A Photographer Fourth of July

MaineEnvelopeCWCivil War-era envelope from Maine, “Onward to victory”; courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division;  LC-DIG-ppmsca-31820

It’s July 4th and a time to celebrate this great country of ours. But of course people are born and people die on this day, just as they do on any other. On this particular date, two interesting Georgia photographers were born, and another one died.

Augusta photographer Daniel F. Tanner died there today in 1880; he worked in Augusta about twenty years, ca. 1857 to 1877.  Atlanta photographer Tracy B. Mathewson was born today in Pickens County, Georgia in 1876. After leaving Augusta, where around 1900 he sold bicycles, he worked as a news photographer, and later as a motion picture photographer in various locations, but out of Atlanta from 1910 into the mid-20th century.

I am going to concentrate on that third photographer, George C. Drummond, and tell you his story.

George Clark Drummond was born July 4, 1840, probably in Winslow, Maine (this 1840 birthdate is from the Maine birth and christening records, but other records cite 1841). He was one of at least eight children, and prior to his arrival in the state of Georgia around 1870, George C. Drummond enlisted in Company G, Maine 3rd Infantry Regiment in the spring of  1861. He was promoted to Corporal, then to 4th Sergeant, and he was mustered out on June 28, 1864.

unid MaineSoldier with bayonetHand-colored tintype by S. L. Carlton; an unidentified Maine soldier in infantry uniform with Volunteer Maine Militia belt buckle; courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division; LC-DIG-ppmsca-33444 

Upon leaving the military, he was working as a photographer in Newport, Maine, and he paid his tax there as a photographer in both 1865 and 1866. I do not know when he actually began training, or if he began by assisting another photographer.

According to an article written at the time of his death (Atlanta Constitution of April 27, 1918,  page 9), he and his older brother fought on opposite sides in the Civil War.  George, of course, fought for the Union, but the unnamed brother enlisted in and fought for the Confederacy. If you would completely believe the article, neither knew the other was in the army of the foe, but both fought at Gettysburg and Spotsylvania.

DrummondHdline1918

On the 1860 Maine census, the 19-year-old George, a farm hand who apparently worked on his father’s farm, is shown with only one older brother, listed as William E., a 21 year old clerk.  Huh, we think, where would he have clerked there in rural Maine?

It turns out that his older brother was actually named  Edward William Drummond and he was in Savannah, Georgia after that Winslow, Kennebec, Maine census was taken in June. Apparently Edward had been to Savannah before and  he was in that city in time to be counted on the August 4, 1860 census. He was at that time  a clerk in the Commission House, so that is where he was clerking!

Working and living in the South, he may have felt it was natural that he serve the Confederacy (or he had “succumbed to Southern ways,” according to the news article). He enlisted in the Georgia 1st Infantry Regiment (“Olmstead’s”)  in August 1861, and he was eventually in what became known as the Chatham Artillery; he was promoted to full Major on 25 Jul 1864.

GeorgiaSoldierUnidCW LCAmbrotype by an unidentified photographer of an unidentified soldier in a Georgia Confederate uniform,  with a double roller belt and Bowie knife; courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; LC-DIG-ppmsca-37410

Edward Drummond was back in Savannah after the war, and he is listed in the 1866 city directory as a merchant, boarding at Mrs. Dixon’s on Drayton Street; he had married her daughter Mary Ann in June 1860, and they named their first son George (George William Drummond, born in Savannah in 1861 applied for membership to the Maine Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; his form verifies his heritage).

In the 1870 Savannah city directory he is listed as E. W. Drummond & Merchants on Bay Street, and none other than his brother G. C. Drummond was his partner and living on Broughton Street in his brother’s home. As of the 1871 city directory Edward is without his partner, but had a storage warehouse on Bay Street so he was doing well.

Although George was listed in Savannah in 1870, he may not have actually been living there, and the city directory is often compiled several months earlier. By the time the 1870 census was taken in Atlanta that June, George C. Drummond was counted there as an Artist. He first appears in the Atlanta city directories in 1871, under Ambrotypes, and his gallery was upstairs at 40 Whitehall. In 1872 he’s described as a ferrotypist, and that remained his description until he was listed in 1876 as doing ferrotypes and photographs. Although in 1874 he was listed as working at 42 Whitehall, and by 1876 listed at 40 Whitehall and in 1877 again at 42 Whitehall, these locations are basically the same.

His brother Edward W. Drummond died in September 1876. Called Major (but as “E . L.” ) in his obituary (Savannah Morning News September 28, 1876 page 3),  it indicates he came to Savannah in about 1858, when he was about twenty.  Only the week before  his death, he and his wife lost three of their four children to a yellow fever epidemic (SMN September 20, 1876 page 3). Only their older son George lived. Edward’s obituary mentions  his parents and sisters in Maine, and his brother living in Atlanta.

By 1878 G. C. Drummond was out of the business of photography. The death of his only brother, a niece, and two nephews must have been quite a blow, and perhaps he reconsidered his career. In 1879 he was working as a commission merchant, by 1880 as a grocer,  by 1900 as a landlord, and by 1910 in real estate. He died in Atlanta at his residence in the Majestic Hotel on April 24, 1918, widowed, with only his daughter Wilhelmina, called “Willie,”  listed as his survivor.

The last two years George C. Drummond was in business as a photographer, “Theo” T. H. Ivie (b. 1859) was his operator (1875 – 1877).  That final year Ivie was probably doing  most of the work.  In 1878 Sanders & Alddridge (John Aldridge & J. R. Sanders) took over Drummond’s Whitehall Street location, and Ivie worked for them.

Very soon the gallery was known as Sanders & Ivie’s Ferrotype Rooms, but by 1879, Ivie was working on his own, at the same location. Ivie did very well as a photographer in Atlanta, but he died  too early, on Oct. 20, 1886 – he had just turned thirty-seven. Here is a link to his monument in Oakland Cemetery – my favorite photographer’s grave marker. http://tinyurl.com/mw6hmsj

There are always loose ends to tie-up on these fellows, and it is difficult to admit that it really isn’t necessary to know absolutely everything, and I should quit the pursuit. Although there is more about the Drummond brothers to know,  I hope you found this an interesting story. All our lives are interesting, but oh, those photographers are downright fascinating!

 © E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 comments

  1. It always feel sad for the family when I hear that brothers fought on opposite side. The dynamics and tensions have to be difficult. It makes me think about the children’s book, Across Five Aprils. I read it with my kids years ago. It is abut a family in southern Illinois that is pulled apart when one family member joins the Confederate army, and other members join the Union army.

  2. Yes, that was something I knew about, but until I found the story of the Drummonds, I had not read any accounts; I did not know about the children’s book. I know there is more to this story and perhaps a descendant will find this post and give us more detail. I have had relatives, descendents contact me before after reading a post, so it might happen here.

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