History: Crowns Photograph Gallery opens 1874
Contact: Jim Sternitzky

----Source: The Clark County Press Date: 5-8-1874; Mary Hatton Album provided by Ellen Haverlandt Stewart

Surnames: Conklin, Crowns, Ingersoll, Kirkland, Lynch, Murphy, Rinchart, Ryan, Stewart

Something New in Neillsville J. H. Crowns has just opened a Photograph Gallery over Wells wagon shop, and he would respectfully announce to the citizens of Neillsville and vicinity that he will be happy to take the shadows of all those who may favor him with a call. Having had long experience in the business and kept posted in all the improvements of the art, he feels confident he can please the most fastidious. Specimens of his work can be seen by calling at his gallery. Pictures copied and enlarged. Colored in oil, India ink, or water color if desired, and satisfaction guaranteed. Good pictures taken in cloudy weather. Best time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A good assortment of Picture frames, Albums, etc on hand.




Crowns, J. H. (b.c. 1820) Daguerreian*, photographer; active Fox Lake, Wis., 1860 - 1867; Red Wing, Mnn., 1862 - 63.


*What is a daguerreotype?   The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process (1839-1860) in the history of photography. Named after the inventor, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, each daguerreotype is a unique image on a silvered copper plate. In contrast to photographic paper, a daguerreotype is not flexible and is rather heavy.The daguerreotype is accurate, detailed and sharp. It has a mirror-like surface and is very fragile. Since the metal plate is extremely vulnerable, most daguerreotypes are presented in a special housing. Different types of housings existed: an open model, a folding case, jewelry…Numerous portrait studio’s opened their doors from 1840 onward. Daguerreotypes were very expensive, so only the wealthy could afford to have their portrait taken. Even though the portrait was the most popular subject, the daguerreotype was used to record many other images such as topographic and documentary subjects, antiquities, still lives, natural phenomena and remarkable events.  Daguerreobase.org



John H. Crowns was born in New York State 25 Apr. 1820..  The 1860 federal census for Fox Lake, Wisconsin, enumerated him as an "Artist Daguerreian" with $500 in real estate and $200 in personal assets. Living with him were his wife, Caroline (Conklin) Crowns, age twenty-nine, and four of their children, all of whom were born in Wisconsin; George Crowns, age nine; Margaret Crowns, five; John Crowns, three; and Cornelius Crowns, one month old.  Their daughter Francis E. had died 1-28-1856 at the age of 3 yrs 5 das and was buried in the Riverside Memorial Park, Cemetery in Waushara, Wisconsin (her body may later have been  moved to the Riverside cemetery in Fox Lake, Wisconsin.  Margaret moved to Neillsville in 1873 with her father, J. H. Crowns, who established a photograph studio with his daughter as assistant. When her father retired from the business she took it up and for many years successfully carried on as a leader in photography in the city.  In 1875 Margaret married Francis S. Kirkland who was associated with the Clark County Bank of Neillsville, Wis. In 1877 her son, Thornton C. was born. In 1885 the little family left Neillsville and finally Mr. and Mrs. Kirkland went to Los Angeles, Calif., in 1920. Two years later, Mr. Kirkland died.

Red Wing, Minnesota (about 1875)

Crowns was licensed as a photographer in Red Wing, Minnesota, in September 1862 for a fee of $10. On February 27, 1863, he announced that he planned to continue operating his gallery in Red Wing "if he can secure enough business to make it pay." He offered for sale "photographs of the leading Sioux and Chippewa chiefs and braves, comprising Little Crow, Hole-in-the-Day, Other Day, Old Man, Red Legs, Little Bee, and others."

An 1867 railroad directory listed Crowns as a photographer on State Street, Fox Lake, Wisconsin. In addition, sometime in the 1860s his gallery was located two doors east of the American House in Fox Lake.
*Expanded from Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary,by Peter E. Palmquist, Thomas R. Kailbourn. 1839-1865, pg. 188.




Crowns, John H.--Daguereotypist, originally from New York, act in Fox Lake, Wisconsin 1860-1866, 1876-1879
Photo Gallery opens in 1874, Active in Kaukauna, Wis., 1884- 1898. Active in Milawaukee, Wis., 1899-1900.
Wisconsin Family Albums & Photographers' Imprints and Biographies 1800s to early 1900s


CROWNS, John H. purchased the business of CARMODY, J. D. Fox Lake, Dodge County 1860



Crowns, J. H. Kaukauna, Outagamie
County 1897-1898 ?? CROWNS, J. H.; Cf. CROWNS, J. H.

CROWNS, Caroline Fox Lake, Dodge County 1880- NY See CROWNS, John
CROWNS, George H. Schleswig, Manitowoc County 1880- WI (Son of John and Caroline)
CROWNS, J. H. Kaukauna, Outagamie County 1884-1896 ??

Unknown Children photographed by J. H. Crowns in Kaukauna, Wisconsin

CROWNS, John H. Fox Lake, Dodge County 1860-1878 with branch studio in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. (Please contact us if you can identify any of the photos by John H. Crowns Studio)



HEAR YE! HEAR YE! HEAR YE!!! Unless Summer is again postponed, on the 22 day of May, the light of my shinning countenance will be exhibited at the GALLERY! at which time I propose to reopen it, for the purpose of giving all who present themselves an opportunity of having their SHADOWS taken before their SUBSTANCE. Come One, Come All. As good Pictures taken in cloudy weather or in fair. J. H. Crowns.  17 May 1872

SHOO FLY! Don't Bodder I! A live man has certainly appeared at Crown's Gallery! And will continue the even vigor of his ways simply requiring others in his profession to equal him. Style & Workmanship, before throwing down the gauntlet. J.H. Crowns. Reedsburg, May 24th, 1872.

Unknown couple photographed by John H. Crowns in Fox Lake, Wis.  Notice the branch listed for Reedsburg, Wis.


CROWNS, John H. (J. H. Crowns & Co.) 1897 Appleton, Wisconsin, City Directory, 1897


CROWNS, John H. Milwaukee, Milwaukee, County 1898- ??


CROWNS, John H. photog. 1486 Green Bay Av. h. same. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, City Directory, 1898


A view of Neillsville -- the portraits of Hon. B. F. French and Hon. James O’Neill, were engraved by Thomas Robinson, Esq., of St, Paul, from photographs by Mr. John H. Crowns of Neillsville.

BioM: Conklin, Caroline 1849

Husband: John H Crowns
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 25 Dec 1849 (*Christmas Day)
Event Place Jackson, Wisconsin, United States
Spouse's Name Caroline Conklin
Page 1825

BioM: Rinchart, Lueia "Lucy" (1849)

Husband: Peter Crownse (brother of John H. Crowns)
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 06 May 1849
Event Place Jackson, Wisconsin, United States
Spouse's Name Lueia Rinchart
Page 1735

BioM: Ingersoll, Alvaretta (1873)

from Wisconsin, County Marriages
Name Geo. H. Crowns
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 29 Jul 1873
Event Place , Ozaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Gender Male
Race White
Birthplace Wisconsin
Father's Name J. H. Crowns
Mother's Name C. Crowns
Spouse's Name Alvaretta Ingersoll
Spouse's Gender Female
Spouse's Father's Name J.B. Ingersoll
Spouse's Mother's Name S. Ingersoll
Note Birth Place: of McGreger, Iowa;

BioM: Ryan, Mary (1884)

Cornelious Crowns
Event Date 17 Mar 1884
Event Place Medford, Taylor, Wisconsin, United States
Gender Male
Race White
Birthplace Tux Lake, Wisconsin
Father's Name John Crowns
Mother's Name Carolina Conklen
Spouse's Name Mary Ryan
Spouse's Gender Female
Spouse's Father's Name John Ryan
Spouse's Mother's Name Minfred Lynch

BioM: Kirkland, Mary C. (1875)

Francis Kirkland
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 14 Dec 1875
Event Place Dodge, Wisconsin, United States
Father's Name Joseph F Kirkland
Mother's Name Maria L Kirkland
Spouse's Name Mary C Crowns
Spouse's Father's Name J H Crowns
Spouse's Mother's Name Caroline Crowns
Page 1673

1850 Federal Census, Portage Prairie, Columbia, Wis.

Samuel Conklin 1850 Male 51 White 1799 Delaware household #1764
Margaret Conklin 1850 Female 45 White 1805 New Brunswick
Jonaz Conklin 1850 Male 30 White 1820 New York
Samuel Conklin 1850 Male 18 White 1832 New York
Hannah Conklin 1850 Female 22 White 1828 New York
Caroline Conklin 1850 Female 20 White 1830 New York
Cosneleaz Conklin 1850 Male 15 White 1835 New York
Margaret Conklin 1850 Female 12 White 1838 New York
Matilda Conklin 1850 Female 10 White 1840 New York

Lewis Conklin 1850 Male 30 White 1820 New York household #1765
Laura Conklin 1850 Female 26 White 1824 New York
Elizabeth Conklin 1850 Female 7 White 1843 New York
George Conklin 1850 Male 5 White 1845 New York
Catharine Conklin 1850 Female 3 White 1847 New York
Emily Conklin 1850 Female 1 White 1849 New York

1860 Federal Census, Courtland, Columbia, Wisconsin

Samuel Conklin Male 62 White 1798 New Jersey
Margaret Conklin Female 60 White 1800 New Jersey 
Samuel Conklin Male 27 White 1833 New York 
Margaret Conklin Female 22 White 1838 New York 
Matilda Conklin Female 20 White 1840 New York 
Jonas Conklin Male 35 White 1825 New York 
Frances Conklin Female 26 White 1834 New York 
Frances Conklin Female 5 White 1855 Wisconsin

1860 Federal Census, Sullivan, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin--Brother of John H. Crowns

Peter Crowns 38 yr. old white male (cabinet maker), Realestate $1,200, personal $200 1822 New York
Lucy Crowns Female 26 White 1834 New York
Mary Crowns Female 10 White 1850 Wisconsin
Eliza Crowns Female 4 White 1856 Wisconsin  

1870 Federal Census,  Fox Lake, Dodge, Wisconsin, United States

Margaret Conklin 1870 Female 68 White 1801-1802 New Jersey  (Mother of Margaret Crowns)
James Conklin 1870 Male 6 White 1863-1864 Wisconsin
John H Crowns 1870 Male 48 White 1821-1822 New York
Caroline Crowns 1870 Female 33 White 1836-1837 New York
Margaret Crowns 1870 Female 13 White 1856-1857 Wisconsin
John S Crowns 1870 Male 11 White 1858-1859 Wisconsin
Cornelius C. Crowns 1870 Male 9 White 1860-1861 Wisconsin

1880 Federal Census, Fox Lake, Dodge, Wisconsin, United States, Sheet Letter C , Sheet Number 160, Person Number 0, Volume 1


John H Crowns, Married White Male, Age 55
Marital Status Married
Occupation Photographer
Relationship to Head of Household Self
Relationship to Head of Household (Original) Self
Birth Year (Estimated) 1825
Birthplace New York, United States
Father's Birthplace Can't say
Mother's Birthplace Can't say 

Caroline Crowns Female 40 Married White Photographer Wife 1840 New York, United States New York, United States New York, United States C 160 1 1
John S Crowns Male 22 Single White Peddler Son 1858 Wisconsin, United States New York, United States New York, United States C 160 2


1900 Federal Census, Port Washington town (excl. Port Washington city), Ozaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Relationship to Head of Household: Father
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Father
Birth Date: Apr 1820
Birthplace: New York
Father's Birthplace: New York
Mother's Birthplace: New York
George Crowns (ead of Household) Male 49 Wisconsin
Henretta Crowns Wife Female 47 Wisconsin
Mary Murphy Ward Female 24 Vermont
Susan Ingersoll Mother-in-law Female 83 Vermont
John H. Crowns, 80 yr. old white Male


Obit: Crowns, Francis E., daughter of J. H. & C., age 3 yrs 5 das d. 1-28-1856
Riverside Memorial Park, Cemetery in Waushara, Wisconsin.
Fox Lake Twp., Dodge Co., Section 26 SE, Plot#150


Obit: Kirkland, Margaret (1855 - 1940)


              Wisconsin Valley Leader 4 Feb 1904


Obit: Crowns, John H. (1820 - 1904)


John H. Crowns, Page 0007
Death Date 29 Jan 1904 in Port Washington, Ozaukee, Wisconsin
Residence: Port Washington, Wis.
Gender Male
Age 83
Marital Status Widowed
Race White
Occupation retired
Birth Date 25 Apr 1820
Birthplace New York
Burial Place Milwaukee
Cemetery Union
Father's Birthplace New York
Mother's Birthplace New York


Obit: Crowns, John S. (1862 - 1898)


Name John S. Crowns, White, Male
Death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Event Date 1898
Age 35
Marital Status Unknown
Occupation Photographer
Birth Date 10 Oct 1862
Birthplace Fox Lake, Wis.
Cemetery Union Cem
Father's Name John H. Crowns
Father's Birthplace America
Mother's Name Caroline Crowns
Mother's Birthplace America

Obit: Crowns, Lucia Rhinehart (1892)


Name Lucia Crown
Place of death: Ostrander, Waupaca, Wisconsin
Gender Female
Age 62
Father's Name John Rhinehart
Mother's Name Christine Rhinehart
Spouse's Name Peter Crown


Obit: Crowns, Caroline C. Conklin (1832 - 1899)


Caroline C. Conklin Crown, White Female
Death  in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jan.1899, Age 66
Residence Place Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marital Status Married
Birth Date 03 Sep 1832 
Birthplace N.Y.
Burial Date 09 Jan 1899
Cemetery Union Cem.
Father's Name Sam Conklin
Father's Birthplace N.Y.
Mother's Name Caroline Conklin
Mother's Birthplace N.Y.
Spouse's Name J. H. Crown


Below is the photo of an unidentified man which was stamped on the back with the logo of J. H. Crowns & Co. Photography.  Please contact us if you know the name of this individual.


The photo above is in my collection of Augustus Smith, a Neillsville resident, who was my "step" great uncle.  I also have Youman relations, although I can't connect those dots to Neillsville or Clark.  My step great grandpa, Charles Smith, died in 1913 in Ono, Pierce Co, WI and it was reported briefly in the Marshfield Times. I think perhaps Smith relatives had this published. My Grandma was raised as a Smith. Charles's half brother, Augustus had died the year before, however his wife still lived in Neillsville.  Bob Vanhees, who does the Smith family history could not I.D., if you can, please contact Jim SternitzkyEllen Haverlandt Stewart



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