On the marriage certificate James claimed to have been 25. This may have been done to appease the mother-in-law. Perhaps she might think the age gap... 28 and 21... a 7 year gap was too great and then would not bless the wedding. This would be my suspicion given Charlotte Remnent Inwood's history in marriage disapprovals (both Henry and poor Armintha - who sadly ended up in an Insane Asylum).
The daguerreotype photo of Esther and Armintha bears a manufacturer's mark/seal in the upper right corner. It reads A. GAUDIN with a number 4 to the right of the text and the figure of a lamb above it.
Below is the actual manufacturer mark. As you can see, this daguerreotype plate was made circa 1850s in France.
1857 wedding portraits
Photo expert Maureen A. Taylor, columnist with Family Tree Magazine and author, confirmed that a couple portraits owned by cousin Doris Whitbeck Bartell are both wedding photos and from the 1857 era.
Ms. Taylor believed the photos to be daguerreotypes because of the reflection seen in the scans. Doris sent both photos to me and I have confirmed them to be daguerreotypes as Maureen suspected. Looking into the photos I could see my reflection (mirrored surface). I had to tilt the photos 45 degrees in order to view them.
According to Maureen's book Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs, 2nd Edition the daguerreotype plates came in various sizes. As both wedding portraits measure near 2.75" in width and 3.25" in height, these are referred to as "sixth plates". The subject had to hold extremely still and "it took nearly five minutes to create the image."
"Implements and tricks" were often used "to assure a flattering image." Head, neck and waist braces were used to hold the subject still. No wonder they look so uncomfortable.
The daguerreotype consists of five pieces: metal image, mat to frame the image, cover glass, edging used to hold the parts together (known as a "preserver") and the case.
The two cased images are extremely fragile as well they should be - they are nearly 160 years old!
Unfortunately there is a bit of deterioration on both portraits and my 600dpi scans pick up on every one of them. Maureen told me that there is a way of cleaning the images however this may strip whatever color is used in the chemical salts forming the picture. Not worth damaging the photos.
The only other method is to photoshop the images, something I am rather good at as a graphic designer. Sometimes when an image is badly scratched it is tough deciding what to keep and what to discard. And some blemishes are near impossible to remove. That being said I have set upon myself the project of photoshopping both images ridding of the deterioration.
Who is the little girl?
So who is the little girl in the photo? The girl appears to be between the ages of 9 and 12. Ms. Taylor thought it might be the flower girl and/or the daughter of a friend or relative.
I would like to point out the similarities between Esther Inwood (identity confirmed based on known photos of Esther through the years) and the little girl.
Note the similarities between the two:
The little girl appears to be a younger version of Esther herself. She is most definitely family. But which of Esther's siblings had daughters that would fit this girl's age?
Esther's siblings include:
The only female children of Esther's siblings born prior to 1857 were:
Clearly the girl is much older than 4 years of age. So if not a niece... then who?
I believe this girl is Armintha Inwood, Esther's youngest sister.
Armintha was born on the 6th of December in 1845. She had just turned 11 at the time of the photograph. Is she the right height to be 11?
The average height for an 11-year old girl is just 57" with a modern range between 53" and 63" or 4' 5" to 5' 3" with an average height of 4' 9". The girl's arm length is nearly the same as that of Esther's. These were not tall people by any means.
In the 19th century people were typically shorter than they are today. The average 12 year old girl was 4' 9" which today is the average 11 year old girl. Consider that in 1912 the average 21 year old female was just 5' 3.75" tall. For an 11-year old girl Armintha would certainly be the correct height given the 1860 era.
In the private papers of Bernice Pennington Whitbeck she wrote about a young photo of little Armintha and how beautiful she appeared. I believe this is the photo to which Bernice was referring.