A Young Orville

Photo courtesy of Roger Siminoff. Rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Roger Siminoff. Rights reserved.

I call this the “Orville and probably Lovell” photograph. Here is the research: We know that the backdrop is from the Adolphus Van Sickle photographic studio in Kalamazoo because it is the same backdrop as the Orville “band uniform” photo. That original has Van Sickle’s stamp on the back.

Mr. Van Sickle owned his studio from 1873 to 1886. At the time the studio was in business, Orville would have been 17 years old (in 1873) and 30 years old (in 1886). To me, he doesn’t look over 20. So for arguments sake, let’s say the photo may have been taken between 1873 (when Van Sickle opened his studio) and 1876 (when Orville turned 20 years old). What was going on in Orville’s life at that time?

The answer may lay with the dapper attire that the seated gentleman is wearing. Orville’s older brother Lovell was married in Kalamazoo County in March of 1873. Lovell was 9 years older than Orville. In the photo, does Orville look 17 and the other guy look 26? Could be.

It’s possible that this picture was taken on Lovell’s wedding day in March of 1873, thus we have the “Orville and probably Lovell” photograph.


2 thoughts on “A Young Orville

    1. I don’t know if you’ve read the story of John that has been passed down in the Gibson family. Lore has it that he was put on ship for American with a note pinned to his expensive jacket and received checks from England monthly.

      My genealogical instincts did not quite buy the “expensive jacket” part of the family story, so I respectfully brought it up to Gibson descendants. As it turns out, they really don’t believe that part of the story either.

      Orville’s mother was the one who owned their property and received a monthly inheritance. I cover her background quite extensively in the book.

      Unfortunately, this is the extent of any “new” information I have involving John and his background. I do speculate on the possibilities. For example, English orphanages often sent children to America on their own as indentured servants.


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