan County in 1900

Lehigh Valley Railroad Yard
Sayre, Bradford County, PA
About 1915
The men of Sullivan County went to work on the Lehigh Valley.
The shops and rail yards at Sayre were the hub of their work lives
as they rode and worked on the lines from Buffalo to New York and Philadelphia. Compare this photo with the picture at the end of this page.
Photo Contributed by Carol Brotzman
Source: Photo Album of Ellen Crawford Shefler, 1918

The Picture Bin: The Face of Sullivan County
In the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Note: Remember to click the pictures to see them full size!

Early in 1999, after over a year of research and phone calls, I learned the whereabouts of a treasure trove of pictures from the turn of the century. The story goes like this. When Annie (McDonald) Sweeney died in November 1950, she was keeping two old picture volumes in her possession. One was covered in red velvet and one in gold. According to Rose (North) Drummond, Annie’s grand-daughter, These albums held pictures of the old ancestors of the Sweeney family. After Annie’s death, they passed from one descendant to another and gradually became lost to view. However, eventually word reached Annie’s grandchildren in the Detroit area. The albums were sitting under a bed in the home of Hugh and Mary Ann (McDonald) Montpetit. Hugh, an amateur photographer, was gracious enough to scan and send me copies of the priceless photographs. Many of the pictures are distributed throughout this Web Page in sections describing the history and fortunes of the Sweeney and McDonald families. However, several photographs were made of individuals whose relationship, if any, to our family is unknown. They are posed in the attached gallery for you the reader to meet across time’s ocean of a century. If any of you can identify the "unknowns" in these pictures, tell us and we will post the information on the Page or Query Boards.

In fact, recently we did become aware of the identity of the man in the picture at the bottom of the page, Julius Long. He was the grandfather of Phyllis (Long) Rockwell who contacted this site to try to find out more about the history of her family. Imagine her surpise when I mentioned that we had a picture of someone named Long. You will find two groups of photographs in this collection. Some must have been taken in a local photographer’s shop, perhaps the famous Ott and Hayes shop in Towanda, Bradford county, 26 miles north of Dushore. Thousands of these glass negatives from 1895 onward have been preserved and catalogued in the Bradford County Historical Society collection in Towanda. We don't know for sure where, but the posed pictures suggest a formal staging area such as a photographer might provide.

The second set of pictures appear to have been taken locally, then sent off to be developed. These are the photos with Pennebacker Studio printed on the margin. The notice also says this studio is in Columbia, PA, far to the south of Sullivan county near York in "Pennsylvania Dutch" and Amish country. I cannot imagine that the farmers and common people of Sullivan county trooped off over 100 miles for a picture shoot. Therefore, the pictures must have been mailed or couriered for development in Columbia, then mailed back. Perhaps a local shop had the photos developed remotely. The Pennebacker name is an old and famous one in the southern part of Pennsylvania, but I have not so far been able to determine any specifics about the history of this studio or whether any records survive. And we don’t know how these pictures came into the possession of Grandma Annie either. But there they rest in the old albums next to pictures of Margaret Jordan, Margaret Sweeney, John Sweeney, Lizzie Sweeney and the rest. Little did Grandma Annie realize what a gift she was preserving for posterity.

These album photos are available through the gracious contribution of Hugh and Mary Ann Montpetit of Grosse Point Farms, Michigan.

Further down the page, you will find a selection of other old photos from the area for which we would love additional information. We have selected them somewhat randomly, either because their method of production was unique for certain eras or because the subject matter is useful and informative about life in Sullivan County and the surrounding related communities. If you can help us out, speak up! We'll give you credit and you'll also have a role in preserving our history.

johnthallmikebyrontommckernan.jpg alicesmithettaklump.jpg amyfitzpatrickdanmclaney.jpg mikecainhughmcdonaldmaryv.thall.jpg johnsweeneyhenryfillemmakargeellasweeney.jpg jackquinnjackmcgeehenryfillhenryharrison.jpg jimgallagheralrhone.jpg dorothywoodsellasweeney.jpgellafarrellcollins.jpg peterwhalencharliemcmanusunnamed.jpg henryfillhenrycook.jpg henryfill.jpg ellayanney.jpgemmakargeessiedunn.jpg

Lizzie Cowley, Lizzie Sweeney, Agnes Wales. Circa 1900

Julius Long, husband of Mary Susan Barth. Circa 1900

Contributed by Robert E "Bob" Sweeney


Some Unknowns:
Note: All photos can be expanded by clicking on the image.

Possibly the Landback Saw Mill
Sullivan County, PA Undated
The man on the far right, based on other photographic sources, is George Landback, son of Harvey and Caroline (Thrasher) Landback. He owned a sawmill in Sullivan County in the 1880s and 1890s. The man wearing a hat in the second row, and standing between the boy and the woman, is believed to be Charles Edward Hunsinger, brother-in-law to George. Charles was married to Annie Landback, sister of George. You can learn more about this family at The Descendants of Harvey Landback and Caroline Thrasher.
We do not, as of 2012, know the other people in the photo.
Photo Contributed by Carol Beverlin
Great Granddaughter of Charles Edward Hunsinger.

In early 2013, Carol Beverlin added the following comments about the preceding photo:

I'm not sure when it was taken. My sister and I found it among my mother's things after her death 15 years ago. It could have belonged to her grandfather, Charles Edward Hunsinger, and was always in his possession, being passed on to his daughter, Caroline Hunsinger Stewart, after his death in Kansas. Or perhaps one of my grandmother's Landback aunts sent it to her during her adult life. I don't imagine I'll ever know. I hope someone will recognize a relative among the others in the photograph. Thanks for posting it on the Sullivan County website.

Robertson Barber Shop
L. R. Robertson owned the tannery near Laporte at one time, but we have found no other connection of a Robertson in Sullivan County as of 2012 to this barber shop. The photo appears to be taken at a train station or boarding house or both.
Photo Contributed by Connie Hatch

Two Tintypes Perhaps Showing the Same Two Men
Ferrotype Process with Black Lacquer Finish
Other tintypes in the collection, including an early photo of the John Hazen mill
near the covered bridge in Sonestown, could be dated into the 1860's.
Photo Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Original Auctioned on eBay in September 2012

One Armed Minister
Undated Dushore PA
Published by Hoag Studio
Photo Contributed by Scott W. Tilden
Original Auctioned on eBay in September 2014

The one-armed minister appears in an old RPPC postcard but tells us nothing about the identity or denomination. Nancy Spencer from the Sullivan County Historical Society suggested soon after this posting that the subject of the photo looks like the Reverend John A. Enright, who served the Catholic community in Sullivan County from at least 1888 through 1922. She proposes that his arm is in his pocket beneath the vestments as an alternative to being one-armed.Click on the photo for an enlarged version.

Update: Shortly after the posting about the "one-armed" prelate, Carol Brotzman uncovered detailed information about Father Enright. As recorded in his Death Certificate, he was born on Jue 7, 1863 to Michael and Jane Enright of Allegany, Cattaraugus County, NY. He died on October 16, 1922 in Mildred, Sullivan County, PA from the effects of diabetes mellitus. Father Enright is buried in St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, NY.

Of equal interest and somewhat of a mystery is the identity of the photo publisher, shown as "Hoag" on the image. Other photos from that era are known to ber the imprint of "I. M. Hoag" on the images. We therefore believe, based on inputs from Lyle Rockwell and Nancy Spencer, and from the apparent fact that there was only one "I. M. Hoag" in the local census records, that this photo source is likely Isaac Martin Hoag, born August 6. 1868 to Albert Denning and Sarah Alice (Bartram) Hoag. This Hoag family originated in Connecticut, moved around to several communities, but then settled in Dushore in 1892. Albert and Sarah are buried in Fairview Cemetery, near Dushore, PA. Isaac later married, moved to Waverly, NY and was employed in furniture manufacturing. He passed away on October 28, 1960. Lyle Rockwell believes Isaac may have been in the photography business before moving to Waverly. We have an obituary for Albert, courtesy of Nancy Spencer, as well as a marriage notice for Isaac both from the Sullivan Review:

Sullivan Review
Vol. 52, No. 4
Dushore, PA
January 23,1929

Albert D. Hoag died Tuesday January 22 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. R. H. Robbins, following an illness of several years. Mr. Hoag was born in Sharon, Connecticut in 1844. He was a miller bv trade. He moved with his family to Sugar Run in 1886 where he remained about 6 years. He then came to Dushore in 1892 and for many years was engaged by L. S. Burch & Co. as miller for the Dushore Roller Mills.
He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Mary L. Vandermark of Sugar Run and Mrs. Mertie Robbins of this place and four sons, Isaac Hoag of Waverly, Frank A. Hoag of Lopez; Chas. E. Hoag of Athens and Robert H. Hoag of this place.
Funeral service will be held Friday from his home at 9:45 and at St. Paul's Evangelical church at 10:00 a. m.
Interment will be made in the family plot in Bahr Hill cemetery.

Sullivan Review
Dushore, PA
Oct. 1, 1896

Mr. I.M. HOAG, of this place, was on Tuesday married to Miss Bertha LEHMAN of Wyalusing. Mr. HOAG is one of our very finest young men, has a good business and fine prospects, and his wife may congratulate herself upon her excellent husband. We are totally unacquainted with the lady, but doubt not that she is all a bride ought to be - lovable and beautiful. We extend congratulations.

Laurenson and Bennett Family Reunion
Davidson Township 1925-1930
Possibly Held at the Farmstead of Walter Laurenson
Identifications: The gentleman standing in the back row on the far right is Tracy Laurenson, son of Walter H. Laurenson (brother to George W. Laurenson). The man four to the left of Tracy, next to the two women, appears to be Elmer Laurenson (son of George and Ruth Bennett Laurenson). In the middle of the frame, standing above the kneeling gentleman dressed in black, is Elmer's twin sister, Martha Laurenson. Three to the left of her is one of Walter Laurenson's daughters (Ruth or Martha, not sure which). The woman standing on the far right is likely Ruth (Bennett) Laurenson.
You can learn more about this family at Some Descendants of Joel and Sarah Bird Bennett.
We do not, as of 2014, know the other people in the photo.
Photo and Identifications Contributed by Shawn Miller
Grandson of the Late Margaret Laurenson of Picture Rocks, PA
Date estimate courtesy of Nancy LIttle Spencer


Lehigh Valley Railroad Yard
Sayre, Bradford County, PA
About 1982
The shops and yard were dismantled in the 1980s and 1990s and the builidngs shown here no longer exist.
Compare this photo with the picture at the top of this page.
Photo Contributed by Lynn Franklin

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