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Laton Alton Huffman


Posted By: Allamakee co. Coordinator
Date: 11/21/2007 at 03:21:07

Laton Alton Huffman (1854-1931)
His ancestors were frontiersmen who scouted with Samuel Brady and fought the Delawares alongside Lewis Wetzel on the Ohio. Raised on a farm, he studied photography in his father's studio at Waukon, Iowa. He opened a studio of his own at twenty-one in Postville, Iowa. In September 1878, he took passage on a wagon train headed for Colorado, but turned back in Northern Kansas when nearly attacked by Dull Knife's warriors who were racing ahead of the 4th Cavalry. He met scout Hi Bickerdyke for the first time when the scout stopped at his wagon after the battle of Punished Woman's Fork. By 1880 he settled at Fort Keogh, Montana, apparently by way of western Kansas. There he resumed his friendship with Bickerdyke. Taking over a studio at the post, Huffman became a noted frontier photographer.

~source: 'In Dull Knife's Wake: The True Story of the Northern Cheyenne Exodus of 1878', by Vernon R. Maddux; Horse Creek Publications, 2003; pg 177


Laton Alton Huffman
L. A. Huffman learned photography from his father, P. C. Huffman and worked in his studio in Waukon, Allamakee County, in the early 1880s. Imprints show: P. C. Huffman & Son. He later went on to be a famous Western photographer. From 'Photographing the Frontier', by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, page 134-135: “Morrow's successor at Ft. Keogh was Laton Alton Huffman, a young man of twenty-five. When Huffman was eleven, his father operated a photographic studio in Waukon, Iowa. Huffman learned his father's trade, but led a footloose early life. He spent his teenage years working as a wrangler on horseback, became a surveyor for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and in 1878 worked in the photographic studio of Frank Jay Haynes at Moorhead, Minnesota. At Ft. Keogh, Huffman received no salary as post photographer. His income came from the sale of pictures. He also doubled as a guide for hunting parties, sold buffalo hides, and started a small cattle ranch. Hoffman's studio at the fort became a congenial gathering place for soldiers, scouts, and Indians who relished an hour or two of conversation with a drink and a cigar.”

~source: 'Stereo Photographers, A-Z'; State Historical Society of Iowa, research collection


PHOTOGRAPHS! L.A. HOFFMAN manufactures shadows in the latest style of the art.

~source: Advertisement in the 'Postville Review', April 5, 1876


Photo credit: L. A. Huffman -- circa 1880
By L.A. Huffman, Miles City, Montana. From 'Before Barbed Wire, L.A. Huffman, Photographer on Horseback', 1956, Mark H. Brown and W.R. Felton.

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