Susan Taylor Block

 

This daguerreotpye is the first known photograph of Wilmington and the first landscape photo taken in North Carolina. (Amon Carter Museum)

Part I

In the seductive world of researching important unidentified photographs, objectivity sometimes marries possibilities. Such is the case with a mysterious daguerreotype of downtown Wilmington, currently housed in the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. The photograph, complete with developed fingerprints, was published in Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, by Martha Sandweiss, Rick Stewart, and Ben W. Huseman. The story behind the photo is a tale of progressive revelation.

Shot from the windowsill of a building sitting at roughly 18 feet above sea level, the camera is aimed east on Market Street towards St. James Church, at 30 feet above sea level: a veritable mountain in Wilmington. Today trees obscure some of the same view, but the church and the house in the foreground have survived. The Hill-Wright-Wootten House, at 11 South Third Street, (right) was razed in the 1950s.[i]

In 1981, Martha Sandweiss, curator of photographs for the Amon Carter Museum, in Fort Worth, submitted a photocopy of the picture to Dr. H. G. Jones, then curator of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina. The sixth-plate daguerreotype was part of a collection of fifty-three daguerreotypes that the museum was about to acquire. Most of the photos could be dated 1847. All but handfuls were images of the Mexican War (1846-1848).

Dr. Jones, an authority on North Carolina, established the image as Wilmington’s first known photograph, identified the object on the right as a street lamp globe, and searched newspaper records to find names of photographers working in Wilmington at the time. Others helped with the initial investigation into the photographer’s identity: late historian Leora H. McEachern; Janet K. Seapker and Harry Warren, of Cape Fear Museum; and Steve Massengill, curator of photographs for N. C. Department of Cultural Resources. In the end, a number of photographers seemed to be possibilities: Samuel D. Humphrey, E. W. Clark, and Henry William Bradley.[ii]

Despite the fact that the occasion officially remains a mystery, the photo contains images that are rich in history, and the three structures pictured have many ties. The eighteenth-century Hill-Wright-Wootten House was a four-story landmark before it was razed in 1952, but relatively few photos exist. It’s many porches and proximity to the street made it appear in danger of tumbling over the slate sidewalk into the street. Originally, the dwelling was home to the family of William Hill (1737-1783), a Bostonian and Harvard graduate who moved to southeastern North Carolina, in 1754. Three years later, Hill married Margaret Moore of Orton Plantation.[iii]

By the time the photo was taken, William Augustus Wright, a renowned attorney and third generation Wilmingtonian, was man of the house at 11 South Third Street. Mr. Wright represented various corporations, including the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, where he occupied a director’s seat made vacant by the death of his father-in-law, William Henry Hill. He also served as president of the Bank of Cape Fear, and was a New Hanover County land baron. In 1864, Wright served as executor of the estate of Confederate spy Rose Greenhow, who drowned off the coast of Fort Fisher.

The large house in the foreground was the home of William Wright’s brother, Dr. Thomas Henry Wright (1800-1861). Dr. Wright, a graduate of Columbia Medical School, bank president, world traveler, and student of church architecture, was a major player in the construction process of the 1839 St. James Church building.

During this era, Dr. Wright liked to recount stories about his family home, seized during the American Revolution by the British – most famously, Lord Cornwallis. Though he would not live to see it, his home would be commandeered again during the Civil War.[iv]

Wealthy Wilmington merchant John Burgwin built the handsome structure in 1770 and, according to oral tradition, constructed it upon the stone foundations of the old town jail. Burgwin, who served as Governor Arthur Dobbs secretary, owned several local businesses and operated a small shipping line. His country home was Castle Haynes, a large plantation north of Wilmington, on the northeast Cape Fear River named for Burgwin’s father-in-law, Roger Haynes.[v]

In 1771, Captain Thomas Wright, William and Thomas’s grandfather and a former privateer, entered into an offer-to-purchase agreement with Burgwin, but died a few months later. However his family continued to lease the house until 1799, when the youngest child, Judge Joshua Grainger Wright, made good on the offer to purchase with 3500 pieces of eight.[vi]

The 1839 St. James Church building is still brand-spanking new in this photo. The Gothic Revival structure was designed by Thomas U. Walter, a Philadelphia architect who drew plans for a number of other churches during the 1830s. St. James replaced an eighteenth-century Colonial-style church that used to protrude, mid-block, into Market Street. Brick from the original building was incorporated into the new structure that was dedicated March 29, 1840, by the Rt. Rev. Levi Silliman Ives. The photo showcases the clock’s original handsome black face, installed in 1841, and displays all the finials, many of which would be lost to storms within twenty years. [vii]

But what is the occasion and who took the photograph? In the absence of clear-cut documentation, many interesting possibilities emerge. Since the photo was found in the midst of Mexican War images, associated events warrant close examination. Three war-related events were noted and considered happenings: the funeral marches of Samuel Ringgold, Louis Wilson, and John H. K. Burgwin

On December 15, 1846, Wilmington gave a “melancholy greeting to the remains of the gallant Major Ringgold.” Major Samuel Ringgold, an 1818 West Point graduate and the inventor of the McClelland saddle, organized a novel strategy that helped the Americans win the Battle of Palo Alto. However, despite his exquisite training, a Mexican cannon ball hit Major Ringgold and he died on May 11, 1846.[viii]

Ringgold’s escorted body merely passed through Wilmington, from ship to railroad depot, a usual process because Wilmington was the southernmost depot. Local musicians played, “Dead March,” and the Clarendon Horse Guards processed. A large crowd gathered to watch as Ringgold’s body left Wilmington headed for Baltimore. Ringgold, the war’s first hero, was buried there on December 22, 1846.[ix]

By 1846, photographers Samuel Dwight Humphrey, J. L. Bryan, Dr. E. W. Clark, and Dr. J. S. Ware were already working in Wilmington, but most of them moved away after a few months. Samuel Humphrey was still in business the month that Major Ringgold’s body was taken through the town. Humphrey, who also taught photography in Wilmington, later became successful as a New York dageurreotypist. During the early 1850s, Humphrey parlayed his knowledge into a periodical he called Humphrey’s Journal of the Daguerreotype and Photographic Arts.[x]

Then on February 6, 1848, the remains of Col. L. D. Wilson arrived. A victim of “malignant fever,” Wilson died in Vera Cruz, on August 12, 1847. Col. H. T. Clark and William Norfleet traveled to Vera Cruz, from North Carolina, to accompany the body. On the morning of February 6, the steamer Governor Dudley, docked at the foot of Market Street, and the funerary reception was grand. Church bells rang, flags flew at half-mast, and minute guns fired perpetually from the time the steamer came into sight on the Cape Fear River until the train carrying Wilson’s body left the Wilmington station for Tarboro. To add to the cacophony, marching musicians played instruments and a horse brigade clomped through the streets.[xi]

According to estimates, the crowd was the biggest to assemble in Wilmington in many years. Pallbearers with military distinction paraded, along with the town “ministers of the Gospel, masters of vessels,” militia officers, and town commissioners. The Masonic Fraternity also attended as a group, particularly mournful since Col. Wilson was their fellow member and former lodge president.[xii]

Wilson’s prominence in the Lodge is interesting because the photo was probably taken from the westernmost second-story window of the 1841-42 Masonic Building, at 125 Market Street. The expansive Carolina Hotel, just east of the Masonic Building, was once considered a possibility, but a 1855 drawing in Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion shows that a mature tree blocks the view of Piety Hill from the building’s windows. Additionally, the gas street lamp in the foreground shows up in another photo taken about 1900. Obviously electrified by that time, the globe sits in front of the Masonic Building window.

In its prime, the building contained a public hall on the second floor and a third floor shared by several local Masonic lodges. Receptions were held in the building for Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and President James K. Polk. Ironically, the Webster visit also fits into the photo’s timetable. So does another Masonic red-letter day. The anniversary of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated by the Concord Chapter No. 1, and St. John’s Lodge No. 1 with a procession and reception on December 27, 1847.[xiii]

The men gathered in the photo could be Masons who rode the horse-drawn vehicle. Unless the conveyance was owned by the Carolina Hotel, it was most likely leased from Isaac Wells, who provided “coaches, barouches, chariotees, buggies, gigs, sulkeys, and wagons.” Wells’s business address was noted simply as “about 300 yards above the Episcopal Church.” But then there is always the possibility that the people pictured are simply hotel guests waiting for their ride to the railroad station, located about six blocks away. The man in the dark suit could be the driver  — and the buckets could be for the sake of the horses.[xiv]

By the time Col. Wilson’s body arrived, more photographers had opened studios in the area: J. W. Patterson, Samuel Broadbent, N. S. Bennett, T. Huggins, W. H. Frear, and an accomplished daguerreotypist named John Plumbe, Jr. They advertised regularly in local newspapers, announcing the “new and beautiful art” that was “entirely different and superior.” Several of them, like W. H. Frear, also advertised photography classes. Mr. Frear also said, “Sick and deceased persons taken at any time or weather.”

J. W. Patterson, who charged $2 to $15 a photo, stated that he was “possessed of a large and superb German camera, and new sensitive chemical preparations.” He was working in Wilmington when John C. Calhoun “passed through this place,” on March 5, 1847. Patterson, who cited his success in Philadelphia and Baltimore, did not tarry in Wilmington. In fact, most of the daguerreotypists didn’t stay long in Wilmington and one even announced it ahead of time: “Mr. Broadbent will remain but a short time,” he advertised Oct. 30, 1847, not long after his ad first appeared.[xv]

Col. Wilson’s body was escorted by rail to Tarboro where he lay in state at the Edgecomb County Courthouse for three weeks. A 14-year-old girl named Martha Williams observed the events that took place during that time and wrote to her brother: “Mr. Nichels, a gentlemen who took likenesses, took the people as they stood around the grave.  He went up to the Academy last Monday and took all the girls, we were out at play.” Mr. Nickels could be a misspelled reference to photographer John Nichols, who eventually operated a “franchise” in Boston known as the John Nichols Plumbe Daguerreotype Gallery. The manner in which the girl speaks of the photographer suggests he was part of the Wilson entourage and her use of the term “likeness” echoes Mr. Plumbe’s advertisements.[xvi]

On May 19, 1848, the body of another prominent citizen arrived aboard the steamer Governor Dudley, and the town’s reaction was large enough to eclipse Col. Wilson’s ‘reception.’ Unlike Ringgold, who was merely passing through, or Wilson, who was a Tarboro native, John Henry King Burgwin was a Wilmingtonian who lost his life heroically, not in the Mexican War, but in the Battle of Taos. Fort Burgwin, a surviving New Mexico town, was named in his memory. This 1830 graduate of the U. S. Military Academy came home to Cape Fear a hero and a reminder of promise lost in war. The Clarendon Horse Guard, Wilmington Band of Music, General Alexander MacRae, the Wilmington Militia and “thousands (with) tear-stained faces,” accompanied the body from the dock to the steps of the Bank of Cape Fear where orator Joshua Grainger Wright, brother of Thomas and William, delivered a lengthy eulogy. He spoke correctly when he said, “We receive his mouldering remains,” for poor Captain Burgwin had been dead for 15 months. He died February 7, 1847. [xvii]

Image of Captain Burgwin from John Frost's book, Pictorial History of Mexico and the Mexican War. (Courtesy of Henry K. Burgwyn, author of Captain Jack.)

Sentiment alone would favor some aspect of Burgwin’s  funeral as the occasion for the daguerreotype, particularly since the dwelling his grandfather built, the Burgwin-Wright House, is so well-featured. Additionally, the Burgwins attended St. James Church.

Henry W. Bradley (1813-1891) is a credible guess as photographer of the group of images. Bradley, a Wilmington native, possibly studied photography with Samuel Humphrey, in 1846. He moved to San Francisco in 1850 and became “one of California’s most influential photographers.” He worked solo most of his career, but  partnered with William Herman Rolofson, in 1864, to create Bradley and Rolofson, a well-known photographic studio. After living in California for nine years, Bradley made the trip cross country to marry Betsy Euphemia Cutlar at St. James Church on September 21, 1859.[xviii]

With many known events and photographers, there are still no definite answers. But we know more than we did in 1981. Perhaps one day, with more research and with the increased sharing of archival material, the event and artist will be revealed.

Part II

Alfred Martin is better remembered today as builder of the distinctive 1870 Martin-Huggins House, 412 Market Street. (Amon Carter Museum)

About the time I thought this article was essentially complete, I finally obtained a rare copy of Eyewitness to War, through interlibrary loan. I thought that in studying the whole Amon Carter daguerreotype collection, I might discover some clue. Sure enough, I soon turned a page and found myself staring at a man I had seen before in Wilmington photographs. He was noted simply as “Unidentified Mason,” and his eyes seemed lit from behind.

The illumination is explained by an advertisement for the photographer who leased Plumbe’s former studio space in January 1848. “S. Broadbent has removed to rooms over Messrs. Hart and Polley’s store where he has a sky light built expressly for the daguerreotype. There are several advantages of a skylight. The pictures are stronger, more effective, and in a more pleasing character than those done by a side light — the objection of one side of the face being light and the other dark is obviated, and blue eyes can be as well taken as others.”[xx]

Oddly enough, the man pictured bears a remarkable resemblance to another Wilmingtonian of his day, but with the help of Mervin Hogg, past Grand Master of St. John’s Lodge, I learned the “Unidentified Mason,” is Alfred Martin, father-in-law, through daughter Emma, to Civil War Blockade Runner, Captain John Newland Maffitt. A successful naval store merchant and civic leader, Martin served as Grand Master of St. John’s Lodge, No. 1; was a leader of the Concord Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; president of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce; and a Vestryman at St. James Episcopal Church. His inclusion favors John Plumbe, Jr., (1809-1857) as the photographer. Plumbe was a Mason and an Episcopalian. The Masons had a powerful network nationwide and, of course, were far more interested in buildings than the general population.

Sometimes building meant constructing a business entity: The first general meeting of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad Company took place in the Masonic Hall, and several Masons were in attendance at the organizational meeting of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, led by Gov. Edward Bishop Dudley, a distant relative of Alfred Martin’s wife, Christian Caroline Dudley Martin.

In addition, Plumbe already was known for taking famous landscape scenes – something rather rare back then. Eventually, he operated studios in a number of cities, including Boston, his home base. His National Plumbeotype Gallery, in New York employed 12 fellow photographers to make about 500 photos per day.

Plumbe took daguerreotypes that have become national treasures, like his image of the White House, and the U. S. Capitol, with its old copper covered wooden dome. If Plumbe took the first photo of St. James Church, there would be a touch of irony: The same architect who designed Wilmington’s St. James Church, Thomas Ustick Walter, a Mason, also designed the capitol dome that exists today.

This is John Plumbe, Jr., a master chronicler who had camera-like eyes. (Courtesy of Cliff Krainik)

John Plumbe, Jr., set up a temporary studio and gallery during his short time in Wilmington. “Persons who have not as yet observed likenesses of themselves will do well to pay this interesting gallery a visit, for there are upwards of 200 likenesses, mostly of persons of notoriety…Portraits taken in any weather. Also, likenesses of invalids and deceased persons taken at their private residences.” [xxii]

Though Plumbe ran ads for all his franchises, this particular advertisement is the one that Plumbe used when he himself was behind the cumbersome camera. Characterizing Plumbe as a “civil engineer, author, photographer, print maker, inventor and the first effective advocate for a United States transcontinental railroad,” Cliff Krainik, an authority on Plumbe’s life and work, makes the case that the photographer not only pioneered the concept of franchising, but also brand-name recognition.

At the peak of his dageurreotypist career, Plumbe owned 25 studios, but by 1847, he was in financial trouble. Little information exists about the next two years of Plumbe’s life and Clifford Krainik was surprised when I told him Plumbe’s ads ran in Wilmington, at least a portion of December 1847 and January 1848. Krainik verified the wording of Plumbe’s local advertising as the text the photographer used when it was he, and not one of his associates, taking the pictures. The mention of a traveling gallery of celebrity photos was the identifying factor.

I returned to the library to reread the microfished newspaper accounts of the period in which Plumbe advertised in Wilmington. After a few hours, the lens of historic fact seemed to twist a bit and the circumstantial picture gained some clarity. The Mexican War shots, many tagged with handwritten identifications, certainly would have fit nicely into Plumbe’s traveling gallery. Plumbe’s method of attracting customers by photography was novel, more than a hundred years before celebrities made paparazzi a four-letter word. Could his traveling gallery be the answer to Martha A. Sandweiss’s question about the Amon Carter Collection: “Were they intended to reach a wider audience through either exhibition or reproduction…?”[xxiii]

Operating on the theory that Plumbe took the local shots, and based on Plumbe’s short stay, the photo of the Wilmington Mason was almost certainly taken on December 27, 1847, just before or after the celebration of St. John the Evangelist, at the Masonic Hall. Plumbe’s studio was only roughly a block away from the hall. He would have lugged the heavy equipment approximately a half block north, then a half block east.[xxiv]

Though the façade has now been altered, the Masonic Hall, like St. James Church, was originally built in Gothic Revival style. Ironically, within the small Amon Carter Collection, there are daguerreotypes of yet another Gothic Revival structure: Oaklands Mansion, home of the supposed collector and original preserver of the photos, John William Tudor Gardiner, in Gardiner Maine. Designed by Richard Upjohn, father of Gothic architecture in America, Oaklands features the same crenellated parapet as St. James Church. John William Tudor Gardiner, a graduate of the U. S.  Military Academy, participated in the Mexican War.

Oaklands, the Tudor residence, in Gardiner, Maine. (Amon Carter Museum)

John Tudor Gardiner’s family had a number of possible connections to the Burgwins. Like the Burgwin family, the Gardiners also spent time during the American Revolution in Bristol, England. Both John Burgwin and the Gardiners had their portraits painted by John Copley. Both Burgwin and the Gardiners had ties to the Savage family. And a Gardiner witnessed John Burgwin’s deed to Castle Haynes. Additionally, the name Gardiner pops up in Eliza Burgwin Clitherall’s diary.[xxv]

But what brought John Plumbe, Jr. to Wilmington was probably not primarily Burgwins, Gardiners, or a Masonic event. Even though he was raised by Episcopalians and was fascinated with church buildings, if wasn’t even the church that drew him here. Plumbe came to Wilmington because of his almost evangelistic drive for a national railway. Before he ever learned of Louis Daguerre or the camera he made famous, Plumbe helped survey for a possible rail system across the Allegheny Mountains. He also did civil engineering work for the railroads in North Carolina. According to Clifford Krainik, “In 1839 he drafted a proposal to Congress for construction of a railroad from Lake Michigan to the western boundary of Iowa. He considered this the first step in construction of a transcontinental railroad.”[xxvi]

After Plumbe’s studios failed, he embarked on an impassioned campaign to build a coast-to-coast railroad, meeting with officials anytime he could. Directors of several railroads planned to meet in Wilmington, January 6, 1848. “Rail Road Convention,” announced The Commercial, December 28, 1847. Someone identified only as a “Petersburg Stockholder” underwrote an entreaty to extend the “Wilmington road to Manchester and to connect the railroads from Baltimore to New Orleans. “If cheapness be added to the present inducements, the travel will be ‘prodigious.’”[xxvii]

Interestingly, John Plumbe, Jr. had once held a position with the Petersburg railroad and had also owned studios in New Orleans, as well as the city once spelled Petersborough. Several of Wilmington’s Masons were central figures in the local railroad industry.[xxviii]

By January 12, Plumbe was back in Washington where he photographed President James K. Polk. Although a photo of President Polk also appears in the Amon Carter Mexican War series, no link has been made to the one taken January 12. However it is known that Plumbe photographed President Polk more than once. “I gave a sitting in the dining room to-day for my Daguerreotype likeness.  It was taken by Mr. Plumbe,” wrote President Polk in his diary.[xxix]

Plumbe’s advertisements continued to run in Wilmington until January 25. Perhaps Henry Bradley or one of Plumbe’s many known associates minded the noisy store, located over the shops of S. P. Polley and Levi A. Hart, copper and tinsmiths who also repaired firearms. Or perhaps Samuel Broadbent, who took over Plumbe’s workspace in late January, filled in for him. Broadbent suddenly began to advertise the use of a skylight about the time Plumbe would have left town. Additionally, Broadbent’s previous office was only about 15 feet north of Plumbe’s. Interestingly, Bradley’s brother had an office next door, south, to Plumbe’s office. All of them were located on the eastern side of the zero block of South Front Street.[xxx]

It is possible that Plumbe trained Henry Bradley, then moved to San Francisco when Bradley relocated there. But while Bradley’s heart was in photography, John Plumbe continued his pursuit for a transcontinental railroad. In the 1850s, Plumbe moved to Dubuque where he experienced health problems, additional financial setbacks, and depression caused by the realization that his personal transcontinental railroad plan was going nowhere. On May 29, 1857, Plumbe took his own life.[xxxii]

Along with the exquisite seduction offered researchers by mysterious old photographs comes professional danger. One day a frayed letter or flowery journal may emerge that will put an end to the speculation about the Amon Carter daguerreotypes, but the risks of guessing in print are not without pleasure.


[i] Hugh Caldwell, City of Wilmington Engineering Department.

[ii] H. G. Jones, North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-1984, files. North Carolina Collection.

[iii] Family files, Lower Cape Fear Historical Society. James Sprunt, Chronicles of the Lower Cape Fear. Wilmington, 1992.

[v] Burgwin-Wright files of Margaret T. Hall. Walter Burgwyn Jones, The Jones-Burgwyn Family History. (privately printed, 1913.)

[vi] Margaret Tannahill Hall, “The Burgwin-Wright House,” Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Bulletin, Volume XXII, issue 2. Author’s interview with Thomas H. Wright (1918-19??), 1990. New Hanover County Deed Book L, 656.

[vii] Bruce Laverty, Curator of Architecture at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. St. James Collection, Randall Library Special Collections, UNC-W.  James M. Goode, Architecture, Politics, and Conflict: Thomas Ustick Walter and the Enlargement of the United States Capitol, 1850-1865.

[viii] Wilmington Journal, December 18, 1847.

[ix] Wilmington Chronicle, May 24, 1848.

[x] TheWilmington Chronicle: January 30, 1846, December 25, 1846, February 4, 1846, April 1, 1846. Stephen E. Massengill, “The Mysterious Daguerreotype of Market Street,” Waves and Currents (Cape Fear Museum), Vol. 15, No. 2.

[xi] Wilmington Chronicle, May 24, 1848.

[xii] Wilmington Journal, February 11, 1848.

[xiii] Wilmington Commercial, December 28, 1847.Wilmington Historic Wilmington Foundation historic plaque file, New Hanover County Public Library. James Sprunt, Chronicles of the Cape Fear River (1660-1916), Wilmington, 1992. Interviews with Libby and Guy Carpenter, and Charles Calhoun.

[xiv] Wilmington Journal, January 7, 1848; January 12, 1848.

[xv] The Wilmington Commercial: October 26, 1847; October 30, 1847, November 2, 1847. Wilmington Journal: December 22, 1848. Chronicle: January 5, 1848.

[xvi] Sarah P. Lynch, U.S. Genweb Archives: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/nc/wilson/misc/wilson01.txt

[xvii] Wilmington Chronicle, May 24, 1848. Walter Burgwin Jones, The Jones-Burgwin Family History, Montgomery, Alabama, 1913.

[xviii] Peter E. Palmquist, photographic notes on file at the N. C. Library, courtesy of Steve Massengill, archivist. Handwritten note by the Rev. R. B. Drane, presented as documentation of the marriage: Cutlar family file, Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Archives.

[xix] Lower Cape Fear Historical Society family files.

[xx] Commercial, January 29, 1848.

[xxi] Eagle Lodge #19, Hillsborough. Conversations with St. John’s archivist George F. Jones.

[xxii]Local historian Michael Whaley provided genealogical information on Christian Dudley Martin. Ann Hertzler, PhD. “Civil War Heroines: Wilmington’s Soldier Aid Society; Mrs. Alfred Martin.” (Bulletin, Historical Society of the Lower Cape Fear, October 2006.) Wilmington Commercial, January 1,5, and 6, 1848 (including advertisement issuance date of Dec. 29, 1847).  Getty Museum site: http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/bio/a1979-1.html.  Melvin Hogg, St. John’s Lodge No. 1, Wilmington, NC.

[xxiii] Martha A. Sandweiss, Print the Legend: Photography and the American West. Yale, 2002.

[xxiv] Plumbe’s biographer, daguerreotype authority Cliff Krainik, agrees that this is Plumbe’s personal signature ad, but makes no official comment on the possibility of Plumbe being the Amon Carter daguerreotypist.

[xxv] Martha Sandweiss, Rick Stewart, and Ben W. Huseman, Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848. Robert Hallowell Gardiner, Early Recollections of Robert Hallowell Gardiner (1782-1862), Hallowell, Maine; 1936. The Diary of Eliza Clitherall Burgwin, Southern Historical Collection: Wilson Library, U.N.C.

[xxvi] Conversation and correspondence with Clifford Krainik, 2003. Daguerreotype.com

[xxvii] Additional information came from conversations with James C. Burke, chronicler of Wilmington’s early railroads.

[xxviii] The Commercial, December 28, 1847; November 4, 1847.

[xxix] Archivist Marvin W. Kranz, Diaries of President Polk, Library of Congress.

[xxx] According to John S. Craig, author of Dageurreotype.com, one firm in Saratoga Springs once filled in for N. S. Bennett “after a boat explosion prevented Bennett from going there.”

[xxxi] Wayne Cutlar, Polk Presidential scholar.

[xxxii] Clifford Krainik.

Copyright 2003, Susan Taylor Block.

(Published originally in the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society Bulletin; Wilmington, North Carolina; Volume XLVII, No. 3; Autumn 2003. Copy edited by Joseph E. Waters Sheppard)