Thursday, October 7, 2010

Old Photograph of Mr. Freese driving the Louis Moore Childs family of Norristown, Pennsylvania, to Katahdin Iron Works in Maine

Here is a wonderful old photograph that I paid a pretty penny for, but I just could not resist.  It shows a Mr. Freese driving the "Lawyer Childs" family of Norristown, Pennsylvania, to K. I. W., which I assume to be Katahdin Iron Works in Piscataquis County, Maine.   According to the handwritten identification, the photo has a "moonlight effect".

From online research, hopefully correct:

Louis Moore Childs was born 2 June 1900 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, the son of Jacob and Lydia (Foss) Childs of Pennsylvania.  His paternal grandparents were John and Ann Thomas (Moore) Childs.  His maternal grandparents were Joseph and Esther (Jones) Foss.

On 26 September 1889, he married Alice Grace Hibberd, who was born 27 March 1864 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Norris B. and Sarah E. (Hibberd) Hibberd.  Her paternal grandparents were Benjamin and Mary Ann (Foreman) Hibberd.  Her maternal grandparents were Seth and Sarah (Thompson) Hibberd.

Louis Moore Childs and his wife Alice Grace (Hibberd) Childs had at least three children, one of whom was Louis Moore Childs, Jr., also a lawyer, I believe, but he was born in 1920 and too young to be the father in this photograph.

I found an interesting bio on Louis Moore Childs in which he was mentioned as a great lover of the outdoors, which perhaps, on its own, explains why his family happened to be trekking to Katahdin Iron Works in Piscataquis County, Maine in the late 1800s or early 1900s.  Interestingly, however, he and his father had interests in the iron industry; perhaps this was partly a business trip, as well.

As for the Mr. Freese driving the wagon, it's possible he is William Wallace Freese, born 27 August 1848 in Maine, the son of Andrew Jackson Freese and his wife Amelia Parsons (Bickford) Freese.  His paternal grandparents were John and Rebekah (Rider) Freese.  His maternal grandparents were Benjamin and Lydia (Cram) Bickford.

In 1900 William Wallace Freese was operating a hotel in the Bowdoin College Grant, which was possibly where the Childs family was boarding when this photograph was made.  His wife Belle (Burnham of Howland, Maine) was helping him.  He had been married earlier to Emma Augusta Mason of Howland and had three children with her; I'm not sure what happened to that earlier marriage as I have found one online reference to where Emma Augusta lived until the 1940s, but most references do not give her death date.

By the 1910 Census, William Wallace Freese was divorced from Belle and living with his son Clarence in California.  The family had lived earlier in California, as Clarence was born there, and the family is enumerated in the 1880 Census in Sacramento as husband W. W., wife E. A. and children M. L. and A. E., but no Clarence, who was not born until November of 1881 in Folsom, California.

I found another Mr. Freese, also in the hotel business, Melvin Freese, born about 1851, but he was a bit farther away in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

If you have any corrections, additions or insights regarding the information presented above, especially if you have a different Mr. Freese in mind, please leave a comment in the comments box or contact me directly.

A map of Katahdin Iron Works, off Route 11, between Brownville Junction and Millinocket, Maine.

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A map of Norristown, Pennsylvania:

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Thanks for stopping by!

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