Hardwick family album discovered

By COLBY DENTON

Posted 2/7/18

Local historians and businesspeople unveiled a newly discovered, early 1900s Hardwick family photo album at Jones Management last week.

The albums, found by Hardwick descendants Charlie Corn …

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Hardwick family album discovered

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Local historians and businesspeople unveiled a newly discovered, early 1900s Hardwick family photo album at Jones Management last week.

The albums, found by Hardwick descendants Charlie Corn and his sister in their late parents’ possessions, date back to the 1850s and contain images of well-known Clevelanders, including never-before-seen photos of young Nina Craigmiles.

“My mother and father always took pictures. They were very into scrapbooking; it was just common for the time,” Corn stated.

The group of historians inspecting the photos’ identities included Charlie Corn, Jeff Pettit, Mitchell Guinn, Bryan Reed, Paul Hickman, Rufus Triplett, Stephanie Holmes and Margot Still.

Toby Pendergrass, Jones Management chief of staff, hosted the meeting and stated that numerous faces in the photo album are currently unknown.

“What we are trying to do is identify everyone in this album, because we will be putting all the photos on a website that is specifically designated for public use,” Pendergrass said. “That way, anyone can go online and either identify unknown faces or just use it for study. It’s a very valuable find.”

“We know that some photos are from the 1850s because they are tintype photos, meaning made of metal from the period,” said Bryan Reed, president of the Bradley County Historical and Genealogical Society.

The website name was discussed at the meeting. Potential options included everything from oldhardwick.com to hardwickphoto.com. Another purpose of the meeting was discussing the sort of copy/information for the website, which was discussed with the website development team.

Jones Management social media specialist Nate Brownfield is designing the aforementioned website, with Daniel Brantley drafting the website’s copy.

“The goal of the website is to have photos posted with an individual narrative underneath each one to explain who they are and their significance, if possible,” Brantley said.

Aside from Hardwick, Craigmiles and other famous Cleveland family names, the albums also contain never-before-seen photos of the young men from Cleveland who were killed in an 1889 train wreck in Virginia, including Will Steed. These young men, of whom the large obelisk splitting Ocoee and Broad streets was dedicated, were killed on their way to Paris.

Rufus Triplett, former Museum Center at Five Points’ director, stated that special recognition should go to Charlie Corn’s parents, William Terrell Corn and Francis Hardwick Corn, for compiling the immense tomes of memories for future generations to study.

“These albums contain some of the only images of the courthouse prior to its redesign in the '60s as well,” Triplett added.

The entire group of historians praised the find as a new link to the city’s history.

“This could open up doors for genealogical research, as well as showing glimpses into the city’s history overall,” Reed said. “I’ve never seen the two images in them of Nina Craigmiles.”

The process for deciphering unknown identities in the albums will require research utilizing tools such as genealogical records, Internet searches and overall memory; however, Clevelanders are encouraged to look through the images once the website is done, and see if any faces ring any bells.

Upon its completion, the photos’ website will contain links for contact information if a viewer sees a familiar face that they wish to identify.

Pendergrass anticipates the photos’ website to be accessible within approximately one week.

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