Saturday, May 11, 2013

Post-war W. Hunter Davis

From the timeline in my April 27  post we know that W. Hunter Davis took the Oath of Allegiance and was released from Fort Delaware Prisoner-of-War camp on 17 June 1865.  What happened to him after that?  We have a photograph of W. Hunter Davis below.

We could try to use his clothing to pinpoint a time period, but that can be a little more difficult with men's clothing.  The back of a photograph may give us some clues.

The blue stamp is a revenue stamp required by the the United States government to raise money to fund the Civil War.  The tax began on 1 August 1864 and was ended on 1 August 1866.  So this photograph could have been taken anytime between 17 June 1865 and 1 August 1866.  In addition, the back of the photo shows the photographers rather intricate engraving which says:
"Photographed by HOPE

Successor to W. H. Kimball
477 Broadway
New York"
So far my attempts to find "HOPE" in city directories in have been unsuccessful.  Finding out when a photographer was in business at a certain location could possibly narrow down the date.  

Still, we do know that this photograph shows W. Hunter within about a year after his release.  He looks rather thin but well-dressed.  

Doing the photo detective work is rather fun.  I got some good ideas how to find clues from Maureen Taylor's Family Photo Detective (Family Tree Books:  Cincinnati, Ohio, 2013).


  1. Great detective work! It may sound strange, but I really like the backs of some of these Civil War-era photos. The designs are so intricate. I also had an ancestor at Fort Delaware. I wish those walls could talk!

  2. You'll enjoy my June 2 post, where I include some advertisements from the 1871 Savannah City Directory. Lots of fun!

    Which military company was your Fort Delaware ancestor with?

  3. I actually had two. Marcellus White was a quartermaster sergeant with Salem's Flying Artillery out of Virginia and Samuel McGuire was with the 1st Missouri Calvary.