Thursday, June 1, 2017

Not Susannah, But Maybe Ruth?

Possibly Ruth Smith-Simmons-Webb
In the past I have written two posts about this photo and that my Grandma thought it was a picture of her Great Grandmother Susannah Case Lee. I have edited those posts - Sarah Mariah Matilda Lee and A Little About Charles Lee and Susannah to note that I don't agree with that anymore, I will explain why.

I have had a professional archivist look at the actual photograph and know now that it IS a "Tin Type". The Tin type process was first started in France in 1853, and was patented in the US in 1856. It's not likely that this is a picture of a woman who died in 1851. Grandma's idea was a good one, but she just didn't know.  

Now I'm looking at other possibilities of who this woman could be. Grandma found the picture in her parents, Art & Sadie McGrath's, house so we feel sure this woman would be someone in the family. Grandma thought she was Sadie's maternal Grandmother, Susannah. I have a photo of Sadie's paternal Grandmother and know that it's not her.  But what if she's one of Art's Grandmothers? 

I'm estimating the date of this photo to be around 1860, give or take a few years. The dress style is similar to what I find from the Civil War time period. I think the woman in the photo looks like she may be in her 30's or 40's.  

Ruth Smith was born about 1820 to Jonathan & Rachel Smith in either Maine or Pennsylvania.  She first married Lebius Simmons about 1840. Their oldest daughter, Rachel, is Art McGrath's mother. Four other children were born to Lebius and Ruth - Mary Rosilla, Louisa, William and Ruth Maria. They all lived in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Lebius died sometime between 1852 and 1854. 

In Ritchie County, Virginia on July 1, 1854 Ruth married Cyrus Webb. Cyrus and Ruth had four more children - Milbourn, Jesse, Sarah and Franklin. I have just learned that Ruth died just 10 days after Franklin's birth at about age 43 in 1863.  So could this photo be of Ruth, taken sometime between 1856 and 1863?

When Ruth Webb died, she had six children under 18. Her husband Cyrus died within a few months.  Her two oldest daughters, Rachel and Mary Rosilla were both married, but Mary Rosilla died within a couple of years.  Rachel is likely the one who first had the photo.

Art was the youngest and last child at home, living with his parents in Cozad, Nebraska when Rachel died in 1896. By 1900, Art had moved to Clay County near his oldest sister. He may have taken this photo (and more that I'm working on) with him when he left home.

Just so I cover all the bases, Art's paternal Grandmother, R. (McCarty) McGrath, would have been at least 49 years old in 1860. (I say "R" because that's all I know, but I'm betting it stands for Rebecca.)  She lived in Ireland and as far as I know, she never came to the US. Does this woman look Irish?

All thoughts are welcome and I apologize for creating any confusion. I was clear in my earlier posts that I wasn't sure who the woman in the photo was and I still can't be sure.

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