Bingaman-Rice Family Photo: A Contemporary Misidentification?

Comparing the caption on a treasured family photo with information from the census to resolve an incorrect identification

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A photograph of a family member who lived and died before anyone now living remembers is akin to finding the Holy Grail for genealogists. An old photograph captures what mere words cannot. This message is reinforced by watching popular television series like “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Finding Your Roots”. Oftentimes the professional genealogists on the respective shows manage to track down a photograph of the celebrity subject’s family who are clearly moved when the image of their long-dead ancestor is revealed to them for the first time.

I can certainly relate to this feeling. It was looking at early family photographs with older family members and listening to their stories that were the “hook” for me and my life-long interest in genealogy and family history.

Provenance
I have had a photograph in my personal collection for at least fifteen years, gifted to me by my father for safe-keeping due to the damage. It is torn, stained, scuffed and tinged with mold but is precious nonetheless. It is the only photo we have of Josephus Bingaman (1844-1931) and his wife, Mary Rice (1849-1917), and their children. Today the original photograph is stored in a Hollinger metal edge archival box in my home office. A framed copy of the photo sits on my mantle.

When I first laid eyes on this particular photo as a young teenager, it was stuffed in an overflowing metal file box, along with other photos, letters, bills and the like. What I don’t know is when or where my father acquired the photo. When questioned about the provenance of the photograph last October, Dad admitted he did not remember where or from whom he had gotten it. He offered three or four possibilities, but nothing definite. Because the photo is of my father’s grandfather and great-grandparents, it seems most likely that he received the photo from his great-aunt, Wanda (Bingaman) Jensen. Growing up estranged from his father, first by war, followed by a divorce, it was she that filled in some of the gaps for Dad about his paternal ancestors from Kansas. She provided other photos to Dad of his Bingaman ancestors over the years, and he seems to have inherited others upon her death. Our family even moved to the same small community where she lived in the mid-1970s.

This original photograph, mounted on a heavy card backing, is undated and has no visible photographer’s imprint to tell us the name of the studio. An apparently contemporary caption was recorded by an unknown hand. The inked notation reads: “Aunt Mary & Uncle Joe Bingman & family and Tressie Rice.

Besides this caption, someone took the time to number the children depicted in the photograph, and record their names, as follows:

  1. Henry
  2. Fred
  3. Frank
  4. Rice
  5. Oliver
  6. Elizabeth, Lizzie
  7. Bert
  8. George

Upon closer inspection, three persons in the picture have no numeral or notation. Two of them are clearly the parents, Mary Rice and Josephus Bingaman, the oldest members of the family group. The third unnumbered individual, then, is supposed to be Tressie Rice, the young woman shown on the far left of the group. On the surface, there is no reason to doubt this identification; whoever recorded the information using a fountain pen did so long ago, much closer to the event than I am today. Whether the information was captured about the time of the taking of the photograph is unknown. Fountain pens were commonly used for at least the first half of the twentieth century.

Two things jump out at me immediately: 1) the caption was probably recorded by a niece or nephew due to the use of the words “aunt” and “uncle” to describe the parents and 2) the surname of BINGAMAN has been misspelled “BINGMAN”. If the writer shared the last name of Bingaman then, chances are, they would have spelled the name correctly. The caption was likely penned by someone on the Rice side of the family. This is pure speculation on my part, though.

Comparisons
Fortunately, we have another photograph of my great-grandfather, Edward Frederick Bingaman (called “Fred”) to use for comparative purposes. The individual photo of Fred seen in the slideshow above was taken in Garnett, Kansas in 1898. I do not see a great deal of difference between the two images, so my initial impression is that the group photograph was taken within a few years at most of the dated photograph, say 1900-1901. One thing is certain: the photograph was made before 1917, as Mary (Rice) Bingaman died in February of that year.

For additional clues as to when the photo may have been captured, I turned to the 1900 Federal census. Taken in the United States every ten years, it is the census closest to the estimated date of the photograph. This should reveal the ages of family members in the photo at a fixed point in time and allow me to determine whether my initial estimate is correct by visual comparison.

It was in looking at the 1900 census that I first noticed a problem with the identifications of Lizzie Bingaman and Tressie Rice in the family photo. That year, Lizzie was recorded as eighteen years of age, and Tressie was only six years old.

1900 census household of Josephus Bingaman1900 census households of Josephus Bingaman, and his son, Edward F. Bingaman, with entries for Lizzie and Tressie highlighted. Click the photo to enlarge.

Dating the photograph to 1900 seems about right if the identification of the young woman and the girl in the photo are swapped. Assuming the census ages are correct, Tressie should be the girl marked as number 6, and Lizzie thus has no number recorded. I then looked at census entries for all family members to verify that the ages recorded in the 1900 census were not a simple mistake made by the census enumerator. They were not. In fact, ages tracked surprisingly well across the years when compared with state censuses taken on either side of the Federal enumeration. In doing the census research, it becomes obvious that the list of children was annotated in birth order.

Table 1. 1895-1905 census enumerations for the Josephus and Mary Bingaman family members. Adult children in their own households are included but footnoted separately.

Table 1 Bingaman census comparisons 1895-1905

While the estimate of 1900-1901 is probably fairly accurate based on visual comparison of individuals correlated with census research, undoubtedly more can be done to evaluate the clothing styles worn by those in the photo and studio props. An expert in fashion or Kansas photographers would likely be able to discern if my estimate is correct. Likewise, physical characteristics of the photographic print itself can also yield clues to the type of camera used or available photographic processes in certain time periods. I am not an expert in these esoteric subjects, so invite comments from experts in these fields. Some further specifics about the original print have been included below should someone with this knowledge wish to comment.

Details of the photographic print
Details of the photographic print. Click to enlarge.

If you have a copy of this photograph or copies of photographs of any of the persons shown in the Bingaman-Rice family photo in your family’s collection that could be used for comparison, I would like to hear from you. Please click on the title of this post to bring up commenting options.

This post and the associated images first appeared on AncestorRoundup.com on 28 Dec 2014. All images of the original photograph were created and edited by Dawn Bingaman. © 2014. All rights reserved.


Table 1 footnotes

[a] 1895 Kansas state census, Franklin County, population schedule, Pomona Twp., p. 6, dwelling/family 38, Joseph “Bingamin” household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 51. The children are all incorrectly attributed to dwelling 38, family 39, that of D.M. “Bingamin”. D.M. Bingaman was David Marion Bingaman, a Civil War soldier and brother of Josephus Bingaman. He and his wife, Ada (McKibben) Bingaman had no children.

[b] 1895 Kansas state census, Franklin County, population schedule, Lincoln Twp., p. 9, dwelling/family 49, C. H. Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel K-50.

[c] 1895 Kansas state census, Franklin County, population schedule Lincoln Twp., p. 9, dwelling/family 47, George Patterson household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel K-50.

[d] 1900 U.S. census, Anderson County, Kansas, population schedule, Jackson Twp., ED 18, sheet 4B, dwelling 76, family 81, Josephus Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 470.

[e] 1900 U.S. census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Lincoln Twp., ED 82, sheet 5A, dwelling 53, family 54, Cornelius Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 480.

[f] 1900 U.S. census, Anderson County, Kansas, population schedule, Jackson Twp., ED 18, sheet 4B, dwelling 77, family 82, Edward F. Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 470.

[g] 1900 U.S. census, Anderson County, Kansas, population schedule, Jackson Twp., ED 18, sheet 5A, dwelling 86, family 91, Frank L. Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 470.

[h] 1900 U.S. census, Osage County, Kansas, population schedule, Junction Twp., ED 119, sheet 3B, dwelling 56, family 57, Rice “Bingeman” in John Myres household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Dec 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 494.

[i] 1905 Kansas state census, Anderson County, Kansas, population schedule, p. 14, dwelling 1, family 4, Joe Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 4.

[j] 1905 Kansas state census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Ottawa, p. 7, dwelling 116, C. H. Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 55. The enumerator used a 1904 form and penned in column headings, omitting family numbers.

[k] 1905 Kansas state census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Ottawa, p. 1, dwelling/family 296, Fred Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 54.

[l] 1905 Kansas state census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Ottawa, p. 1, dwelling/family 295, F. L. Bingaman household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 54.

[m] 1905 Kansas state census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Hayes Twp., p. 61, dwelling 104, family 109, R. W. Bingaman in the H. Wright Smith household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 55.

[n] 1905 Kansas state census, Rice County, Kansas, population schedule, Wilson Twp., p. 3, dwelling 19, family 21, O. M. Bingaman in the Susanna Wills household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 136.

[o] 1905 Kansas state census, Franklin County, Kansas, population schedule, Franklin Twp., p. 6, dwelling 55, family 56, E. E. Crane in the W. J. Crane household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2014), citing Kansas Historical Society microfilm reel 55.

Headstone Record for Civil War Soldier David Bingaman

NARA Record Group 92: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General

 

David M. Bingaman (1842-1896), served in the Civil War in Companies C, D, and E of the 20th Indiana Infantry. Family lore has it that he was wounded in action at the Battles of Malvern Hill (1 Jul 1862) and Gettysburg (2 Jul 1863). He survived these wounds, but older brother, John M. Bingaman, whom David followed into the Army, perished in combat at Malvern Hill, Virginia. David went on to marry Amanda A. McKibben in 1871. They lived in Illinois, the Oklahoma Territory and Kansas. The couple had no children.

As a deceased Union Civil War veteran, his grave in Pomona, Kansas was marked with a headstone supplied at government expense in 1902, under legislation passed in 1879 (20 Stat. 281). Besides the allowance for grave markers for Union veterans in private, village and city cemeteries, the law stipulated

The Secretary of War shall cause to be preserved in the records of his Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected by authority of this or any former acts.1

Today, headstone records for interments in private cemeteries for the period between 1879 and roughly 1903 are part of Record Group (RG) 92 Office of the Quartermaster General. Per the catalog entry there are 166,000 cards that have been microfilmed on 22 rolls. The microfilm may be accessed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. or at regional branches of the National Archives. Nine 3” x 4” inch cards were microfilmed per frame. This microfilm collection has also been digitized, and is available at Ancestry.com as Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903.


Headstone card for David M. BingamanHeadstone card for 2 Lt. David M. Bingaman of the 20th Indiana

Information from the card is as follows:

Name: Bingaman, David M.
Rank: 2nd Lt.
Service: Co. D, 20th Regt., Ind[iana] Inf[antry]
Cemetery: Pomona
Cemetery Location: Pomona, Franklin Co., Kans.
Grave: [blank]
Date of Death: Nov 30 – 1896
Headstone Supplied by: Lee Marble Works
Contract Date: March 29, 19022

I have not yet been able to ascertain whether applications for headstones made between 1879-1903 might exist, although I have seen earlier examples online at NARA, and catalog entries for the period following. This will be added to my to-do list when I attend the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) in Washington, DC in July 2013.

Read more about this topic:

Kluskens, Claire Prechtel. “Headstone Records for US Military Veterans, Part II: Records for Headstones Requested from 1879 to 1925.” NGS Magazine 39:2 (April-June 2013), 32-35. A copy of this article may be downloaded by NGS members at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.

Mollan, Mark C. “Honoring Our War Dead: The Evolution of the Government Policy on Headstones for Fallen Soldiers and Sailors.” Prologue 35:1 (Spring 2003), 56-65. Online here.


Sources:

1 “An act authorizing the Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of Union soldiers who have been interred in private, village, or city cemeteries,” 20 Stat. 281 (3 Feb 1879).

2 “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903”, card for David M. Bingaman (1902); digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 May 2013), citing NARA microfilm publication M1845, roll 2.

Excerpts From a Life: Samuel Fryman

Newspaper excerpts from the life of Samuel Fryman (1807-1889)

I will never know my 3rd-great-grandfather, Samuel Fryman. None of his letters came down through our branch of the family. We have no photographs, no diaries or journals, no artifacts. Nothing tangible remains, other than his headstone in the old family burying ground in rural northwest Missouri.

His grand-daughter, my great-grandmother Maude Fryman Bingaman, died in 1921, long before anyone now living in that line remembers. Even the name of my 3rd-great-grandfather had been lost to us, and was only revealed through diligent research.

And yet, we can catch glimpses of him through the local newspapers from his community, available at the Chronicling America historic newspaper website. Certainly this does not tell the whole story of his life, but it does get us closer to learning at least some things he experienced while living and farming in Holt County, Missouri in the latter part of the nineteenth century. His lengthy obituary, near the end of this post, provides a wonderful sketch of his life, including the time he spent in the Home Guard during the Civil War.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 01 Mar 1872, p. 2, cols. 7-8
Holt County Expenditures
Feb 6, 1871    Samuel Fryman  support of pauper   7.50
Aug 11, 1871  Samuel Fryman  support of pauper  48.00

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 29 May 1874, p. 3, col. 3
—Sam Fryman, one of the well-to-do farmers of Holt county, started this week for Jewell and Graham counties, Kansas, where he intends to visit his sons.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Jan 1875, p. 2, col. 4
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Fryman, who spent the holidays among their relatives in Fulton county, Illinois, returned last Tuesday, having enjoyed their trip remarkably well. Listening to the story of these friends, one would suppose the people in Illinois were in favor of good living.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 23 Apr 1875, p. 2, cols. 3-4

1875 Holt County, Missouri taxpayers

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85034039/1875-04-23/ed-1/seq-2/

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 25 Apr 1879, p. 3, col. 3
TOWN AND COUNTY.
–Who has Samuel Fryman’s colt? See advertisement.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 25 Apr 1879, p. 3, col. 8

Samuel Fryman's stray colt notice

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85034039/1879-04-25/ed-1/seq-3/

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Aug 1879, p. 1, col. 4Death of Mrs. Mary Fryman

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85034039/1879-08-15/ed-1/seq-1/

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 03 Oct 1879, p. 4, col. 1
–Samuel Fryman intends having a large sale of personal property at his residence, 3 1-2 miles east of Oregon, on the 25th of this month.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 09 Jun 1882, p. 1, col. 2
–Samuel Fryman has purchased the residence of Samuel T. Huiatt, in the northwestern part of our city.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 09 Jun 1882, p. 1, col. 7
— Mr. Samuel Fryman and wife have been in our city several days, the guests of his daughter, Mrs. F. A. Smith. Mr. Fryman, will shortly remove to Oregon, and take up his permanent residence among us.

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 11 Aug 1882, p. 1, col. 1
–Samuel Fryman and grand-son, of Mound City, were visiting the family of J. Smith last week.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 23 Nov 1883, p. 1, col. 4
–Mrs. Fryman, wife of our esteemed citizen, Samuel Fryman, left last Monday for Cincinnati, Ohio, where she will be under medical treatment for cancer. We hope that she will return entirely recovered.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 07 Mar 1884, p. 1, col. 5
–Who enjoyed Samuel Fryman’s peaches?

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 02 Jan 1885, p. 1, col. 6
–Mrs. Samuel Fryman died at her home in this city on last Friday, of cancer.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 17 Apr 1885, p. 1, col. 6
Samuel Fryman is visiting relatives in Kansas.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 04 Dec 1885, p. 1, col. 5
Samuel Fryman and wife were visiting in the country Sunday.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 31 Dec 1886, p. 1, col. 4
–Samuel Fryman’s team ran away one day last week, throwing him out of his wagon, but fortunately he only received a few bruises that are not dangerous. His wagon was entirely demolished.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 08 Feb 1889, p. 1, col. 1
–Mrs. D. S. Alkire and youngest child, the children of E. L. Bonham and Uncle Sam Fryman are all on the sick list this week.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 15 Nov 1889, p. 1, col. 3
–Mr. Samuel Fryman and Mrs. Hannah Foster are lying very low, with but little hopes for their recovery.

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 22 Nov 1889, p. 4, col. 3.
DEATH ROLL.
FRYMAN.

Death Roll. Fryman. 1889

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1889-11-22/ed-1/seq-4/

Newspaper: Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Mo.), 08 Aug 1890, p. 1, col. 4
C. Hoblitzell has purchased the Samuel Fryman block on Anderson boulevarde [sic] and will probably erect four handsome residences.

Chronicling America is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress. Digital images of all news items were last accessed on the Chronicling America website 14 Feb 2013.

For an overview of basic search and navigation of the Chronicling America site, please see my prior post here.