Tag Archives: MAry Elizabeth Scripture

A Mourning Photo? Questioning a Photo of Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox

Thanks to Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this past weekend, I took a much closer look at another very old family photo in my collection.

I am quite sure this photo of my 3X great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Scripture, because I have a couple of other tintypes of her husband, George Rogers Tarbox.

There is a second reason I believe this is Mary. Years ago, when I first saw it, there was such a similarity in the facial appearance to my 2X great grandmother, Nellie Tarbox Adams.

Nellie was Mary’s daughter, but this definitely isn’t Nellie. The woman’s clothing is very 1860s in style and Nellie was just a little girl at the time.

However, I mentioned that I took a really close look at this photo this weekend and I now a definite idea of exactly when this photo was taken.

Let me point out a few things about this picture:

  1. Mary’s eyes are closed. Today, we end up with lots of pictures taken with our eyes closed, but not so back then. The photographer would have taken several pictures and I doubt anyone would buy a picture of themselves with eyes closed.
  2. Look in the area of Mary’s right elbow. That looks like a wooden brace, not the back of a regular chair.
  3. Next, look at how straight (and somewhat unnatural looking) her left hand is as it is placed on top of her right hand.
  4. Lastly, look at the bottom of the photo. There are no legs to be seen or even the bottom of her dress.

In typical photos taken during the Civil War era, ladies showed off their stylish clothing by standing up, often in profile view, with an arm on a podium, or touching some other pieces of furniture.

There is one more detail to share – Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox was born on 2 December 1827 died on 11 March 1866 in Calais, Washington, Maine, at the very young age of 38.

I am thinking that this may have been taken within a day or two of her death and that this is a mourning photo.

Please leave a comment – what do you think?

George Rogers Tarbox Family

Tarbox is one of those unique names, worthy of a One Name Study. Most people in the United States with this surname are all descended from John Tarbox, who was settled in Lynn, Massachusetts by the 1640’s.

My 3x great grandfather, George Rogers Tarbox, born 14 December 1818 in New Gloucester, Cumberland, Maine, married Mary Elizabeth Scripture, born 2 Dec 1827 in Mason, Hillsboro, New Hampshire on 29 November 1848 in Nashville, Hillsboro, New Hampshire.


       George Rogers Tarbox                           Mary Elizabeth Scripture

They were the parents of seven children, five of whom lived to adulthood, including my great great grandmother, Nellie F. Tarbox, born 28 June 1856 in Robbinston, Washington, Maine and died 23 December 1927 in Boston, MA. Her mother Mary died on 11 March 1866 and is buried at Calais Cemetery in Calais, Maine. Mary’s cause of death is unknown, but as her last surviving child was born in1863 and she was only 39 when she died, it is possible she died giving birth with neither she nor the baby surviving.

George owned a granite quarry in Red Beach, next to Calais. His sons and son-in-law Charles Vickery all worked as stone cutters and quarrymen. George died 27 January 1895 in Calais and, like many others in my family, is buried at Calais Cemetery.

I was given a treasure trove of old family photos in 1981, including the tintypes above of George and Mary and these below:

Here is my great great grandmother, Nellie, who married Calvin Segee Adams:

Nellie F. Tarbox Adams

Although this photo is from the side, Nellie has the same long oval shaped face as her mother. Nellie had an older sister, Elizabeth (called Lizzie) born 19 July 1851 in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts. Lizzie married Charles Vickery and they, too, lived in Calais.

Here are photos that my cousin thought were of Lizzie and Charles when we viewed them together in 1981:

ChasVickeryMaybe     LizzieTarboxVickeryMaybe
Charles Vickery and Elizabeth Tarbox Vickery

Charles died at the young age of 53 on 22 January 1900 of tuberculosis; Lizzie outlived her sister Nellie by only five months, passing away on 27 May 1928.

Nellie and Lizzie’s youngest brother, Oliver Scripture Tarbox, was born 2 July 1863 in Robbinston and died 15 Jan 1924 in Calais. Oliver was named for his maternal grandfather. Here he is as a child:

OliverTarbox                                                   Oliver Scripture Tarbox

Oliver married Jenny Mingo, but they had no children. I have no photo of Oliver as an adult, but there is certainly a family resemblance to his brother, Charles:

Charles Franklin Tarbox

Charles, born 13 May 1859,  married Cleantha (Cannie) Cochran, born 23 April 1864, on 19 Oct 1881 in Milltown, New Brunswick, Canada, right over the border from Calais. They had four children and have numerous descendants today.

Here is Aunt Cannie (on the left) with a friend:

Cannie Cochran Tarbox (left)

Family lore is that Aunt Cannie was the first woman to have cataract surgery at Boston General Hospital, but I have never searched out records to determine if that is true!

The last Tarbox sibling is Horace W. Tarbox, born April 1861 in Robbinston. Horace died on 8 June 1914 of bronchial pneumonia in Sharon, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Eugenia Lane about 1880, probably in Calais. She was born 26 June 1859 in Calais and died 9 April 1947, also in Calais.

Horace and Elizabeth moved to Massachusetts shortly after the birth of their daughter, Elsie Venner Tarbox, in September 1881. They lived in Everett and Sharon and possibly in some other towns. I have no photo of Horace to share.

George and Mary Scripture Tarbox had two other children who died young. Mary Elizabeth, their first child, was born 24 Nov 1849, in Newburyport, Essex, MA. She died there on 23 September 1850. The other child they lost was a son, George Rogers Tarbox, born in 1853 in Maine and who died in Calais on 10 July 1864. There are no surviving photos of either of these children.

If there are other descendants of George R. Tarbox who read this post, I would love to share information and photos with you. Please post a comment.

Tomorrow, I will share a few photos of George Tarbox’s brother, Benjamin Franklin Tarbox, and his family.