Friday Faces & Places: George S. Cook in Milledgeville & LaGrange GA

George S. Cook was, as they say in the South, “a travlin’ man,” and he covered quite a lot of territory in west central Georgia in 1848 and 1849. In this post, my third and last on him,  I give some description of his six week stay in Milledgeville, and his following visit to LaGrange, which was a significant visit in one major way.

That will bring us back to George S. Cook’s second visit to Columbus, and his move to Charleston, South Carolina, as a “permanent” home base.

In Georgia’s capital city, Milledgeville (Baldwin County), Cook located his gallery from about March 20 to May 8, 1849 in rooms in the State House, adjoining the Representative chamber, or so said his advertisements and the Southern Recorder newspaper editors’ notes. Below is one of the latter, from the April 17, 1849 issue.

Click on any image to enlarge

Cook Mville April 1849

As in the previous two Friday posts (  and the information on his “accounts” and “pictures taken” is transcribed from my notes made from his Account Books at the Library of Congress, located in the George S. Cook Papers (mss. 10108) .

He recorded no expenses, as such, in his Account Book for this Milledgeville period, but under his “Macon expenses” he noted that on March 29 there was “Ex. To Milledgeville $6.50” – possibly daguerreotype samples that had been on exhibit there prior to his arrival. And under his Charleston expenses for 1850, as an “Amt. Brought Forward” there is a note, “March 19 Mr. Gage, Milledge. GA 1/6 [plate] $3” and I assume this means he sold a plate to Gage in Milledgeville, for his use for a daguerreotype. Perhaps Gage had not yet paid him.

From his Pictures Taken list we see that Cook took made his first daguerreotype in Milledgeville of a Mrs. Hall, on March 24th.

“Pictures Taken, Milledgeville GA” (his dates Mar. 24 – May 8, 1849)

March 24       Mrs. Hall, Midway

March 25       Mr. Sneade, in regalia


March 28       Mr.  Parker, Calif.

March 31       Mr. Comton’s – child sick

April 2           Dr. & Mrs. White

Note: Dr. Samuel G. White, 24 in 1849, became one of three delegate to the Georgia secession convention from Baldwin County; he had a large plantation with 65 slaves – from James C. Bonner’s Milledgeville: Georgia’s Antebellum Capital (Athens: UGA Press, 1978), p.156-157

April 7     Mr. Nesbitt, editor

Mr. Roan, Midway

April 18   Col. Camel, editor of Fed. Union

Note: the newspaper Federal Union was published 1830-62 & 1865-72 in Milledgeville, access to that newspaper is available through the Digital Library of Georgia

April 19   Mrs. Dr. White

April 24   Mr. Murfree, Ten.

May 2      Miss Blake, Macon

May 3    Mrs. Sneade, 80 years old

May 4    Dr. Martyn, Clerk Supreme Court

Mr. Compton, State Surveyor

Note:  This is Pleasant M. Compton, who was elected by the Georgia legislature as surveyor general of the state, a position he held for ten years.

Here is a beautiful daguerreotype of George S.  Cook (middle figure)  soon after he left the itinerant life behind, ca. 1852

G.S.Cook Wikipedia Disunion_cook-jumbo

used with permission: Collection of George S. Whiteley IV.

Cook wrapped up business in Milledgeville and he, his wife Elizabeth,  and their two-year old daughter arrived in LaGrange, Georgia (Troup County) about May 15,1849.

At the end of the month, on May 31, 1849, their son, George LaGrange Cook was born. Because he was born in LaGrange, his middle name was given in honor of that Georgia city. He later became a prominent photographer, as did his younger brother Huestis.

Cook’s Account Book entries for his LaGrange visit are dated May 15 – June 29 1849, but the “amt. over”  notes he wrote, go through September.

There is one rather puzzling entry for July 16. Cook wrote “Deported with Mr. Foster $155” – an obsolete meaning of Deport is to convey away, transport, remove, or carry off, but I honestly do not know what Cook meant by this remark. Mr. Foster would be his landlord, the jeweler Whitby Foster; did they travel together, did Cook mean they were trading supplies – what? If any reader of this post has an idea of the meaning, let me know because I am curious!

Cook lists his LaGrange “Supply Sales” accounts for the dates of June 9; July 3, 12, 15, 24; Aug. 17, 22; Sep. 6; Oct. 10, 15, and Oct. 18.  I have listed the (supposed) photographers or students he cited there.

Mr. Nowell

Mr. G. W. Muller (Columbus?)

Francis R. Torbet

Mr. H. Chalmers for Mr. Alexander (he probably meant daguerreotypist J. H. Chalmers)

Mr. D. (G.?) Cooper

this may be M. A. Cooper, who was a photographer in several Georgia cities in the 1850s

I. L. Beggs & Co.

Mr. Clar, by Mr. Day

Mr. Day is probably Sidney B. Day of Macon

Mr. Fleming

Mr. Mathews

Charles Fridal – Yorkville SC

Daguerreotypist Charles Freidal later worked in Milledgeville GA in 1850 and in 1851

Mr. W.S. Snell

Mr. Barnard

Cook often sold to Mr. Barnard, who I believe is F.A.P. Barnard, one of the South’s first photographers, and at U. of AL 1837 – 1854

The “Pictures Taken LaGrange” list (his dates, May 24 – June 15, 1849) is rather a short one.

May 30   Benj [amin] Hill Esquire, Locket 1/6 $3.50

Note: Benjamin H. Hill was admitted to the Georgia bar in late 1844, and had a law practice in LaGrange. He was  elected to the state legislature in 1851, and had a prominent political career. His LaGrange home, Bellevue,  is on the National Register of Historic Places. (source: New Georgia Encyclopedia; Wikipedia)

May 31   Miss Pug [Peg?] Hill – sold at Columbus $3.00

June 7    Mr. Sledge / 12 miles out – 1/6 $3.50

On June 15th, Cook moved his little family From LaGrange, back to Columbus, in nearby Muscogee County, where he once again made daguerreotype portraits.

He was located in Columbus, off and on, for over two months, from July 3 to September 13.  See my previous post of June 7, 2013, for details on his work in Columbus; a direct link to the post  is

While he was in the state, George S. Cook worked in five separate counties in middle, and in central Georgia – Muscogee (Columbus), Meriwether (Warm Springs), Bibb (Macon),  Baldwin (Milledgeville), and Troup (LaGrange).

Click image to enlarge it

G. S. Cook in Georgia

G. S. Cook in Georgia

Did he work in others Georgia cities or counties he did not note? Although he seemed fairly meticulous in his notations, perhaps he did. Before his final move to Charleston, Cook noted in his accounts a series of short trips – we assume in order to tie up his business in Georgia, and to establish his new one in South Carolina.

When he was still working and living in Columbus, he traveled to Barnesville, Atlanta, Augusta, and Macon, Georgia, and went to Charleston twice via Savannah.

When Cook again returned to Columbus, he must have come for his family. He and his family were settled in Charleston by September 18th and Cook began making photographs there by October 10th.  After being in Charleston about four months, it appears that Cook returned to Columbus, at least briefly.

Under February 25, 1850, Cook noted in his accounts cash to pay expenses to Columbus and wagon – $40.00” and opposite that he wrote “Left with McIntyre at Columbus – 2 plates + specimens of his portraits.”

I believe this refers to A. C. McIntyre (b. 1832 in GA), who worked in Georgia in the late 1840s, early and mid-1850s, and again in 1868 to 1870.  He  became a prominent Alabama photographer.

His advertisement from the Columbus Enquirer, in November 20 to December 11, 1849.

Click to enlarge.

McIntyre Columbus Nov1849

At that time, at only about nineteen years of age, he was located in Columbus, Georgia, over the jewelry store of Foster & Purple (who rented out their “well known Daguerreotype Room”). He was there from at least November 1849 until February 1850, in the space where Cook had worked on his first visit to Columbus.

Because Cook was bringing some of McIntyre’s own work to him in Columbus, It may be that McIntyre received much of his initial training from George S. Cook, both in Alabama and in Georgia.

After his McIntyre note, Cook wrote “specimens to Mr. Lansing in Ale” – looking at this again, I believe Cook had been to and returned from Columbus when he noted this in his Accounts. He had sent materials to Lansing, who was at that point located in Alabama, before the two met “in the middle” in Columbus, Georgia, as partners Cook & Lansing.

An interesting comparison is one of Cook & Lansing’s Columbus advertisements, which ran in February and March 1850 in the Columbus Enquirer, Cook&LansingColumbusGA1850with an advertisement for his Charleston gallery, like this one that Cook placed in the Milledgeville Federal Union, where it ran at least in the months of November and December 1849. Cook Ch'ston adv. Feb.1850

Notice the similar phrasing, “Beautiful Daguerreotype Paintings – not surpassed/ the finest light — in the Southern Country.” Our George (yes, he was ours for a while) was not one to hide his light under a bushel!


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