This carte de visite by an anonymous photographer pictures a girl who stands on a cloth-covered box in front of a floral backdrop. The flowered pattern emanates from her head and shoulders, and the folds in the backdrop indicate that her mother or another adult held the young lady steady for the photographer. This technique was commonly used during the Civil War period to keep movement to a minimum while the child’s portrait was taken.
The back of the mount contains two items that suggest California origins. A modern pencil inscription notes that this photo was from the Veerkamp family album, El Dorado County. An internal revenue stamp, which dates this photo between 1864-1866, is hand-cancelled with the initials “GHG,” possibly George H. Gilbert of Placerville. Gilbert, a daguerreian pioneer, was active in Placerville from 1860-1880.
According to the 1870 federal census, Frank Veer Kamp of Hanover, Germany, his wife Louisa, and four boys lived in Colona Township, El Dorado County. If the little girl pictured here was a daughter, her absence from the census roll suggests she died before 1870.
A child is identified as Jesse Jefferson Martin in period pencil on the back of this carte de visite by G.D. Morse of San Francisco. Young Martin is dressed in a military-inspired outfit. His coat is adorned with brass buttons on the shoulders, collar, and cuffs. A handkerchief is tucked inside one pocket, and a watch chain with a fob shaped like a pistol hangs from the other pocket. He holds a toy musket that seems exact in all the details. A felt cap with a striped band and emblem lay on the floor next to him. This may be Jesse J. Martin (1861-1828) of California.
These words are pencilled on the back of an original wartime photograph of Acting Masters Mate William H. Mott, who served in the Union navy from 1862-1866. He served on the North Carolina and the Saranac. The latter ship was assigned to protect U.S. interests along the California coast.