Saturday, October 22, 2011

Discovery on The Cabinet Card Gallery

The fascination with cabinet cards began when our cousin sent the family several as a gift. This card of Carl Judd, 1st cousin 3x removed, and his friend Tot being one of my favorites.

While researching this particular medium I discovered a blog called The Cabinet Card Gallery. Each day the site posts a cabinet card with description of the subject. Many include information about the photographer and studio.

On Friday there was an amazing photograph called Short Haired Beauty In Danbury, Connecticut. What captured my attention immediately was how unusual the hair style was for this time-frame.

As I read the description the name E. Starr Sanford jumped out from the text. Add the name Starr with Danbury and you get a connection to my husband's ancestors.

Sure enough after a day spent researching I discovered E. Starr Sanford was the 6th cousin 2x removed of my husband.

Elias Starr Sanford was born September 27, 1861 in Danbury, Connecticut. He was the son of Charles Huntington Sanford and Mary Emmons. Grandson of Elias Starr Sanford and Elizabeth (Betsey) Wilcox. Great-grandson of Elijah Sanford and Elizabeth (Betsey) Starr.

Elias was a respected Danbury photographer where he ran a studio for many years. Eventually he partnered with Charles Henry Davis in New York City, New York. The team became "high society" portrait photographers to the likes of the Astors and Vanderbilts.

photograph from Wikipedia

In the late 1800's Elias built a lavish home in Danbury called Hearthstone Castle. The family resided here for five years before selling to Victor Buck, who changed the name of the home to Buck Castle.

There is an odd story surrounding the decline of E. Starr Sanford's life. The ship he traveled on to visit his son in Texas was hit by lighting,

The obituary states Elias never recovered from the shock. Also, the arteries in his eyes were greatly affected from the incident. Imagine how devastating this would be for a gifted photographer.

Just think, this information is part of family history because of an interest in cabinet cards. An ancestor hobnobbing with the upper crust, a family castle and high seas adventure!

Without Bruce Marsh and his blog these stories might never have come to light. Many thanks to Bruce for providing a piece of the Starr family puzzle.

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