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William Blakely Photo back of William Blakely
William Blakely

William Blakely was another relative of Hannah Rich’s groom William Blakely Peters. There are three William Blakelys in the Blakely Cemetery on Turnpike Road in Delaware County, and more lurking in county documents. One William Blakely died in 1898 at the age of 52; assuming the pictures in Hannah Rich’s album were taken in the mid-1860s, he would have been 15 at the time of Hannah’s wedding. A second William Blakely died in 1870 at age 59. He would have been about 50 at the time of Hannah’s wedding, and seems the likely subject of this photograph. A third William Blakely died in 1855 at the age of 74. Yet another William Blakely is listed in the 1870 Census for Kortright as age 24. A William Blakely is listed as having paid the $125 fee for a Kortright township tavern keeper's license in 1826 and 1827. In today's currency that would be about $2300 (based on the Consumer Price Index) or $27,000, calculated on the basis of the wages of an unskilled worker then and now. (See the fascinating Economic History Service website for further details and comparisons of "old" versus "new" money.)

The difficulty of locating Blakely family members is compounded by alternate spellings, but because the first Blakely to arrive in Kortright was John, in 1798, it seems reasonable to assume all the Blakelys of Delaware County were related, whatever the spelling.

Speaking of alternate spellings, the photographer himself is described as being C K Bill on the front of the portrait, and Chas K Bills - with an s - on the back. There is more about Charles K. Bill in John Craig’s fascinating Craig's Daguerreian Registry. Like most of the other photographers represented in Hannah Rich’s photo album, Bill’s studio was in New York City, on Broadway.

The stamp on the back is a guide to the year the photograph was taken. According to Dave Rozzana’s “Tips for Dating Old Photographs, “As part of the effort by the Congress to fund the Civil War, among a number of taxes levied was an 1864 Act which provided that sellers of photographs affix stamps at the time of sale to ‘photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, or any sun pictures,’ according to the following schedule, exempting photographs too small for the stamp to be affixed:

“Less than 25 cents: 2 cents stamps (blue/orange).
25 to 50 cents: 3 cents stamps (green).
50 cents to $1: 5 cents stamps (red).
More than $1: 5 cents for each additional dollar or fraction thereof.

“Stamps were applied from 1 Aug. 1864 to 1 Aug. 1866. Blue playing card stamps are known to have been used in the summer of 1866 as other stamps were unavailable as the levy came to an end. The stamp was to be canceled by requiring that the seller cancel the stamp by initializing [initialing] and dating it in ink.”

And an afterthought: There is something awkward in this William Blakely’s pose. Could it be that he has only one leg?

Please Note: In 2005 this album came into the loving care of Hannah Rich Peters’ and William Blakely Peters’ great-granddaughter, Carolyn Flanders McPherson, and is presented here for the first time. For more detailed information on the photo album and its contents you may view the introduction here.

Patricia and Carolyn have attempted to identify all persons in the album and learn more about them through research of various records. If you can help us identify or add further information to this photo, please contact:
Email Carolyn


Additional Links

Next Photo - Nancy Blakely Bowers
Photo Album of Hannah (Rich) Peters
Blakely Cemetery - Headstones Photographed by Carolyn McPherson (2007)
Tavern Keepers 1797 - 1862 - Delaware County, N.Y.
----An outside link to Delaware County, NY - Genealogy & History Site
Economic History Service (Outside Link)
Current Value of Old Money (Outside Link)
History of Delaware County by W.W. Munsell 1797-1880
-----An outside link to Delaware County, NY - Genealogy & History Site
Craig's Daguerreian Registry (Outside Link)
Dave Rozzana’s “Tips for Dating Old Photographs (Outside Link)
PDP's Roots & Branches Blog
Updated June 01, 2014
Album photos provided by Carolyn F. McPherson 2005

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