Saturday, February 23, 2013

Community Member Photographs From Chippewa County, Minnesota, 1870s-1880s

Are your ancestors among these photographs of family, friends and neighbors in early Chippewa County, Minnesota?

A few years ago, I learned of a collection of carte-de-visite photographs that belonged to my great grandparents, Ole M. and Malla Johnson, of Leonard, Minnesota. Carte-de-visite photographs are roughly 2-inches by 3.5-inches. These visiting-card size photos became popular for trading between friends and family in the mid-19th century, much like school photographs of the 20th century. Although cabinet-card photographs started to become popular during the 1870s, there were still plenty of carte-de-visite images produced during that decade, especially in more rural areas of the United States, where trends always caught on a bit later than in metropolitan areas.

My great grandparents also owned several cabinet card albums, but these smaller carte-de-visite photographs were kept as a loose stack. They probably belonged to Ole M. Johnson or his mother, Thibertine Johnson, since many of the photos appear to be dated from before Ole married in 1886. The earliest photo known of Thibertine Johnson was among the stack of carte-de-visites taken in Granite Falls, Chippewa County. Judging by her apparent age, the photo was probably taken at about the time she earned United States citizenship, in or before 1875. Present in the group of Montevideo photos is an image of her husband, Baard Johnson, with whom she immigrated from Norway in 1866. Baard and Thibertine Johnson first settled in Chippewa County, Minnesota in 1868. Baard Johnson died in July 1872, so his carte-de-visite photograph (A. Brandmo, photographer, Montevideo), must date from between 1868-1872.

I have arranged the images in two albums according to the location of the photographer:  Montevideo or Granite Falls. The photographs seem to be a collections of friends, family, and neighbors of the Johnsons in Chippewa County, Minnesota. Unfortunately, they are not labeled with anything other than the photographer's imprint on the back, in most cases. I am hoping that others who are interested in family history pertaining to Chippewa County will find these photographs and recognize someone from among their families.

Johnson Carte-de-Visite Photos; Montevideo, MN

Johnson Carte-de-Visite Photos, Granite Falls, MN

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