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The Oldest Photo Taken In Every State In America

The US has been around for more than 200 years, and plenty has happened in that time. The oldest pictures in each state show just how far the US has come.

The US is one of the biggest nations in the world with some of the most influential people on the planet. That’s not all. It’s also been home to some of the most prominent inventions over the years. Did you know the internet was invented in the States? As if that wasn’t enough, the nation is also the birthplace of cell phones, personal computers, traffic lights, and microwaves. The best bit? We have to thank the US for inventing chocolate chip cookies. We have no idea where we would be without those sweet treats in our lives.

As well as having invented plenty of things, the US has also been the center of many great events in history over the years. While modern cameras and printed photographs have only been around for the last couple of hundred years, they were there just in time to capture some of the most influential moments throughout the States. The oldest pictures taken in every state sure do help to show the journey they have been through.

Alabama – a group photo

Over the years, there have been plenty of people who have tried to make their mark on the world in one way or another. Some have fought in politics, while others want to change the way that we think and behave. One man in Alabama wanted to build his empire through business and soon grew to be a hugely successful businessman across the state.

The photo is titled “Sons of Edmund King of Montevallo, Alabama” and features Edmund’s four sons: Nathaniel King, Peyton King, E. Thomas King, and William Woodson King. It’s believed that the group photo was taken back in 1850.

Alaska – a Native American tribe

One of the earliest photos taken in Alaska was shot back in 1868. Legendary artist Eadweard Muybridge was traveling through Fort Tongass at the time when he ran into the Tlingit People living in across the land at the time. Amazingly, they all posed for the shot before Alaska was officially recognized at a part of the US.

It was actually the 49th state on the list and was admitted to the Union in 1959. The Tlingit People continued to live by a complex hunter-gatherer lifestyle and are known for their strong family values, with property and belongings passing through the mother’s line.

Arizona – one of many geological expeditions

Amazingly, it turns out that most of Arizona was initially enjoyed thanks to geological explorations across the land rather than permanent settlers. Timothy H. O’Sullivan was one of the many that headed to Arizona. He was initially from New York and was staying at Camp Mojave in Arizona when Timothy took this snap.

The group hoped to travel across the state of Colorado, but Timothy appeared to enjoy the hustle and bustle of everyone arriving in Arizona. The picture was taken in September 1871 and shows how the Colorado River used to be a lot wider before settlers built dams in the area.

Arkansas – The Sultana moments before tragedy

The Civil War gripped the nation for many years, but it looked as though times were finally changing in 1865. Tragically, that wasn’t to last for passengers aboard The Sultana. The boat soon became the center of the worst maritime disaster in US history to date.

The steamboat was carrying Union soldiers who had been held in prison camps as they traveled to safety at last. That was until The Sultana exploded and ended the lives of 1,800 people. That’s more than people on board the Titanic. This snap was taken just one day before the accident that was caused by three of the four boilers exploding.

California – Los Angeles Plaza

Although people know that the snap is of Los Angeles Plaza, no one has any idea who took the photo or exactly when. It’s believed the photographer captured the moment some time at the end of the 1850s or the beginning of the ‘60s. People know they must have climbed up Fort Moore Hill for the picture – and probably took one of the earliest photos of the city.

Several historic buildings that have been lost to time are still standing in the photo. A brick reservoir in the center of the plaza was built in 1958 as a part of their first water system, while the Plaza Church built in 1822 still stands in the bottom left-hand corner.

Colorado – the Colorado River

It turns out that Timothy O’Sullivan was responsible for some of the earliest photos in many states as he traveled across the nation to document the new frontiers in the American West. Timothy had already covered the Civil War and built a considerable name for himself as one of the most prominent photographers of the time.

Timothy also wanted to snap Native American tribes to capture their wonder and beauty along the journey. It was during his time in Colorado that Timothy took one of the most influential snaps of the area. The photo was taken in 1871 and shows a man on a boat sitting at the edge of the Colorado River.

Connecticut – the first summer camp

Summer camps are now a huge part of our lives for many people across the nation, but there was once a time where they were an entirely new idea. It’s believed the first summer camp was held in Connecticut and was named The Gunnery Camp. The first campers got to enjoy activities like trapping, fishing, and boating – skills that many modern campers still practice to date.

The camp was organized by Frederick W Gunn and Abigail, his wife, who ran their own home school. The couple decided to take the entire school on a camping trip for two weeks, and it was so successful that they continued the tradition for over a decade.

Delaware – a portrait of Benjamin Briggs

Photographs weren’t always as easy as pulling out your cell phone and taking a hundred snaps to make sure that you got the perfect one. It used to mean people had to sit for up to 15 minutes without moving. Any movement would result in a blurry photo. Many people feared cameras, and it was expensive to get a picture, meaning many people only had one chance.

These were just some of the reasons that photographs were typically reserved for the best of the best. Benjamin Thoms Briggs was one of the chosen few. He posed for a snap in 1860 as Benjamin was working with the Whig Party before he later became the 46th governor of the state.

District of Columbia – an ancient military monument

While it might not be a state in its own right, the District of Columbia, or Washington DC as it is commonly known, is still considered to be one of the most prominent places in the states. The Tripoli Monument was carved all the way in Italy in 1806. They wanted to honor the US Navy veterans who served in the First Barbary War.

It was shipped to the Washington Navy Yard just two years later. However, it moved in 1831 as the statue was destined to stand in front of the Capitol building. Someone captured the sculpture in 1850, just ten years before it was moved once again to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Florida – the Civil War

The Civil War took over the nation as everyone wanted to protect their land and join forces with the strongest side. Florida soon teamed up as part of the Confederacy, but it wasn’t to last. The state was quickly conquered by others and continued to be ruled over for the rest of the war.

The oldest photo from Florida was found in the Library of Congress and shows the fort in St. Augustine in 1862. It’s believed that Sam Cooley, who was working as a gentleman in the Union, was the one to take the photo. It appears as though the Federal Navy are standing at the top of the wall in the snap.

Georgia – a portrait of Howell Cobb

There have been many people who have helped shape Georgia in its early days. Howell Cobb is one on the list. The portrait was taken all the way back in 1844 when Howell was working as a congressional representative for Georgia. He served for five terms before Howell was later elected at the governor of the state, a position that he held for two years.

However, it wasn’t his time at the top that made him go down in history. Howell was one of the leading people who founded the Confederacy. He was the leader of the Confederacy for two weeks before they elected their first president.

Hawaii – the final princess

Being an island meant that many people never got to visit Hawaii before the 20th century. Even fewer photographers ever made their way to the land in the early 1880s. It wasn’t a state as Hawaii was still serving as an independent kingdom.

It wasn’t long before photographers realized they might have been missing out as some of the most prominent photos of the century came from Hawaii. Elmer Chickering was the one behind the portrait of Princess Kaiulani in 1893. She was the last royal of the country as the US overthrew the monarchy thanks to a coup a few years later.

Idaho – Snake River

Rivers have been a hugely important part of many people’s lives over the years. Just take the likes of the River Nile, the Amazon River, and the Ganges. While they have helped communities all around the world, there is one that has been a focal point of the US for years: the Columbia River.

So where does it all come from? Many other rivers lead into the Columbia River, with Snake River being one of the main contributors. It flows through many states, with Idaho being home to the majority of the river. It was once home to many Native American tribes who made good use of the salmon population.

Illinois – Stephen A. Douglas, Linoln’s rival

Of course, Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous presidents of all time. Many people all around the world know his name, but things could have once been so different. One of the oldest photos from Illinois is actually a portrait of Stephen A. Douglas – Lincoln’s rival.

He beat Lincoln to the 1858 state election for the US Senate. Throughout the ‘50s, Stephen was one of the leading figures for popular sovereignty, and many people thought that he was the perfect candidate to become the President of the United States. Sadly, Stephen lost out to Lincoln, who went on to become the 16th president in 1860.

Indiana – Confederate prisoners

It turns out that Camp Morton was initially used as a military training ground before the war. The first Union soldiers arrived at the camp in 1861 – possibly a few years before the oldest photo from the state. It was later converted to a prisoner-of-war camp and saw hundreds of soldiers pass through the grounds over the next few years.

It was finally liberated in 1865. After the war came to an end, Camp Morton was repurposed as the site for the state fair. The oldest photo from Indiana was taken at some point in the war as Eben P. Cutter captured prisoners working among the camp.

Iowa – a portrait of George Wallace Jones

George Wallace Jones had plenty of careers throughout his life. As well as being an entrepreneur, he was also a judge and attorney, as well as being one of the first people to represent Iowa as a US Senator. The photo was taken back in 1844. This was many years before the start of the Civil War – a moment in time that almost changed his entire life.

George had been Columbia and returned to the States just in time to see the start of the war. He was arrested and held for 34 days as they believed Georgia had been disloyal. Thankfully, he was never taken to trial and was released to enjoy his retirement.

Kansas – a portrait of Samuel C. Pomeroy

The mid-1800s was filled with plenty of historical moments in history. Samuel C. Pomeroy served as a part of the US Senate during part of the Civil War. He was also a mayor of Atchison, Kansas for many months in 1858. Samuel was in charge of holding many meetings between important political figures at the time, including plenty with former President Abraham Lincoln.

During his time as president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, Samuel became the first person in power to watch over the construction of the railroad and its operations. This photo was taken around the beginning of the 1860s.

Kentucky – a destroyed portrait of Henry Clay

Henry Clay is often considered to be one of the most prominent names in US politics. He was one of the few that were chosen to lead the US into war against Britain back in 1812. Plus, Henry was one of the leading figures in many political debates in the build-up to the Civil War.

Amazingly, Henry had been working in law before he decided to try his hand in politics. Little did he know how passionate he would become about the nation. The portrait was taken in 1852, around the time that Henry passed away. Sadly it looks as though someone wanted to try and remove his face from the snap.

Louisiana – a portrait of Francis Lister Hawks

Francis L. Hawks traveled all across the US as he headed from job to job. He worked as a writer, educator, and historian over the years before finding a more permanent role as a preacher. It wasn’t long before Francis became the first president of the University of Louisiana – a college that has since been renamed Tulane University.

He was named in the role in 1847 and had his portrait taken around the same time as his inauguration. Sadly, Francis’ time in the limelight wasn’t always easy as he found himself caught up in plenty of scandals, and was the talk of the nation thanks to the growing newspaper coverage of his life.

Maine – a group of firefighters

While many modern cameras can capture shots in ways that we could never imagine, older cameras weren’t quite up to the same standards just yet. It took plenty of prototypes before photographers got to enjoy portable cameras. Thankfully, they had plenty to capture, including the oldest group in Maine.

It’s thought the photo was taken back in 1850, even if it might be a little tough to make out. The shot features the Arundel Engine Co. found in Kennebunkport. Some of the names of the firefighters have been noted, but many have been lost to time. Plus, no one has any idea who actually took the photo.

Maryland – a war monument

Having portable cameras meant that people could capture all kinds of things. The oldest photo in Maryland shows the Battle Monument on North Calvert. The person behind the lens is thought to be none other than John Plumbe, the same person who is believed to have been the one to take the oldest photo of the White house.

The picture was published in 1846 after it was completed just 20 years before. The base is made from 18 layers of marble that represent the 18 states at the time. Plus, this monument is different from many others as it has all the names of people who lost their lives in the Battle of Baltimore, regardless of where they ranked.

Massachusetts – a portrait of Horace Mann

Being so expensive and difficult to take meant that photographs were few and far between. However, orace Mann was one of the lucky few who got to see his name and face go down in the history books. He was an educational reformer during his life who was determined to promote public education.

He believed that schools and education were the only way the nation could ever turn their unruly children into judicious and disciplined citizens of the future. His ideas saw Horace become a hugely popular figure of the time, and he was greeted with a portrait session in 1844.

Michigan – a portrait of Thomas Fitzgerald

Although Thomas Fitzgerald was born in New York, he eventually became the subject of the oldest photograph in Michigan thanks to his time in politics. Sure, he might have gone down in photographic history, but Thomas is one of the few forgotten politicians of the time.

He studied law for many years but ended up landing a job as a lighthouse keeper in Michigan shortly after earning his degrees. Thomas got to fill in an empty seat in Senate in 1948. Sadly, he only had the position for less than a year. The photo was taken around 1944, the same time that he was unsuccessfully trying to become a governor in the state.

Minnesota – a Sioux woman

Azayamankawin was more than just a Mdewakanton Dakota woman; she was a massive part of the local community. She was also known as Old Betsey or Old Bets in her later life, while her real name means “Berry Picker.” During the Dakota War, Old Bets was known for taking care of wounded soldiers from all sides.

Her family lived along the Minnesota River. Her son, Taopi, was against the war and refused to partake in the battle. It wasn’t until the war came to an end that the locals commended his actions and allowed Old Bets, her family, and a few other settlers to remain in the state.

Mississippi – a portrait of Henry S. Foote

It turns out that Henry S. Foote was an important name in politics during his time at the top. As well as being a US Senator for the state, he was also the Governor of Mississippi. Henry also had time to study as an attorney and published a book and two memoirs before he passed away.

During his time in politics, Henry fought to try and keep the Union together for as long as possible and hoped that it could last a few more years. His portrait was taken in 1844 by one of the most famous photographers of the time: Matthew Brady.

Missouri – a portrait of Lucretia Mott

Although she grew up in Missouri, it seems as though the portrait of Lucretia Mott has gone down as one of the oldest photos in Missouri. She traveled across the US as her father wanted her to learn all about politics. At 13 years old, Lucretia headed to boarding school where she studied to become a teacher.

It was around this time that Lucretia became highly interested in women’s rights and fighting for equality. As well as fighting for equal rights, Lucretia also wanted to try and fight for underprivileged people. Her thoughts turned many people against her, but she was determined to stand her ground.

Montana – the early landscape of the state

Some natural landmarks have been standing for hundreds if not thousands of years. Bird Tail Rock? Try 55 million. Yes, this igneous rock has stood the test of time. It first earned its name as travelers thought the rock looked like a bird’s tail feathers that had been spread out.

It became an important landmark in an ancient trail as it’s pretty tough to miss this impressive structure. One of the earliest photos in Montana is more than just a remarkable piece of history. It also helps researchers and geologists look at the way the land has changed over the years.

Nebraska – A Union soldier with his family

Did you know that Nebraska is home to the largest indoor rainforest? That’s right; it covers for than one and a half acres of land and eight stories. The state didn’t become a part of the US until 1867, making it the 37th state to join the Union.

Although they weren’t a part of the Us at the time, Nebraska helped to fight in the Civil War. One of the earliest photos from the state – even though it wasn’t a state at the time – is of an unnamed soldier fighting as a part of the Union posing alongside the rest of his family in 1861.

Nevada – a portrait of William Morris Stewart

William Morris Stewart moved to California back in 1850 as he wanted to be a part of the gold rush. However, it wasn’t this metal that ended up making William his money but was actually silver instead. He continued to run for sheriff and studied law throughout his time in the state before he eventually moved to Nevada in 1860.

This was the same time William got to pose for his portrait. He was also a part of helping to develop the state’s constitution before it was a part of the Union in 1864. By the time William passed away, he was known as the wealthiest US Senate thanks to the $25 million he made through silver mining.

New Hampshire – a portrait of Levi Woodbury

It seems as though states couldn’t get enough of photographing politicians over the years as the oldest photo in New Hampshire is none other than a portrait of Levi Woodbury. He was snapped back in 1844 as he was serving as the Senate for New Hampshire at the time.

Before his time in the role, Levi had already worked as both the Senate and in the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Amazingly, his time at the top meant that Levi was one of three people to serve in all three branches of the US government. His name has since lived on thanks to many towns and ships named in his honor.

New Jersey – a portrait of William Dayton

It once looked as though William Dayton could have run for Vice President of the United States thanks to his time in politics. Although his party lost out on the top spot, William was considered to be one of the most prominent figures at the time. He was later given the role of working as the US Ambassador to France.

Here, William worked to make sure that no one ever found out about the independence of the Confederacy. He passed away in Paris in 1964 but was photographed in New Jersey around a decade before his passing. William’s body was later returned to his home state.

New Mexico – the complete Fort Marcy

Back in 1846, the US declared war on the Republic of Mexico as they couldn’t agree on the southern border of the land. Around 1,700 troops made their way to the area before the general sent two of his top chiefs to find the perfect spot to build a military reservation.

They later found a spot on top of a flat hill that was apparently the only place that overlooked the entire town. This would eventually become Fort Marcy. Thankfully, no one lost their lives in the battle. In fact, Fort Marcy barely saw any action throughout the war and didn’t get much more use in the American Civil War. It was pictured in 1968, the same year that it was abandoned.

New York – the Hudson River

It turns out this photo was first shot in black and white by William England before it was later colorized using special techniques. The picture is of none other than the Hudson River. This great flowing beast flows from north to south through the eastern side of New York and even serves as the border between the state and New Jersey at the southern end of the river.

It’s believed that the river was formed up to 26,000 years ago as one of the most recent parts of glaciation in North America. Hudson River has been home to many indigenous people over the years thanks to the ready supply of fresh food.

North Carolina – a soldier of the Civil War

Many of the top soldiers and captains in the Civil War were photographed. Captain William F. McRorie was a part of the North Carolina Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, but it’s the item on his hip that has left many people scratching their heads. Although other people had been using guns for many years, many soldiers in the Civil War preferred to use swords – especially when they were in close combat.

This was the beginning of the end for the sword. Most people started to opt for guns by the time the battle had come to an end, with the Civil War being one of the final times they were mass produced for soldiers.

North Dakota – A Native American chieftain

The Arikara Tribe were formed around the 15th century and spent the majority of the time working alongside the land. The women would tend to the crops as they mostly harvested types of corn, while the men would travel across the land during different seasons to track and hunt the animals.

As if that wasn’t enough, Arikara families typically had around 30 or 40 dogs to help them on the hunt. They eventually adopted horses to help keep up with the animals. Iron Bear was the chief of the tribe and was photographed back in 1868. This was just two years before the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation was founded.

Ohio – a portrait of William Henry Harrison

There are many ways to go down in history. Sadly, being the shortest serving President of the United States probably isn’t one that most of us want to be remembered for. That’s what happened to Willian Henry Harrison back in 1841. He was elected the same year, with his portrait being taken two years before he made it to office.

Now, William, the ninth president, is still the only president to pass away during his term. He was in charge for just 31 days and achieved nothing during his time. The nation went into a minor crisis before they found someone to take William’s place.

Oklahoma – a portrait of John Ross

John Ross was also known by his traditional name, Guwisguwi. He was an important Cherokee chief throughout his life thanks to his blood relation to the tribe. Thankfully, his position within the tribe meant that John led plenty of people through some dangerous times, such as the Civil War and the relocation of tribes.

He wanted to create a thriving business empire and founded Ross’s Landing in Tennessee in 1816. Sadly, the tribes were expelled from the state in 1830 and traveled with John to Oklahoma in 1830. He posed for his portrait in the state two decades later in 1850.

Oregon – a portrait of Benjamin Harding

Oregon didn’t get admitted to the Union until 1859. However, the land was still cared for and run by many people before it joined the rest of the US as the 33rd state. One of the many people in charge over the years was none other than Benjamin Harding as he worked in the Oregon Territory.

He was lucky enough to get photographed in 1955 long before Oregon was accepted as a state. As soon as Oregon was approved into the US, Benjamin was elected to serve as a US Senator for the state instead where he remained in the position for several years.

Pennsylvania – a street corner

There were a handful of photos released from Pennsylvania that were all taken by Frederick De Bourg Richards back in 1850. It appeared as though he wanted to capture the magic of the old buildings and companies at the time. One of the earliest photos from the state was taken at the intersection at Second and Chestnut Streets.

One of the buildings was owned by John McAllister, who was well known in the area at the time. Many of the buildings were decorated to look like English buildings of the time – a style that has remained popular over the years. That’s not all. The street corner still looks relatively untouched to date.

Rhode Island – a portrait of James F. Simmons

This senator was photographed back in 1859, but it wasn’t long before James F. Simmons found himself in the firing line. He returned to work as a US Senate in 1856 for the second time. James was accused of taking money from manufacturers before they made offers to the government, and some of James’ fellow senators raised their suspicions.

Although he was eventually allowed to continue working with the government, there was soon a new law passed that banned people from accepting offers before they were given to government first. James passed away just a few years after posing for his portrait.

South Carolina – an unknown man with a newspaper

It turns out that no one truly knows who the subject is of South Carolina’s oldest photograph, but many people believe that it could be Franz Melchers. The photo shows the man holding a copy of a newspaper named the Charleston Zeitung. Some people think that it could be none other than the owner of the paper, Franz himself, who is posing in the snap.

All people do know if that the photograph was taken back in 1853. Whatever the case, the man in the frame has posed just like many other people of the time as he keeps perfectly still and maintains a straight face.

South Dakota – the inside of a chapel before it was destroyed

Many chapels have been praised for their architecture, with some even being the inspiration for other artists. It appears as though the Chapel of the Merciful Savior was once no exception. The interior of the chapel was photographed back in 1870 thanks to Stanley J. Morrow.

Sadly, it wasn’t to last. The chapel was snapped in 1870. By February 1884, the surrounding area was in a state of panic as a fire broke out. They were never able to put it out in time, and it resulted in the Chapel of Merciful Savior burning to the ground. This could be the only photo of the building before it was destroyed.

Tennessee – children enjoying Point Lookout

Lookout Mountain is still one of the biggest attractions in the state of Tennessee as the world-famous view lets visitors gaze in wonder for miles. The top of the mountain has now been covered with viewing platforms and safety railings to make sure that everyone gets to enjoy the views while staying safe.

Things weren’t always that way. In fact, Robert Linn was behind the camera when a group of children climbed up to Lookout Point on the mountain. They might be just feet from danger, but nothing felt as liberating as the freedom at the top of the mountain. It’s thought they posed around 1860.

Texas – a portrait of Samuel Hamilton Walker

Could there be any better photo to represent the oldest in Texas other than a Texas Ranger? That’s what we thought. Samuel Hamilton Walker was part of the law team and a captain within the force for many years. That’s not all. Samuel also had many military positions under his belt by the time he posed for his portrait in 1846.

He was of the captains enlisted to lead Rangers in the Mixican-American war. As if that wasn’t enough, Samuel Walker’s name lives on thanks to his work on a gun that he designed and produced with Samuel Colt. It wasn’t long before plenty of people had one of the models in their hand.

Utah – Salt Lake

Of course, if there’s one landmark that stands out to people when thinking of Utah, it’s Salt Lake. It is one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world and is home to an impressive number of species. Many Native American tribes have occupied the lake over the years, but most of their stays were seasonal.

They soon learned that the saltwater wasn’t drinkable, but the lack of written records meant others had to learn for themselves. Alfred Hart was visiting Salt Lake in 1865 when he snapped a photograph of the view. He was climbing Monument Point when Alfred managed to capture the moment that a brand new train on the new rail tracks passed by.

Vermont – the Arms of the State of Vermont

Not all of the oldest photos from across the US give us the same impressive look at history. The earliest pictures from Vermont is none other than a snap of the Arms of the State of Vermont. The photo was taken back in 1852. It appears as though not much has changed over the years.

The head at the top of the coat of arms now faces the other way while the cow and corn have moved a little, too. There have been many variations of the coat of arms over the years, but it appears this was the chosen look all those years ago.

Virginia – a group of college students

If there’s one thing that many of us have held onto over the years, it’s photos from our time at school. So what about a group of college students from way back in 1850 or ‘51. While researchers aren’t entirely sure which year the snap was taken, they believe they might have uncovered some of the stories behind the photograph.

It’s thought the group belonged to a singing club named The Ranters. They all attended Bethany College, where The Ranters soon earned a reputation for pulling pranks. Perhaps that’s why some of the students chose to wear funny hats for their photo?

Washington – cabins at Fort Colville

Back in 1859, the US Army set up a post in Washington that quickly became known as Fort Colville. It’s believed the photo was taken around the same time that it was built. It was there to help the army during their battle with Native American tribes in the area as well as a way to protect minors who had moved into the area a few years before in the hopes of finding gold.

The cabins were made to home around 300 soldiers at any time, and the first major in charge of the project even built a local sawmill to keep the costs low.

West Virginia – a hill dominating Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry is a town in West Virginia that is filled with history. One of the most prominent times over the years was back in 1859 when John Brown led a team of 21 men to try and abolish slavery across the south. The group let a doctor go when he said that he could do no more for the team, but this would ultimately be their downfall.

He ran to neighboring towns to warn them about the raid, and John was eventually caught and had his life ended. The hill was photographed the same year as the raid and captured the time that started the Civil War.

Wisconsin – a portrait of B.R. Wilson

Many people were first drawn to Wisconsin thanks to the promise of lead mining. By the time the 1840s rolled around, the state was producing more than half of the lead used across the nation. Wisconsin was soon referred to as the Badger State as the miners said that’s how they had to live.

That’s all thanks to the fact the cold weather saw them burrow into the sides of hills. B.R. Wilson was one of the many people living in the state and was photographed in 1840. This was shortly before he headed off on his Methodist missionary to Liberia.

Wyoming – a trench at Bitter Creek

Bitter Creek is a stream that stretches for 80 miles across the state of Wyoming. As well as being a path for the railroad, Bitter Creek was also once a popular place for coal miners. Andrew J. Russell was a photographer at the time and was there to capture plenty of historical moments between 1868 and 1870.

It was during one of his outings that Andrew saw a trench that had been carved into the stone of Bitter Creek. You may need to look a little closer, but there are actually men working in the trench. It’s likely they would have been mining in the land.