Ella Blanchard Howard in Mourning, Albumen Carte de Visite, 1886
Written on the reverse: "Mrs. Ella Howard, Rochester, N.Y., 1886."
Ellen “Ella” Blanchard Howard Folsom was born 4 April, 1851, in Rochester, New York. She was the daughter of Hiram Blanchard, a pioneer settler of Buffalo, New York, and his wife Lavina McCracken.
Her husband was Hamilton Howard (b. 9 April 1848 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada). He was son of Osier Howard (b. 8 March, 1813 in Bridgewater, Mass.) and Patience Maxim (b. 29 April, 1816, in Carver, Mass.) the daughter of Thomas Maxim and Patience Swift. Patience and Osier married in Carver, MA, on 19 June, 1834.
A passport application for Hamilton Howard exists from November 1876 that says he was born in Hamilton whilst his father was there for a short term, presumably for business. However, his father died in Hamilton on 24 September, 1851, and his mother remarried thereafter Daniel Shearer (b. Montreal, Quebec, Nov. 13, 1824) and remained in Canada until about 1860, when the Shearers relocated to Buffalo (then Black Rock), New York. The application notes that Hamilton Howard was 5'8" with blue eyes, an oval face, a straight nose, light hair, a small mouth, a round chin and medium forehead.
The Canadian 1851 Census shows Hamilton living in Ontario at age 4, attending school. He appears to be alone--perhaps at a boarding school. (The census notes he was a Methodist.) Hamilton did, however, have siblings: Oliver Cromwell (b.1836, Wareham, MA), Harriet Anna (b. 1838, Wareham, MA), Susan (1840 – 1840, Wareham, MA), Osier (b. 1841, Wareham, MA); and Charles Bartlett (b.1844, Wareham, MA). He also had step-siblings from his mother's second marriage to Daniel Shearer on Nov. 17, 1855: Mary Elizabeth (b.1857, Hamilton, ON), Maria Antoinette Valentine (1859 – 1871, Hamilton, ON), and Daniel Creswell (b.1861, Buffalo, NY) Shearer.
By 1870, Hamilton was back in the U.S., living in Rochester in the house of the bridge builder Edward Wilkins. He appears in the Rochester City directories at various addresses as a builder and contractor, sometimes tied to H. A. Kingsley & Co.
Ella is listed on the 1880 Rochester, New York, census with Hamilton. Hamilton and Ella had a six-month old daughter, Blanche, born 18 December, 1879.
According to the Rochester City directory, he died 13 April, 1881, just days after his 33rd birthday, of Tuberculosis. He was buried on 19 April at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester.
Hamilton’s stepfather, Daniel Shearer, died in Buffalo on 26 June, 1884. His mother died there on 26 June, 1893. All of Hamilton’s siblings remained in Buffalo, married, and had many descendants, enumerated in the book “Descendants of William Shurtleff of Plymouth and Marshfied, Vol. I.”
If the date on this image is correct, Ella is not mourning for Hamilton, but another member of her family. After the death of her husband, Ella began spending much of her time in Muskegon, Michigan, with her sister. This led to the rekindling of a childhood romance, as the Monday, 21 July, 1893, Muskegon Daily Chronicle reports: “Mrs. Howard is a sister of Mrs. Charles B. Mann of this city…. With her daughter, Miss Blanche Howard, she is now passing the summer here…. Mr. Fulsom is a cousin of Mrs. Grover Cleveland and has recently resigned the office of the United States consul to Sheffield, England, to which he was appointed by President Cleveland during his first term. Mr. Fulsom has not yet returned to this country, but is expected to do so in September. It is expected that the wedding, which will be a very quiet one, will take place in this city sometime in the coming autumn. Since the engagement was made public, Mrs. Howard has been in almost constant receipt of congratulatory letters and messages from acquaintances in all parts of the country…The acquaintance which has culminated in this happy manner is one of long standing and in fact dates back to the school days of both Mr. Folsom and Mrs. Howard.”
On 11 October, Ella married Fulsom “at the residence of the bride’s sister, in Muskegon, Mich., by the Rev. Archibald Hadeau,” notes the Buffalo Express.
The second marriage did not produce offspring. After marrying, the couple returned to Buffalo, where Folsom took up private legal practice until 1902, when he retired to California. He died in Pasadena, California, on 17 August, 1922.
Ella died on 5 May, 1932, in Pasadena.