Stuart Glass Negatives – covering 1901 to possibly 1910 to 1911
By Greg and Alice Luckhardt
First notice the surname spelling ‘McFarlan’ is the way the family spelled it for the 1700s and 1800s, was on headstones for family members. Occasionally the “McFarland’ spelling was used, but rarely.
William (Bill) Dowling McFarlan, Jr. was born August 1836 in Chester Co., PA. He was a merchant, like his father, William D. McFarlan Sr., for many years in the late 1800s. The McFarlan family lived mostly in East Brandywine, Chester Co., PA, but William Jr. also lived at other times in East Darrington, PA and in West Salem, Mercer Co., PA. His father, William Dowling McFarlan, Sr., was born June 13, 1811 in PA and died Oct. 10, 1905 in PA — which would be the only one winter season that William Jr. missed coming to Stuart since he started the mid-1890s as a winter visitor.
In April 1895 the very young village of Stuart had only a few early pioneer settlers along the St. Lucie River. Further north in Rockledge, wealthy retired merchant, William ‘Bill’ Dowling McFarlan, Jr., born in August 1836 in Chester Co., Pennsylvania, enjoyed fishing in Florida
He had an opportunity to meet William J. Dyer that year who told McFarland about the great fishing in Stuart and being so intrigued, McFarlan came to the small village immediately. He stayed in the bachelor’s hall on the second floor of Broster Kitching’s building where downstairs there was a store and the town’s post office. McFarlan soon learned he could catch sheepshead, bluefish, trout and snapper using a spear or a basic hook and line; he had at last found the perfect fishing grounds! He caught more fish off the St. Lucie River shore in one week than he had at Rockledge in three months.
In the fall of 1895 he returned to Stuart bringing younger brother, Robert M. McFarlan, born March 19, 1843, and a cousin, Louis Cass McFarlan, a clothing merchant.
Lewis (Louis) Cass McFarlan, was born Feb. 1850 in Chester Co., PA. His parents were William and Hannah McFarlan – father being a merchant. The two McFarlan families were cousins. Louis McFarlan had a first wife, Clara Hawkins, whom he married Sept. 27, 1871 in PA. In the 1880s then he was a widower with no children. He remarried to Lorena Maule in June 17, 1894 in PA. Lorena was born July 8, 1873. They had one child born before 1900 but that infant died. They then had a son, William Maule McFarlan, born Jan. 18, 1905 in Chester Co., PA.
The two McFarlan brothers would be regular winter visitors. Cousin Louis so liked the little village, he brought his wife, Lorena and young son, Billy, each winter. Louis had even purchased a lot on March 16, 1904 from Ernest Stypmann and by April 1906, had contractor George W. Thomas build a winter home (same carpenter who built his home at Albany and 2nd St. and married to Agatha Kickliter). The winter house was constructed on Albany Ave. (Ave. D). Louis and Lorena also had a large home at 356 E. Lancaster Ave. in Downingtown, Chester Co., PA.
Bill, who never married, also purchased property near Louis, both located in the block between Albany Avenue to U.S. 1 and 1st to 2nd Streets. Robert McFarlan, a locomotive engineer, likewise never married, but always enjoyed visits to Stuart. Louis continued to invest in Stuart and purchased a lot on Dec. 3, 1906 from George B. Elsion, then another lot on April 1, 1907 from Lacy Kickliter, both in the Potsdam neighborhood.
As an amateur photographer, McFarlan documented the area’s scenes and structures on glass plates as image negatives, which were processed by Eastman-Kodak of Rochester, New York or other dry plate companies such as Stanley or Lovell. Some of the many photos included Stuart citizens; Broster Kitching’s building, post office and boarding rooms; pineapple fields; storage warehouses; boats; community church; railway bridge; and the pristine St. Lucie River, a few even produced as keepsake postcards.
Lewis (Louis) C. McFarlan died March 8, 1913. William M. and his mother, Lorenea McFarlan remained in the Lancaster home in Downingtown, PA over the decades. Lorena McFarlan died May 21, 1962 in Downingtown, PA. Buried at Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown, Chester Co., PA
His son, William M. McFarlan lived until June 25, 1982 in Chester Co., PA, unmarried and no children. He had worked as a postal worker for decades and owned and managed rental property. He was an avid railroad enthusiast and model train collector. William M. McFarlan remained in the family home at 356 E. Lancaster Ave. in Downingtown, PA. Up to his death. His estate was sold off in 1982.
2012 Glass Negatives of Stuart:
The Stuart glass negatives were purchased at the Briggs Auction in Boothwyn, PA. by an eBay seller. The negatives had been in the estate of Robert Swayne of West Chester, PA. Swayne was an avid collector of anything related to local history, plus old photos, negatives, GAR items, books, etc. His parents were also collectors, so there was at least 125 years of collected items. The eBay seller, Mike Beatty of Chester, PA, picked up probably 2000+ glass negatives that were part of Swayne’s collection, obtaining most through estate sales. Purchased from the earlier William M. McFarlan estate sale of the early 1980s, Alice Luckhardt “discovered” the listing on eBay and contacted Stuart Heritage Museum, which then acquired the glass plate images to be safely stored and preserved, having returned to the place of origin more than 100 years later!
Three boxes holding the Stuart glass negatives (covering 1901 to possibly 1910 to 1911):
Stanley Dry Plate Co. of Newton, Mass. was in business from 1890 to 1904. Operated by F. E. and F. O. Stanley, twin brothers, who started with the dry plate process in 1883. They sold the dry plate business to Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, NY in 1904. The Stanley brothers continued on their main interest, the Stanley Steamer automobile.
Lovell Dry Plate Co. operated by Charles O. Lovell of New Rochelle, NY. The Lovell Dry Plate business folded (closed down) in Nov. 1901.
Eastman – Kodak Plates of Rochester, NY started in 1892. To expand they purchased other dry plate companies in the early 1900s including the Stanley Dry Plate Co.
Robert McFarlan died Feb. 10, 1914 and William died March 19, 1925, both in Pennsylvania. In 1918 William McFarlan Jr., lived in the Pomeroy’s cottage, south of the Harry Dyer store. He was unmarried and had no children. After William McFarlan’s death March 19, 1925, a scholarship in his name; William D. McFarlan Jr. (funded by his legacy) was set up at Bucknell University in Lewisville, PA.
Property McFarlan’s owned in Stuart:
William and Louis McFarlan, each purchased lots on March 16, 1904 from Ernest Stypmann.
Louis’ lot was Lot 4 of Block 3 – William’s was Lot 3 of Block 3.
It seems like it is right next to the the George W. Parks General Merchandise Store of Stuart and Thomas Edenfield House.
The lots run from “Avenue D to Avenue E”
Builder of a house was contractor George W. Thomas for Louis McFarlan.
Louis McFarlan also purchased a lot Dec. 3, 1906 from George B. Elsion in Potsdam and then another lot on April 1, 1907 from Lacy Kickliter in Potsdam.
About Alice L. Luckhardt
A former teacher, Alice spent the last 20 years researching and writing historical and genealogical articles and books. She published in numerous national magazines including the ‘History Magazine’, April 2012 with a feature article on the RMS Titanic. In 2010 she placed third in the nation for the best genealogical published article, the contest sponsored by the ISFHWE (International Society of Family History Writers and Editors). Alice was the researcher and writer for FamilyTree.com (genealogical site). Between Jan. 2012 and May 2014, Alice and her husband, Greg, wrote a weekly historical newspaper column for the Stuart News. For their massive collection of local historical research and making many local vintage articles and artifacts in a digital format, the county awarded them with the ‘Historical Preservationist of the Year’. Alice worked closely with the local museums in Stuart, FL, did public speaking and produced historical videos.
Below are the images colorized by Olga Hamilton.
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