Miner’s Grave, 1863

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[ Half-plate ambrotype, 1863 ] The grave of Thomas Henry Johns, who was born in 1836 in England. Around 1860, Thomas, his two brothers and their wives came over to the US and soon started working as miners at the Minesota (correct spelling) copper mine in Rockland, Michigan.

 
In August of 1863, Thomas died after falling down a mine shaft… (you can make out the word “accidental(ly)” on his grave marker); his wife Ellen was about 5-6 months pregnant at the time, and went back to their hometown of Breage, England almost immediately after Thomas’s burial, where she gave birth to Thomas, Jr., and died 56 years later having never remarried.
 
In 1863, Rockland wasn’t even an official town yet, it was just a few settlements of about 80 houses set up by the Minesota Mining Company for the miners and their families.. you can see some of the homes in the background. In 1864 the three settlements were consolidated into Rockland.
 
I’ve had this ambrotype for years but have never been able to find the exact location of Thomas’s grave.. just that it’s somewhere in the hills around the mine. It looks like it was made of wood, so there’s a good chance that all trace of it is gone now; pics I have seen of the area where the mine was shows mostly overgrown woods where the mine was (https://www.mindat.org/loc-16394.html).
 
I found this early pic online labeled Minesota mine.. the big white building looks like it might be the same seen in my ambrotype.

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[ For Sale ] Post Mortem Daguerreotype [ 10% Discount for Archive Members ]

 

Sixth-plate, mid-1840s post mortem daguerreotype of a well-dressed man in profile, full, original case.

Very good antique condition.. very light wipes, hard to see. light tarnish. Resealed with archival tape.

$575 + $17.00 insured Priority Mail shipping:
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Current Thanatos.net member Price: $517 + $17.00 shipping
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[ For Sale ] Post Mortem Daguerreotype [ 10% Discount for Archive Members ]

Ninth-plate, c1850 post mortem daguerreotype. Rare extreme close-up of a man in it’s full, original case (separated covers).

Light tarnish, otherwise in excellent condition with its original seals still intact.

$495 + $16.00 insured Priority Mail shipping:
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Current Thanatos.net member Price: $445.00 + $16.00 shipping
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Poor Sweet Child (Blog Exclusive)

 

A circa 1860 stereoview showing a sick, dying (or already dead?) girl in bed, surrounded by medicine bottles and having her pulse checked by a doctor, while mother (?) waits anxiously nearby. This appears to be a staged “genre” scene, however, “Ella Platt & Dr. Mansfield”, along with “Poor Sweet Child”, is written in period handwriting on the back. Thanatos Archive membership options @ http://www.thanatos.net/membership

Ambrotype of W.W. Godding, Asylum Engraving

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One of two early-1860s 1/6 ambrotypes in our collection of Dr. William Whitney Godding, taken at around the time he began working as the Superintendent of the Government Hospital for the Insane (later renamed St. Elizabeth’s) in Washington, D.C., along with a period engraving.

Godding worked at SE for many years, where he tried to provide good conditions for and humane treatment of the patients at a time when a lot of them were treated poorly. Several buildings on the East Campus of St. Elizabeth’s were named after him, but they eventually emptied out and fell into disrepair. I think they’re being redeveloped by the city now.

“But, though unbidden, and not mentioned above a whisper, the spectre is never wanting at our feast; step by step, keeping pace with our ever advancing civilization, still stalks the growing shadow of brain decay, with its attendants, apoplexy and insanity. We lock up our insane man in the hospital, and think that we are rid of him; vain is our selfish hope; we cannot thus shake him off, for is he not our neighbor? nay, may he not be our brother? worse yet, at the next turn, what shall prevent that the insanity may not happen even to ourselves?” W.W. Godding