Two Historic Photographs from the Dooley’s Ferry Area

While a large number of maps and other historical documents pertaining to Dooley’s Ferry have come to light during the course of this research, virtually nothing in the way of photographic material has been identified. A few weeks ago, a local surveyor mentioned that there were survey notes from a 1900 General Land Office survey of the area around Dooley’s Ferry that contained two photographs of the people who lived there.

The Bureau of Land Management makes the GLO survey notes available on its website, so I tracked down the notes and located the photographs. The first one shows a family outside of their house, with two outbuildings visible in the background. The men in the photograph are identified as Allen Johnson, Henry Madison, and John Peoples. A notation of “Mr. Carr’s cook, etc.” may refer to one of the women seated on the porch. Mr Madison appears to have just returned from a hunt, as he totes a firearm in one hand and, perhaps, a clutch of game in the other.

John Peoples, presumably the man standing furthest right, was born in March of 1866 in Arkansas. His mother, Martha Johnson, born in Tennessee. John was married to Florence in 1893, and, during the year the photograph was taken, they had three daughters. Ritter, age six, Elizia, age three, and Mary, age one year. They may be the three girls in the photograph. Ritter may be the girl leaning on John, and Mary may be the girl sitting on the lap of, presumably, her mother, Florence.

Allen Johnson was born in Tennessee in March of 1859. By the time the photograph was taken, he and his wife, Martha, had a large family of seven children in Spring Hill Township. The two boys in the photograph could be his sons, Edgar (8) and Richard (4). The woman seated behind the younger boy could be Martha Johnson.

Both Johnson and Peoples were farmers. There was only one Henry Madison in the 1900 census for Arkansas, him being a resident of Faulkner County, north of Little Rock. Mr. Madison may have been a friend visiting the area at the time of the photograph.

The other photograph shows Mr. John Carr, seated on his horse before his house. A snake-rail fence forms a field to the left of the photograph, and a small pack of dogs accompanies the rider.

There is no one named John Carr in the Hempstead or Lafayette County census books in 1900, so it’s a little unclear on first blush what Mr. Carr’s background is. There was a man of that name, a resident of Bois D’Arc Township in Hempstead County, in 1880. This John Carr was an Irish immigrant, who would have been around 65 years old when the photo was taken.

There are more details about the people and buildings in these photographs to be uncovered. I look forward to teasing them out down the road.

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