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CJ Max | all galleries >> Galleries >> JOHNSTON Family Album 2005 > William Johnston and His Sister Mary Johnston (#12)
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1878, restored 2005 Cliff. Johnston

William Johnston and His Sister Mary Johnston (#12)

Plantagenet, Ontario, CANADA

William Robert Johnston, 1853-1897.
Mary Frances Johnston, 1865-?.

Children of Robert "Red Robin" Johnston and Mary "Mae" Frances McQueen

Photographer: William McConnell of Plantagenet

Considering their age difference, William and Mary were quite close. William looked after his little sister, and she looked up to him. She had to as he was 6'-4" tall. Here Mary is all of 13 years old, a beautiful young woman. This photograph is the last evidence that we have of Mary. She is not living at home with her parents according to the 1881 census, and I have been unable to locate her elsewhere. The 1871 census lists her as Mary, and the family photograph has her as Mary F. which I assumed was Frances after her mother.

As this photograph is a tintype this means that it is a reverse image; accordingly, the arm that Mary is resting on William's shoulder is actually her left arm, not her right. It would appear that she is wearing a wedding band!

The original tintype had both of their names on the reverse, the year that it was taken and the location of the photographer. There does appear to be something amiss with Mary's left foot (note that tintype images are mirror images so that what appears to be Mary's right foot is actually her left foot - the entire image is reversed). The shoe is somewhat crushed and flattened. Did she have polio or some other ailment? Does that explain why she is leaning on William? At this time we do not know. The photographer tried to hide her left foot by putting a blob of blue-black tint over that area. I've removed most of it by using Photoshop software. Also, is that a wedding band on her left ring finger? As this is a reversed image, the band is on the correct finger. The gold and red tinting are original tints applied by the photographer. It was quite common back then to add some color to black and white tintypes. Many early photographers were portrait artists who took up the new field of photography and used their artistic skills to enhance the black and white images. I strive to preserve as much of the original look of the photograph as possible. If you look at the image in "original" size you can see very easily the gold ring and tie pin on William, and Mary has a gold ring, a gold pin, and gold dangle earings.

This image is from an original tintype photograph, taken in 1878, which I scanned and restored in 2005. The tintype image measures 2"x3-1/4" while the paper holder measures 2-7/16"x3-15/16". Caption added. full exif

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Therese McGuinness 10-Apr-2012 18:49
Hi. In tracin my family tree I have come across this site, searching for 'Mary Johnston b. 1865. Married a Bernard Murray/Murry in 1866 and had 6 Children, one of which was my grandmother. I notice you mention DNA testing. Is there a specific company you have used? Regardless, this is a fabulous site, and am loving the pictures.
CJ Max17-Oct-2005 14:44
I took the time to scan the original today at a much higher dpi than this one was done at when it was sent to me. Yes, there does appear to have been something "wrong" with her right foot. The shoe is definately crushed or flat-appearing. She may have had polio or something which withered her right leg - which may also explain why she is leaning on her brother William - for support. I don't know for certain, but something does appear to be amiss.
Journey 17-Oct-2005 06:44
Ah, those funny photographers and their quirky ideas. Notice the right shoe (viewers left) of the female. It's empty! Do you think she really only has one leg, or did the photographer just give up trying to make her "look proper"?