The Minor Family Album: Continuing The Search for Mr. Chin Whisker’s Identity

Mr. Chin WhiskersMy last post contained a LOT of information about the face that greets me when I open the Minor Family Album.  Mr. Chin Whiskers was originally thought to be our family patriarch, John Pearson (Pierson) Minor, but that hypothesis was thrown out when a cousin shared copy of a labeled tintype of John P. Minor.  My image and his image were NOT of the same person.  Continuing my search within the Minor family tree, I compared my image to another image of a known Minor, Samuel Minor, who was John P’s brother.  These two images were not of the same person.  I left the post dangling the idea that perhaps my image is of a third brother, Asa.

Is this bearded man Asa Minor?

Among my family artifacts are documents and letters found in an old leather satchel, retrieved from the Minor Home Farm long ago by my mother.  Included in this treasure trove are letters from Asa Minor to his brother, John P.  (You can read more about this exchange here.) These papers establish that the brothers kept in touch, and presumably John’s children would have known of their uncle.

The 1860 US Federal Mortality Schedule tells us that Asa died in January of that year, succumbing to consumption from which he had suffered for nine months.  His wife continued to live on the farm in Deerfield Township, Warren County, Ohio.

So, Asa kept in touch with John.  Asa was alive in the 1850s when everybody with a bit of money could get a photograph made.

That is all we really know.

Could this photograph be Asa?  If I can confirm that the TW Rogers took a photo of a photo and if I can confirm that the man’s clothing is typical of the late 1850s, then I could feel a wee bit of confidence in that identification hypothesis.

For now…

I turn to the blogosphere, to photo detectives, to descendants of Asa Minor–what do YOU think?

  • What timeframe does the jacket, vest and beard suggest to you?
  • Are there other copies of this photograph out there, LABELED?
  • Are there other photographs of Asa out there?

Of course there are other possibilities…

What if this is a member of Mary Jane Gwynne’s family?  I don’t have much research to document her family, other than her father, Alfred, died in 1835.  And until I can narrow down the timeframe for the photograph, original or copied, then I can’t really narrow down which male family members this might be!!

And so I conclude this post as mystified as I began.  The whiskered man begs to tell a story.  For now, the story will have to remain untold.

Mr. Chin Whiskers





It All Starts Here

It all starts here, with a man of determination and cunning, ambition and drive. 

John Pierson Minor was born in 1791 in Middlesex, New Jersey, the eldest child of Abia and Margaret Pierson (Pearson) Minor.  The couple moved their family to the wilds of Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1796, and there John Pierson grew up and prospered.  

A veteran of the War of 1812 he began his family in 1816 with Hannah McClelland.  They had two boys, Abia and Robert, before she died.  John P. then married Isabella McClelland and together they had Hannah, Mary Ann, Margaret, Rebecca, Samuel Pierson, Francis Marion, Isabelle, Sarah Ellen, and Frances Caroline.  John P. Minor was a cattle drover, a farmer, a dry goods store entrepenuer, and in his later years a cattle dealer.  Recognizing the land as the asset of his century, John P. purchased hundreds of acres around his home farm in Greene County, Pennsylvania, in addition to hundreds of acres in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.  Much of this land was passed on to his offspring; the rest was sold as seemed prudent.  John P. was a Democrat throughout the Civil War, supporting the reunion of the country but opposing the abolition of slavery.  He lived out his later years in the home of his middle son, Francis Marion and Mary Jane Gwynn Minor with their children, John Pierson, Olfred, Sarah Priscilla and baby Robert (b. 1869). He died at home in 1874.  

This portrait of my great-great-great-grandfather was taken near the end of his life by Greene County photographer, Thomas W. Rogers of Public Square, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.