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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2011-09-11 12:18 pm
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I think I may have identified some of these tintypes...

I've spent all morning with the Flip-Pal scanner, and my copy of Dressed for the Photographer, as well as the notes and research on my Meek family.

I have written before about my exasperation with my great grandmother, Maxie Leah (Meek) Williams, who was a consumate collector of photographs, but who hardly ever labeled them.

And it only took a little while after I inherited the photo album, begun in 1885, to realize that Maxie had squirreled away older photos between its leather covered wooden covers.

Which were also not labeled.

This morning I focused on the tintypes, because there were quite a few that had been taken in one photo session, and in the same location.
All these tintypes, which are of the heavier weight, bear marks of having been at one time encased in a paper folder, as was common to make it easy to mail them.

Tintypes came into common use beginning in 1856, so these photos could not have been taken before then. For several reasons, I am dating them between 1857 and the end of 1861, i.e., style of dress and hairstyle, composition of the family members for whom I have made definite and tentative identification, and the wholehearted participation of the Jefferson John Meek family in the Confederate States of America, beginning on 27 Mar 1862, when the Reverend Captain J J Meek started his very own CSA unit in Panola Co., MS.

I'm leaning toward sometime in 1861 as the actual date of the photos.
Since I knew these tintypes pre-dated the official "beginning" of the photo album at Christmas 1885, I had to figure out who these folks were who were obviously important to Maxie Leah Meek.

They could have been members of her mother's or father's family.

I looked first at the family of Mary Emily Conner, who was born in 1837 in DeSoto County, MS.

Mary had fair hair, as did her younger brother, James Alfred Conner. Most of these folks had dark hair, like Maxie's. There were not enough boys in Mary's family for these folks to be Conners.

So I looked at Maxie's father, James Alexander Meek. The apparent ages of the people in the tintypes fit fairly well with the Meeks.

I think the people in the photo above are Jefferson John Meek, his wife Henrietta "Hettie" (Donahoo) Meek, and their youngest child, Virginia Tennessee Meek, who was born 15 Jan 1859.

I think this is a photo of my great great grandfather, James Alexander Meek, and was probably taken because he and his father had decided to fully invest themselves in fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. I think that reason may have been the impetus for all of these photos, because who knew who would be around at the end of the thing?

I think this is Robert D Meek, younger brother of James Alexander. There was a brother between them - William McEwen Meek - but he died at the age of 5 in 1843, and was buried in the family cemetery in Laws Hill, MS. If this is Robert, he didn't live long after this photo was taken, as he died in a Confederate POW camp in Alton, IL of smallpox on 16 Jun 1863.

I think this is Permelia Frances "Fanny" Meek. She had an older sister, Martha Bolton Meek, who died at the age of 17 in 1857, and I think these photos were taken after Martha's death.

I think this is either John G Meek (born in 1849), or Thomas Jefferson Meek (born 3 Jan 1850).

I think this may be Malsey K Meek, born in 1845.

I think this may be Lucy A Meek, born in 1847.

I feel less certain about the last two photos, because if they were taken in 1861, those girls don't look old enough to me to be Malsey and Lucy. I am almost certain I have accounted for all of the children of Jefferson John Meek and Henrietta Donahoo - so there aren't other possibilities.
I'd love for some other Meek researcher with photos to get in touch with me...

And I believe I'm going to shell out some cash to get a custom mat for these tintypes and frame them all together.

(Anonymous) 2011-09-12 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
Congratulations on your identifications. I have an album with unidentified tintypes but haven't been able to fix the time period of a few. One even looks like clothing from the old country, but haven't been able to find anything similar.