Billy McKean – Who Is He?

Most people wish they had the luxury of knowing who people are in unmarked vintage photos. I actually know who this is, since his name is plainly written on the front of the picture. However, Billy McKean is not a family member, so I am assuming he was a friend of someone.

Who Is Billy McKean?

Here are the clues:

1. This photo was among those I inherited from my grandaunt, Pearl Adams Chadwick through her son, Charles Chadwick. Pearl was born in 1887 in Calais, Maine and lived there until she married Perce Chadwick there on 21 June 1916.

The photos I inherited included members of the Chadwick family, the Tarbox family of Calais, Maine and the Adams family of Calais, Maine. The Adamses were boat builders and several of them sailed the world. Calvin Segee Adams (father of Pearl Adams Chadwick) served a boat building apprencticeship in Rhode Island in the late 1860’s.
2. Bulkley was the photographer and several addresses on imprinted on the front, including 2292 & 2294 Third Avenue and 383 North Third Avenue, which I take to mean New York City.
3. Eli E. Bulkley was a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York and the Third Avenue addresses are only a few blocks from the water. He is listed in the 1880 U.s. census of Brooklyn, NY with his family. Occupation: Photographer. He is not found in 1900 and may have died by then or moved elsewhere.
4. Here are similar swimsuits:

1880’s-1890’s Men’s Swimsuits

5. Dark colored cabinet cards were in use from about 1884-1895, which fits with the style dates from the men’s swimsuits in the above images.

William McKean is a very common name and I have found no likely suspects to be this man. I am estimating that his picture was taken about 1890 and he would have been 20ish or a bit older at that time, so born, say, 1865-1870.

If you, by some remarkable coincidence, recognize him, please leave a comment. Suggestions as to how to go about narrowing down the field of potential candidates would also be most welcome.

One thought on “Billy McKean – Who Is He?”

  1. Elias Edwin Bulkeley was my g-g-grandfather. I have more information to share about him if you are interested. Please email me privately.

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