Monday, May 6, 2013

Newton's Photograph

Newton Tuttle photograph taken in Connecticut c1840s.

 Mother has among her treasures an early photograph of Newton Tuttle. The little blue trunk in which it was stored was one of the few items in my parent's living room which survived the fire. I don't underestimate this tender mercy. While posting a portion of his diaries and journals it would be appropriate to include a copy of this portrait, I concluded. After a bit of experimentation and research I have learned that making a copy of a daguerreotype photograph is not as easy as one would think. In this digital age can't everything be scanned, I thought? For all the advantages of digital scanners, I found that a daguerreotype must be reproduced by photography because the protective glass distorts or darkens the image to an impossible degree.

"Daguerreotypes (1840-1855) are on polished silver so they are very reflective, like a mirror. Since they are on silver and subject to tarnish, daguerreotypes were put behind glass and sealed with paper tape so air cannot tarnish the plate (there often is some tarnish around the edges of the picture). This was then put into a small hinged case, similar to a woman's compact. But, the easiest way to tell if you have a daguerreotype is to see if it has that reflection, just like a mirror. You have to tilt it back and forth to see the image." (

Taken directly angled the reflection of the camera is reflected.

Each time I tried to take a snapshot head on, I captured a reflection of my own camera superimposed on the portrait. Internet searches warned against removing the protective glass. "The most difficult part in reproducing daguerreotypes is keeping the mirror-like reflection down so you don't see the camera being reflected (on ambrotypes and tintypes this is not as much of a problem). The simplest way is to take a piece of cardstock about 10" square, cover it with black velvet or velveteen and then cut out a hole in the center to stick the lens through. This is assuming you have a copystand or at least a tripod, as well as a close-up lens." (

Not being skilled in the art of photography, I do not have the equipment or expertise to attempt the task. Consequently I had to resort to taking the picture at an extreme angle. Hopefully soon I will be able to find an archivist who can recommend a photographer with the abilities needed. I don't think we need a conservator because it seems in pristine condition. Meanwhile, enjoy this daguerreotype of Newton Tuttle taken in Connecticut before he left to join the Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ in the west. This is how he looked as he, his wife and young daughter began the arduous journey.

If using a copy of this picture it will be necessary to include attribution.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Day

Yesterday was May Day, the first day of the month and my sister's birthday. Hope you had a Happy Day, Amy! As I leaf through Grandma Foy's genealogy books, I note that our ancestor Newton Tuttle was on the road west during April and May in the spring of 1854. As you read his own words you get a sense of the man through his interest in the farmland and produce. He is aware of the blossoms on the orchard trees, the beauties of the land and the ugliness of the industrial cities. You will also read of his concern for his wife Lucinda's health as it improves then relapses time and again, but the reality of the seriousness of her condition does not seem apparent. Look for mention of William Smith and Charles Russell's wife.

Extracts from Newton's diary as copied by Florence Foy:

Apr 3
We took the cars at 3:30 p.m. at North Haven, my home town, for New Haven. Took tea with my cousin Martin Tuttle, he took us to the boat, in New Haven Harbor, that was going to N. York.

Apr 4
We arrived at N.Y. at 6 a.m. next morning. Fare from North Haven to N. Y. was $85.00. We took a "hack" across to Pier no. 1 to North river. At 4 P.M. We took steam boat to Amboy Then we traveled by Rail Road to Phildelphia (From N. Y. to Philadelphia 90 miles.)

Apr 5
Weather clear & Pleasnt, at 11 am. we took the cars on the Pa. R.R. for Pittsburg. Our company all told numbered 53. This is a fine farming Country. We came to Susquhanna River. Ruff country.

The following is from his journal:

Apr 6
Traveling thru heavy Pine timbers. We got to Altona at 12 a.m. where we stayed untill 5 p.m. Then traveled on till 11 p.m. Stoped until morning. In afternoon & evening we went over the mountains & thru the tunnel. It took 5 or 6 Locomotives to get up over the Mountain.

Apr 7
We started at 7 P M. Clear & pleasant. Traveled for miles over mountains & thru heavy timbers. Arrived at Pittsburg at 5 PM. One of the dirtiest & blackets places I ever saw in my life.

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1854.

We took a large Hack or Ominbus & all went at once to the boat. Had 4 loads of goods. We went on board the "Keysone State of Pittsburg." We took a view of the city from the boat. (From Pittsburg to Phil. was 360 miles.) Lucinda was home-sick or sea-sick when we came aboard. Perhaps both.

Apr 9
Charles & I went out to look at the city. Saw them make Brick, only made 2 at a time. They had no macheniry to grind the clay.

Apr 10
Lucinda was sick in the night. Better this morning. Bro. Wells & I took a walk. Saw men make glass. Boat started at 11:30 A.M. from Pittsburg, a hilly, timber country. Grass quite green in the city. Streets full of hogs & filth.

Apr 11
We ran into another boat in the night. We passed the steamboat Redstone it was sunk by running into a snag. The captain on the Keysone State was I. Haslep. In Pittsburg the Fruit trees were in blossom. Peaches Pears & Apples. Hilly, but fine country. Passed some vinyards on our way.

Apr 12
Got into Cincinnati at noon. We then went on board the "Paul Anderson & Carrol Master." She is bound for St. Louis and was to set sail to-day but when I do not know.

Apr 13
Lucinda feeling better, & she and Ann Hinck & I took a walk around the city. It is a very pretty city. In the evening Arron Farr, Lucinda, Ann & Charley went to the Museum. Some went to the theatre. Here, we could buy nice assorted apples for $2.25 a barrell.

Saturday Apr 15
I went up on to Mount Adams, had a quite good view of the city and county. It is quite hilly. I saw the resevoir from which the city is supplied with water.

Apr. 16
Rainy & Showery this morning. The boat has started at last. 10 AM. From Cincinnatti we went to Lawrenceburgh, arrived at 12 noon. Lay here until 4 P.M. then moved on. Mr. Cook's child died in the night. It was burried at Louisville.

Apr. 17
Have been most all day getting thru the Locks at Louisville & Portland Canal at Shipping Port. We saw the Big Jiant, he was 7 ft. 9 inc tall, his can was 4 ft. 2 in. age 44 years. His gun was 8 ft. long. Lucinda is sick with disentary. she surely is not enjoying herself when feeling so poorly.

A view of the Louisville and Portland Canal locks pre-1871.

Apr. 18
Lucinda is feeling some better which I am thankful for. We are now going down the Ohio, which is delightful, Low lands & heavy timbers. Weather clear and pleasant.

Apr. 19
Scenery pretty much the same as yesterday. We arrived at Cairo at 1 PM. at the mounth of the Ohio. Lucinda is still improving thank heaven!

Apr. 20
The country is more hilly but pleasant. It is rather slow going up the river. St Geneva is a beautiful sight. It's plesant from there up the river & scenery is fine. Weather clear & fine.

Apr 21
We go into St. Lewis early in the morning Then we went to find Horace S. Eldredge & some other elders. I took dinner with Elder Turpin. I was William Smith in the Evening.

Apr 22
Aaron Farr and Lucrecia went up to my place. I went & bought my wagon and other things for the trip across the plains. Just at night we left the "boat Paul Anderson", and went on board the boat "Sam Cloom" for Fort Leavensworth.

Sun. 23
Showers: I went to meeting, we had one grand meeting. There were people from the 4 quarters of the earth. One was from the Isle of Malta...

Mon. 24
I was buying stuff, preparatory for travel across the plains. Thunder showers.

Thunder Showers & more showers.

Wed. 26
Thunder Showers & hail stones as large as hen's eggs. Some wighed 1 oz. Just at night on board of the "Sam Cloon". Captain John McCloy in charge, for Fort Leavensorth. Lucinda & Clara both sick all night.

Apr. 27
Lucinda and Clara were better. Weather clear.

Apr. 28
The scenery up the river very much the same as before.

Apr. 29
Charles Russell's wife had a daughter born. Lucinda not so well.

Sunday Apr. 30
We arrived at the Parrarie land at Hills Landing. Our bottle of Brandy was stolen which we needed for Lucinda...

Watch for May entrees to follow.

The journals of Newton Tuttle along with other Tuttle Family papers were donated to the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. The spelling and punctuation is directly from Florence's transcription.

Engraving of Pittsburg courtesy of Dickinson College Source citation: The Ladies Repository 14 (1854).

Photo of Ohio River canal locks from Triumph at the Falls: The Louisville and Portland Canal by Leland R. Johnson and Charles E. Parrish, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District.