Edward Lincoln Washer, Photographer, 1860-1943

Edward Lincoln Washer. Not only did this cousin of mine have a distinguished middle name, but he was a talented professional photographer in the Scranton area.

edward lincoln washer photo

This is a “cabinet card” photograph by Edward L. Washer. Cabinet cards were thin photographic prints mounted on cardboard. They peaked in popularity in the 1880s. (I found the above photo at this blog, but don’t know where the picture is from originally.)

A cousin on my Secor side sent me these three Edward Lincoln Washer photos:


These pictures are from his family collection. They weren’t labeled, so it’s anybody’s guess who the subjects are. Source: R. Harper

Up until 1896, Edward had a photo gallery at Dunmore Corners. Around that time, he moved to Olyphant and set up his business there. The week before the paper announced the move, he lost some equipment in a Dunmore barn fire:

edward washer fire
The Scranton Tribune, 13 Nov 1896, Fri, Page 7, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/18038025/edward_washer_fire_in_barn/

He eventually moved back to Dunmore.

Edward Washer of Dunmore passed through town with his photograph wagon a few days ago and wanted to take our quaint, old-fashioned town along with him in the shape of photos. (Hamlinton, PA) – The Scranton Republican,  07 Jun 1902, Sat,  Page 6

“Some early photographers would travel by wagon among rural villages and farms to get the business of customers who were too far away from the larger towns and cities where the fixed studios operated.” Source

I’ve also seen a homicide case where Edward Washer was called to testify regarding the crime scene photos he’d taken!

I only have time for a super quick post, so that’s all she wrote for now.

See also: Anything to Get the Shot: Itinerant Photographers 

Edward Lincoln Washer is my 1st cousin, 4x’s removed.

Per wikitree’s relationship calculator:

Edward Washer and Alison McClintock are both descendants of Abraham Washer.

1. Edward is the son of Amos Washer 
2. Amos is the son of Abraham Washer 
This makes Abraham the grandfather of Edward.

1. Alison is the daughter of [private father] 
2. [Private] is the son of Clarence McClintock 
3. Clarence is the son of Mary Louise Secor 
4. Mary is the daughter of Francis D. Secor 
5. Francis is the son of Dianna (Washer) Secor 
6. Dianna is the daughter of Abraham Washer 
This makes Abraham the fourth great grandfather of Alison.


“Saxey” Secor and the Gravity Railroad

1904 Reunion Gravity Railroad The_Scranton_Republican_Wed__Mar_6__1929_c

This is a great find for me because it features quotes from one of  my direct grandcestors —  quotes drawn from the author’s memory — no tape recorders circa 1860. 🙂

I was searching for info about the Gravity Railroad where my 3rd great grandfather Edward J. Secor worked, and I found an account of an A.C. Snyder’s first day working on the railroad in the early 1860s, under the tutelage of “Saxey” Secor.

There were two Secors nicknamed Saxey that I know of, father and son. It seems that Saxey was a not-uncommon nickname in the 1800s.

I think Mr. Snyder was writing about the senior Saxey, my 4th great grandfather Allen Secor, since he refers to his new boss as “the old man” throughout the article. Allen’s son Edward, who also went by the nickname Saxey, would have only been in his early 30s at the time of these events.

1904 Reunion Gravity Railroad The_Scranton_Republican_Wed__Mar_6__1929_c
1904 1st Reunion of Gravity Railroad Employees. Lead up articles to the reunion say that Great-great-great Granddad Edward J. Secor was expected to attend, so there’s a good chance he’s in this picture somewhere!

From The Citizen, (Honesdale, PA), 11 Sep 1912:

“Much has been printed about the coal cars and passenger cars that ran on the gravity railroads, but nothing has yet appeared regarding what were called “the trucks,” which were low flat cars for carrying logs.

A. C. Snyder, president of the Gravity Employees’ Association, left the lumber woods of New York state in the early [18]60’s, when he was a kid, and coming to Dunmore, our neighboring borough, obtained employment with “Saxey” Secor.

Mr. Secor, who lives near the foot of No. 6, was the contractor employed on the Pennsylvania gravity to load logs upon “the trucks” and bring them into this valley. Mr. Snyder, describing his first day on the road, as well as subsequent experiences as a Gravity hand, has written the following:

“We left the head of the No. 6 plane at 6 o’clock in the morning and went up the famous Moosic mountains. When we arrived at the head of No. 11, which was the last ascending plane on the mountain, the old man (Mr. Secor), said, ‘Now, my boy, we have 14 miles of a ride without the aid of wire ropes and steam engines.’

Away we went around short curves, and the first thing I knew we were in the No. 11 tunnel. When we came out in the daylight again, my hat settled down on my head and I felt great relief. That a train of cars could run through a hole like that was a stunner to me.

On we went, passing scrub oaks, huckleberry bushes and rattlesnake dens. In about an hour and a half we arrived at the foot of the No. 12 plane. There we found about half a mile of coal cars ahead of us.

While lying there, waiting for the coal to be hoisted up the plane, I said to the old man, “This is the way to railroad, for there is no stopping for wood and old ties along the road.’ He replied, ‘You have not seen it all yet.’

I wanted to hook on [I think he means hook one train car to another] but the old man said, ‘Boy, you get out of the way or you will lose your fingers, and then you won’t be good for anything.’

I climbed up on the little cars. One of the other boys hooked on and away we went up the hill.

On arriving at the top, we took another road, which was called the branch. This line ran to the foot of No. 19 on the light track, [at Lake Jones] now known as Lake Ariel.

An antique canthook
An antique canthook

When we were about half way over the branch, the train stopped along a big pile of logs and props.

The old man picked up a canthook, handed it to me, and said, ‘Now, boy, we don’t want any wood or old ties, but we want those logs and props rolled on those trucks in short order.’

I took the canthook and looked at it as if I had never seen one before, but I had used one ever since I was big enough. My father was a lumberman and I was at home with the canthook.

When the trucks were loaded, the chains were drawn over the top, the binders pulled down and fastened, and we proceeded on our trip.

On arriving at No. 19, we stopped for dinner in front of Potter’s Hotel. After dinner, we started out for home.

When we arrived at the head of 21, Mr. Secor said, ‘Boy, you will have 12 miles to sit down; watch me run the trucks and learn all you can about them.’

When we were about 5 miles from the head of 21, we came out of the woods at a little town called Dunnings, and I saw another another railroad across the creek. There was a train with three locomotives standing at the station.

One of the engines was at the wood pile, taking wood, and the pile appeared big enough to save the men the trouble of tearing down fences or picking up old ties. I asked Mr. Secor what road it was, and he said it was the Delware, Lackawanna and Hudson.

Before I could ask any more about the road with the big piles of wood, we were in the woods again, running over trestles, around the stumps and under hanging rock. When we reached Bunker Hill, Mr. Brady came out of his office to measure the logs.

He asked Mr. Secor where he got the ‘beecher’ (meaning me). Mr. Secor answered, ‘That boy is no ‘beecher.’

[What’s a ‘beecher’? I asked my Scranton-area raised cousin Ben if he had any idea, and his guess was: Beecher probably has something to do with Beeches Woods, the whole area that was Covington Township, that divided into Madison (Moscow) and some other townships. The area was known for its stands of beech trees. Another tip from Ben is that beech trees are considered “low value” wood, so maybe that has something to do with the apparently negative connotation of beecher? Just a guess!]

“I got a boarding-house place at the company boarding house at No. 6, which was kept by Alexander Stuart. At 6 o’clock the next morning we went to Bunker Hill.

Mr. Secor said to me, ‘You will go with me to Pittston with the props. The men will unload the trucks at the Darkey mill and then go to No. 12 and load them again.’

The old man took me on the head car so he could show me the country, but all I could see was woods until we arrived at Pittston. I unloaded the props at the mines and returned.

I worked on this train a year and then went on a coal train between Dunmore and Hawley with Edward Secor, son of Allan[sic] Secor.

I ran on this train until the fall of 1866, when I was compelled to leave on account of the cars riding so hard.

The track was nearly all strap iron, spiked on sleepers. After it was used a while it became rough, and it was impossible for me to stand the jarring any longer.”


A.C. Snyder, from “Ninth Reunion of Gravity Employees,” The Citizen, (Honesdale, PA), 11 Sep 1912, Wed, Page 8, digital image, Newspapers.com, accessed Feb 09, 2018, https://www.newspapers.com/image/?spot=17299083 [Public Domain]

Relationship chart – How I’m related to Allen “Saxey” Secor (1804-1882):

Allen is the fourth great grandfather of Alison

  1. Allen Secor is the father of Edward J. Secor
  2. Edward J. Secor is the father of Francis D. Secor
  3. Francis D. Secor is the father of Mary L. Secor
  4. Mary L. Secor is the mother of Clarence McClintock
  5. Clarence McClintock is the father of my dad
  6. Me


Florence “Foddie” Dolph – My 1st Cousin 5x Removed – An inspirational ancestor at 101 years old

I’ve only recently become acquainted with the Dolph branch of my tree. They married into the Secor Family who then married into the McClintocks. This branch is on my grandpa Clank’s mother’s side.

It seems like you could easily write several books about the Dolph family. But I think a happy place to get started is with Miss Florence Dolph who attracted worldwide attention for the unique way she celebrated her birthdays.

Florence Dolph Celebrates her 101th birthday.
Florence Dolph Celebrates her 101th birthday. “Whoosh! She’s 101!” (May 19, 1948) Des Moines Tribune, (Des Moines, Iowa), page 5, digital images,
Newspapers.com, accessed Jan 10, 2018.

The picture above was taken on her 101th birthday, but the article below describes her 100th-birthday slide from the year before. Transcribed from The Wilkes-Barre Record, Tue, May 20, 1947:

Centenarian on Banister Ride

Miss Florence Dolph Hopes to Attend Bucknell Reunion

Miss Florence E. Dolph shed her 364-day-per-year dignity yesterday to slide down the banister at her home in Dunmore on her 100th birthday.

Miss Dolph facetiously referred to the banister as, “My horse, Pete, after a wonderful ride.”

Miss Dolph completed her once-a-year ride decked out in an orchid sent her from California.

Ordinarily, as testified by her niece, Miss Florence E. Robertson, who resides with her, Miss Dolph is a dainty little woman not given to gymnastics. But Miss Dolph, who has a delightful sense of humor, departed from her sedate ways just to prove her point that life can start at 100.

“She’s the life of any party and I’ll be the tired one when we go to bed,” said Miss Robertson, who has been Miss Dolph’s companion since she went to California to be with Miss Dolph 12 years ago, and who returned to Dunmore with her several months ago.

Miss Dolph lived for 44 years in Los Angeles before returning. The family home is now owned by her nephew, Charles S. Robertson.

While no formal celebration was planned, it was a real visiting day at the Dolph home. Scores of well wishers stopped and extended their congratulations.

As to the banister slide, it really isn’t anything new in the centenarian’s life–she’s been doing it for years and years. It’s her favorite way of twitting her friends about how “young” she is.

“Not satisfied with birthdays alone, she ushers in all holidays the same way,” explained her niece.

In addition to well wishes, five birthday cakes, many boxes and bouquets of flowers and more than 100 birthday cards, plus gifts from relatives, flooded her home.

Attired in earrings, a gold necklace and pin, and two diamond rings which combine the pure white diamonds with canary, or yellow, diamonds, Miss Dolph still possesses a keen sense of humor and an intense love for music and art.

With many miles of travel to her credit in this country and abroad, Miss Dolph has at least one more trip on her mind for the immediate future.

“If she is as well then as she is now, Aunt Florence will attend her class reunion at Bucknell University on June 7,” Miss Robertson promised.

Miss Dolph graduated from the Bucknell Female Institute, now the university, in 1868. With one exception, she is the school’s oldest alumnus.”

— “Centenarian on Banister Ride,” (May 20, 1947), Wilkes-Barre Record, (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), Page 4, digital images, Newspapers.com, accessed Jan 10, 2018.

And by the way, she DID attend that Bucknell reunion!

Relationship Chart: To sum it up, Florence’s grandfather, Alexander Dolph (1782-1860), is my 5th great grandfather.

-Florence E Dolph (1847 – 1949)
1st cousin 5x removed
-Edward Dolph (1814 – 1890)
father of Florence E Dolph
-Alexander Dolph (1782 – 1860)
father of Edward Dolph
-Eliza Dolph (1804 – 1845)
daughter of Alexander Dolph
-Edward J Secor (1830 – 1912)
son of Eliza Dolph
-Frank D Secor (1860 – 1929)
son of Edward J Secor
-Mary Louise Secor (1881 – 1970)<–My great, great grandmother
daughter of Frank D Secor
-My grandfather Clarence Secor McClintock
son of Mary Louise Secor
-My Father

Tragic Events for McGeevers in 1890s Dunmore, PA

The Irish branch of my family tree has two main surnames on my mom’s side: Morahan and McGeever. I’d done some research on the Morahans that immigrated to Scranton, and I was surprised to see that very few of them were coal miners; the men were mostly all carpenters by trade. But then, last night I started digging into the McGeever side some more, and I found out that mining connections are indeed there on the Irish side of my family.

It all started for me with another search of the McGeever name on newspapers.com. They’re continually adding more papers to their site. I found a new-to-me and very sad article from 1892 about a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a runaway horse in Dunmore, PA.

Her name was Katie McGeever. On a September day at noon, she was walking home from school when a horse ran out of control– with tragic results. The article said her father was Edward McGeever of Grove Street in Dunmore. My 3rd-great-grandfather is named Edward McGeever, and he lived at Grove and Webster in Dunmore, according to city directories from that time. This must be his child.
From the Scranton Republican:

Killed By a Runaway Horse - Katie McGeever
My great-great aunt, Katie McGeever. Clipped from The Scranton Republican, 21 Sep 1892, Wed, Page 3

Such a sad thing to discover, but there was more to come. Searching on for news articles containing the McGeever name, I found this from 1895:

My great-great-great grandfather Edward McGeever. Clipped from The Scranton Tribune, 25 Jun 1895, Tue, Page 7

I have another 3rd great-grandfather, Joseph Groegler, who was also killed in a mine. I’m getting the feeling I’ll probably find this kind of tragedy in every branch of my family tree. I found several other McGeevers who worked in mines in Wilkes-Barre, PA, but I’m not sure yet exactly what their connections are (if any) to my McGeever line.

I was unable to locate an obituary that might shed some light on when Edward McGeever first arrived in America and who his parents are. One lead I have is that I share a few DNA matches with folks who descend from an Ann McGeaver, born about 1836 in Carracastle, Mayo, Ireland.

Back to the records, I was also shocked to learn that Edward McGeever and his wife, Catherine Reilly, had 15 children, but as of 1895, only eight of them were living. Child mortality rates were high back then, and every family on the census during those times seems to have lost at least one child. It’s tough to imagine what that was like.

In America in the late 19th century:

[T]he diseases of consequence were of an endemic infectious nature, the products of pathogens that were ever-present in communities and that took their greatest toll

among infants and young children.

These diseases were sufficiently dangerous to produce mortality levels that were, by present standards, appallingly high. Nearly two out of every ten children died before reaching their fifth birthday.

From: Fatal Years: Child Mortality in Late Nineteenth-Century

These stories show how tough times were for our ancestors in the late 19th century.

How I descend from Edward McGeever:

  • Edward McGeever (1853 – 1895) Born in Ireland
    My 3rd great-grandfather
  • Mary Ann McGeever (1875 – 1937) Born in Dunmore, PA
    daughter of Edward McGeever
  • Agnes Morahan (1907 – 1978) Born in Dunmore, PA
    daughter of Mary Ann McGeever
  • (My grandmother)
    daughter of Agnes Morahan
  • (My mother)
  • (Me)