William Blakely was another relative
of Hannah Richs 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
Richs album were taken in the mid-1860s, he
would have been 15 at the time of Hannahs
wedding. A second William Blakely died in 1870 at
age 59. He would have been about 50 at the time
of Hannahs 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
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.
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 Craigs fascinating Craig's Daguerreian
Registry. Like most of the other
photographers represented in Hannah Richs
photo album, Bills studio was in New York
City, on Broadway.
stamp on the back is a guide to the year the
photograph was taken. According to Dave Rozzanas 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:
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.
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.
an afterthought: There is something awkward in
this William Blakelys pose. Could it be
that he has only one leg?