That title was about as random as I could make it for a reason–and blog visitor Skippy is helping to make my point.
No one could identify Fort Grand or the Hausels. Maybe (though I’m not claiming we know for sure) that is because this is CAMP GRANT and the HANSELLS (Skippy’s very plausable theory).
I’ve lectured on this type of thing before but it has been a while. Please, everyone, mark your photos clearly. Then scan ‘em if you haven’t. Print ‘em if all you have are electronic copies. Both are vulnerable.
And if you have cool old photos and want to share, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post them here. We’d love to see them.
The following came from Skippy. Thanks Skip !
Here’s my guess about this picture:
It’s not Fort Grand, but Camp Grant near Dyerville on the Eel River. It’s an easy misnomer to make. Camp Grant was a military camp under the jurisdiction of Fort Humboldt. Perhaps Fort and Camp were used interchangeably or confused altogether, and also Grand vs. Grant, too. When I first saw the picture, this was the location I had immediately in my mind.
Perhaps it’s not the Hausel family pictured here, but the pioneering Hansell family: Amos Hansell and his two sons (who the woman is, however, is curious. Amos’ first wife died in 1859. He married again, to his son’s mother-in-law, Caroline Conrad Guthrie, late in age and around 1892. Caroline had had 4 previous husbands and ten children by the time she was 42. She married Amos at age 63. Amos would have been 67 years old at the time of this picture if taken around 1891-2; his sons, Amos and Harry, would have been 34 and 41. The ages and subjects– and Caroline– match up depending when the photo was taken).
Amos Hansell was a postmaster at Camp Grant. He established a commercial nursery business with his two sons around 1868-72 that operated for decades. Amos was “well known throughout his part of Humboldt county, and his orchard is one of the finest in the vicinity.” In the picture, our presumed Amos is holding a melon and surrounded by many well kept apple and fruit trees.
They were renowned and productive nurserymen and orchardists; clearing 30 acres for their many varieties of apple trees (and also growing peaches, pears, cherries, tomatoes, and walnuts). Amos’ father, a skilled carpenter and joiner, built their house at Camp Grant. The residence was described as “exquisite, attractive, and in harmony with its surroundings.”
Judging from the pictured location and terrain, apple and fruit trees, the nice residence, well-made fences, subjects, and most likely a prominent and prosperous business warranting an early photograph, this is my best and well-speculated guess. The rough ages of the subjects seem to correlate. The Hansell Family at Camp Grant, and not the Hausel family at Fort Grand, appears to be a more likely possibility making sense– but I can’t prove this and it may be mistaken. Old handwriting, dim memory, and a faulty transcription on a photograph can sometimes lead to these name anomalies, as you know. From what I can determine, we have no record of either Fort Grand or a Hausel family in Humboldt County.
More on the Amos Hansell family and Camp Grant can be found on the web. There’s some information on Amos and his family:
Curious to note on that last link: Amos’ son, Harry Guthrie Hansell, was born in 1886. The link says, “He (Harry) apparently had a yearning for knowledge and somehow managed to not only gain enough education but also money to attend the University of California at Berkley where he earned his teaching degree. His main interest was history. He returned home to teach the Native Americans at the Humboldt Indian School in the Arcata area.”
I’ve never heard of the Humboldt Indian School. Have you? (No. anyone else????)
Perhaps other readers will have more to say about this most intriguing picture mystery!