July 23, 2013 | 5 Comments | Betsy Woodman
Well, gang, just call me Ms. Gumshoe.
While sifting through the tintypes in the biscuit tin, I actually found one that was labeled. Not dated, alas, but the subject of the portrait was “Mrs. Woodman” and the place, Waterbury, VT.
A bit of googling nailed the woman’s identity.
She’s my great-great grandmother, Mary Jane Sanborn (1821-1887), who married Albert Alonzo Woodman in 1847 in Compton, Quebec, and then came to Waterbury, VT. She looks terrifying.
Was Mary Jane’s life as harsh as her expression? She had four surviving children, born 1850, 1853, 1862, and 1867. It wouldn’t be surprising if there had been more that didn’t make it.
The center-parted hairdo, lace collar, and brooch suggest that this is a Civil War era portrait. Mary Jane might have been forty-something years old.
She and Albert now lie peacefully together
in Moe’s River Cemetery.
In 2005, Susan and Leslie Nutbrown transcribed the information off all the legible headstones in this cemetery.
I often marvel how twenty-first century technology gets you into the past in a few seconds, but remind myself that the basic data got collected with old-fashioned legwork.