Vintage Sailor Boy

 

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William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr.

 

 

Children are adorable in any era. The little boy in the picture above is my great-grandfather, William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr. He is around four years old dating the photograph to 1901 in what is believed to be Iowa.

According to the United States Federal Census of 1900, William’s family is living in Newell which is a small town in northwest Iowa. Young William’s father, William Brown Pinkerton, was working as a minister for the First Congregational United Church of Christ at the time.

 

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First Congregational United Church of Christ       Image Source: Buena Vista County Iowa Genweb

 

His mother was Agnes Ellen Gurney who came from an old musical family in Massachusetts. Agnes’s mother Mary Williams Orcutt was a trained singer. Her father, Ebenezer Henry Gurney was a music teacher. Her grandfather, Ebenezer Bourne Keen Gurney directed the first all brass band in the United States. Agnes’s great-grandfather, Thomas Gurney, was a composer.

William had a younger sister, Mary Louise, who was about two years old at the time. The family had a live-in servant named Ida Griffel who was twenty years old from Illinois.

By 1905 the Pinkerton family had moved to Wabasha Minnesota, 276 miles away from Newell, where they are recorded in the 1905 Minnesota State Census.

In the picture, William is wearing a sailor suit, which was very stylish in many parts of the world at the time, with high button up boots. Those boots are amazing.

It is hard to imagine that sixteen years later, William would enlist in the United States Army to fight in France during World War I.

 

Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

 

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