IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
new content added 12/30/2021

Directory & Gazetteer index * Photo Album index

Clayton county Photographers

The years noted may not be inclusive of the time-period the photographer worked in the county and surrounding area, only that they are known to have had a studio at that time.

I get a lot of queries about Clayton co. photographers and have been compiling this list of photographers who worked in the county. I thought it might be useful to add it to the website for researchers who are trying to date photographs or who want to know more about the photographyer. It most certainly is not a complete list. If you can add to it, please send the information to the Clayton county coordinator for inclusion on this page. Include as much info. as you know about the photographer...... Sharyl Ferrall


Accola, Jake
Took over the Strawberry Point photography business of J.B. Hughes in 1909 and was still there in 1916. Accola immigrated to America from Switzerland when he was five years of age.
~ source: information obtained at the Strawberry Point library and from the 1915 Iowa State census
~ contributed by Paula Whitlock O'Donnell

Jake Accola and Marie Hoyer, were married in 1915. In 1917 the couple removed to Rock Island, IL and then to Davenport, IA. "The rooms above the Lyric Theatre which Jake Accola, before moving away occupied for his photographer gallery, are being repaired and put into shape for occupancy." ~source: Elkader Register, May 13, 1920 (Strawberry Point column). The couple visited their families in Clayton co. and Dubuque frequently, as reported in the society columns of local newspapers. Jake died in 1973 and is buried in Davenport. Obituary.
~added by S. Ferrall (1/8/18)

Adams, Asa W.
Adams had a studio in Decorah, Winneshiek County. A prominent series was “Snow Views.” The backlist on this series shows seventeen views “on the Iowa & Dacotah Division of the M. and St. P. R. R. between Calmar and Charles City, Iowa, taken on Mar. 3d, 4th & 5th, 1873.” He further advertised on the back of the card that “copies can be had for twenty–five cents each”. At one time, he had a partnership called Adams & Shear in Decorah in the 1860s, but there are no known stereographs from this partnership. According to the Decorah Republican, November 18, 1915: “Mr. Adams was born February 26, 1842, at Sheffield, Ohio, and came to Iowa when quite young. He learned the photographer’s business at McGregor when he was twenty-one years of age and then came to Decorah and established a business that he carried on here for twenty-one years, when he moved with his family to Waterloo and opened a studio which he operated until his health failed some fifteen years ago. For several years after he disposed of his business he continued to do special photographic work which did not tax his strength. On November 28, 1866, he married Emma J. Fuller who survives him. To this union four children were born.” He is listed in the 1881 Gazetteer. His Decorah business was purchased by O. E. Borlaug. He was buried back in Decorah on November 11, 1915. (See also History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties, Iowa, 1882, p. 548.) There are eleven examples of this photographer's work in the SHSI collection, all of local Decorah views of which five are of the “Snow Views” series.~source: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection

Bentz, Frederick Leonard
(05/22/1885 - ?)
Photographer, Strawberry Point, son of Cyrus & Hattie (Goodrich) Bentz. He came to Strawberry Point from Fayette, Fayette co. IA ca1926 and operated a photography studio from that time until at least 1942, perhaps later. On the 1930 & 1940 U.S. census, Strawberry Point, Cass twp., Clayton co., his occupation is Photographer. His WWII draft registration, dated 4/27/1942: Fred Leonard Bentz, born 5/22/1885 in Fayette county, IA. Occupation: photographer. 
~sources: census & draft registration records

Fred Bentz, Strawberry Point photographer, has been confined in the county jail for about two weeks now bound over to the grand jury under bail of $1,000 charged with stealing electric current from the electric lines of that town. Authorities had been called to the Bentz place because it was believed he was operating a still. When the authorities arrived they found no still but they did find traces of where a still had been located. During that search they found that he had made connections through which he was illegally taking current and that charge was placed against him.
~Clayton County Register, Wed., July 15, 1936

Burhan, A.H.
(surname may be Bushen)
Photographer, McGregor
~source: 1862 & 1864 tax assessment

Chase, Edwin W.
Chase was a photographer in Guttenberg from approx. 1893 until his death in 1923. According to the 1915 Iowa State census he had lived in Iowa for 22 years, so he likely set up his photography business in Guttenberg about 1893. He appears on the 1895 Iowa State census in Guttenberg, occupation photographer. On the 1920 US census, Guttenberg, he continued to give his occupation as photographer, and that he owned his own shop. Mr. Chase is buried in the Guttenberg cemetery.
~sources: 1895 & 1915 Iowa State census and 1920 US census; Guttenberg cemetery records

Dahms / Dams, Walter E.

Mr. Dahms purchased the photography studio "formerly operated by the late E.W. Chase" in December 1923. He continued to operate the photography studio in Guttenberg for 48 years. He died in 1970.

~sources: Elkader Register, December 13, 1923; (STUDIO NOW OPEN advertisement pg 2); 1930 & 1940 U.S. census and his obituary in the Guttenberg Press, February 12, 1970.
~Note: Surname in records is spelled both DAHMS and DAMS

Dary & Tucker

Photographers, Hardin

~source: 1864 tax assessment

Dempsie, George M.

Dempsie had a studio in Elkader, Clayton County, in the 1870s and 1880s. He also worked in Clayton 1880 and produced stereographs there and Strawberry Point in 1899. He also made views in Garnavillo but not sure if he had a studio there. He had several prominent series: Views of Elkader and Vicinity, Beauties of Clayton County, and Views of Devil's Hollow. While in Strawberry Point had partnership as Dempsie & Niles in 1899.

~source: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection
~note: There are 2 stero views of Elkport on this website in the Clayton co. Photo album, that were taken by "DEMPSIE's Photograph Rooms, Clayton Center, Iowa" and "DEMPSIE's Photograph Rooms, Clayton Center, Iowa; BEAUTIES OF CLAYTON CO. IOWA; series 7 - a visit to Elkport"

Donner, William A.

Garnavillo and Strawberry Point. In 1900, he is age 27, living with his wife Lena in Strawberry Point, occupation photographer.

~souce: 1900 Federal census
~note: Donner took the photo in the Schafer photo album on this website.

Eisfelder, Frederick

Photographer, Guttenberg

~source: 1862 & 1863 Tax lists

Farrington, Theodore
Farrington had a studio in McGregor, Clayton County, from the 1860s through the 1890s. Prominent series was “Views of McGregor and Vicinity.” He was born in Maine, wife was Elizabeth. Children: Ray & L.C. Another photographer, Louis Peavy, wife & child were living with the Farrington's in 1880.

~sources: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collectionl; 1870 & 1880 federal census
~see also: biography

Fritz, John S.
Fritz had a studio in Waverly, Bremer County, in the early 1880s. May have died on March 16, 1891 of Bright's Disease, age 70 years old. Was also in Guttenberg, Iowa. He was a traveling photographer.

~source: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection

Gosting, Alfred G. 'Fred'
Fred Gosting may have been Strawberry Point's earliest photographer. He had a studio there from the early 1870's until his death in 1886.

Alfred G. 'Fred' Gosting, photographer
Fred Gosting
Stamp from the back of A.G. Gosting's photo

Photo on the left is annotated 'Fred Gosting' on the back. Above image shows the ink photographer's stamp on the back of the photo:
A.G. Gosting, Photograph Gallery, upstairs in Scofield's Block. Old pictures enlarged in any size in India Ink. All pictures made by dry process. Strawberry Point, Iowa

A.G. Gosting was born April 9, 1839 in Lincolnshire, England. He served during the Civil War in Co. H 12th Iowa. He gave his occupation as photographer on the 1870 US census, Clayton co. Iowa, Cass twp. Strawberry Point. He died February 13, 1886 in Strawberry Point & is buried in the Strawberry Point cemetery. His brother, G.G. Gosting was a photographer in Plymouth county, Iowa for many years.

Dubuque Herald, Strawberry Point column, April 30, 1879:
A.G. Gosting, our popular artist, recently sold the lot on which his gallery was situated, and has fitted up a fine suite of rooms in the second story of the old store owned by Scofield and son, where he will continue the business of taking life-like pictures. F.W. Moirre & Bro. occupy as a tin shop the building vacated by Gosting.

~ photos (from the Strawberry Point library) were contributed by Paula Whitlock O'Donnell
~ see also 1882 biography (note: his name is erroneously given as A.J. Gusting in this bio.) and his obituary.

Griffith, William C.

Photographer, Colesburg

~source: 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair

Hale, David

Photographer, Elkader. On the 1885 census, he was age 28, b. Ohio.

~source: 1885 Iowa State census

Hale, Dewitt C.
De Witt Clinton Hale had a studio in Elkader, Clayton County, in the 1870s, 1880s, and later. An article on his life and work by Bill Witt in The Iowan, March 1978, pp. 36–43, states: “Although his stock in trade was portrait photography, he found time to take his camera out of doors and, for more than 50 years beginning in about 1875, photographed a wide variety of scenes in Elkader and the surrounding area. When nine-year-old DeWitt Hale and his widowed mother arrived in Elkader in 1866, it was already a prospering town. Hale grew up on the nearby farm of his maternal grandparents and in 1875 graduated in the first senior class of the local high school. While still in school, he began working for a Dubuque photographer named Nichols. A few years after graduation he became the manager of his employer's Elkader studio. The evidence suggests that Hale had at least a two fold purpose in photographing Elkader. For one, he hoped to sell stereopticon views of local sights and landmarks to the townspeople. Unfortunately for him, the venture never took hold - he once remarked to his daughter that his total earnings from his finely detailed stereo and 6 by 8 inch prints probably amounted to less than one hundred dollars. A second motivation was the desire to compile a photographic record of the community. Despite the lack of success with the stereo slides, he continued his documentation, apparently convinced that his out of studio camera work, for whatever it lacked in immediate appeal, possessed a potential historical significance. As if anticipation some future interest, Hale signed and dated many of his negatives, here and there attaching notes to them as well.”

~sources: 1885 Iowa State census, 1900-1930 US census & Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection


Hale, Grace E.
(06/06/1895 - 01/18/1979)
Daughter of DeWitt C. & Eliza (Fobes) Hale, she took over her father's photography business.

~source: Obituary of DeWitt C. Hale

Hover, A.L.

Elkader area, ca1915. "A.L. Hoover, Elkader, Iowa has sold his studio to R.C. Ottstadt, of Wykoff, Minn."

~source: Bulletin of Photography, Vol XXII, Jan 2, 1918, pg 41

Hughes, J.B.

Followed George Roe as a Strawberry Point photographer after the turn of the century until 1909.

~contributed by Paula Whitlock O'Donnell, from information obtained at the Strawberry Point library

Hunt & Baker

Early Strawberry Point photographers, dates unknown.
~contributed by Paula Whitlock O'Donnell, from information obtained at the Strawberry Point library

Hunter, Z.

Photographer, Strawberry Point
~source: 1865 tax assessment

Kenyen, B.A.

Photographer, McGregor
~source: 1864 tax assessment

Keys, William M.
(alternate surname spellings found are Keyes and Keess)
Photographer, Elkader. Keys moved to Nebraska in 1867.
~sources: 1864 & 1865 tax assessments & 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair; and "Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide" by P.E. Palmquist, 2005

Knight, ?,

Photographer, Yankee Settlement
~source: 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer, Hair

Kriebs, Nicholas

Photographer, McGregor.
~source: 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair

Lyons, J.A.

Photographer, Hardin
~source: 1864 tax assessment

Mallory, Dean S.
Not a professional photographer, but he took many photos in and around Garber.

~examples of his photography on this website
~more of his photos in the Mallory Family Album

McKay, Arthur L.

McKay had a studio in Decorah, Winneshiek co. and iin Cresco, Howard co. Iowa (1887–1891). Prominent series was entitled “Snow Bound.” May also have been in Council Bluffs in 1889. A William McKay is listed in Garnavillo in 1865, according to the Directory of Civil War Photographers.
~source: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection

Merrill, C.C.

Photographer, Guttenberg
~source: 1864 tax assessment

Montgomery, John

Photographer, Colesburg
~source: 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair

Nichols, Frank A.

Photographer, Elkader, 1880's. He is also on the 1885 Iowa State census, Elkader - age 28, b. Conn.
~sources: 1880 U.S. census and 1885 Iowa State census
~also see 1882 biography

Norton, A. C.

Norton had a studio in Monona, Clayton County, in the late 1880s and 1890s. Started his photography business in Monona, 1872.
~sources: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection; 1882 biography and in the history of the Village of Monona, Chapter XXXVII, 1882 Clayton co. history

Papin, Adolph
Passin, Adolph

Photographer, Guttenberg.
~sources: 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair and and 1864 tax list

Peavey, Louis
(12/31/1832 - 04/24/1902)
Peavey was in McGregor in the 1860s, and also in Ossian and Decorah during the 1860s. He had a studio in McGregor in the 1880s.
~sources: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection; 1864 tax assessments and 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer; Hair

He advertised his gallery frequently in the McGregor newspapers:
L. PEAVEY - Latest Styles of Pictures. Large sized 8X10, $2 for the first, $1 each succeeding one. Card photographs $0.25 each for 1 doz., small letter pictures 12 for $1. Old pictures of any kind enlarged. Residences photographed; also views of whole city and all the principal parts at $0.50 each.
~North Iowa Times, June 18, 1862 (advertisement, pg 1)

PEAVY'S PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY!! Over French's Jewelry Store, is re-opened with decidedly new improvements in the light and arrangements of rooms, and is once more at his old business with a thorough knowledge of all the latest styles of pictures. He will give Particular Attention to Porcelain Pictures and to coloring those copied from old ones. Work will not be intrusted to apprentices, but be done wholly by Mr. and Mrs. Peavy, whose years of experience enable them to excel in the Art.
~North Iowa Times, March 20, 1867 (advertisement, pg 2)

By the mid-1880's he'd removed to Faribault, Minnesota and died there in 1902. He & his wife, Mary E. (Farrington) Peavey, are buried in Maple Lawn cemetery, Faribault.

Peick, Christian T.
(1862 -1912)
Photographer, Garnavillo until 1885, then removed to McGregor. His parents were Adolph & Amelia Peick; residence: McGregor; occupation: photographer. He died in 1912 and is buried in Pleasant Grove cemetery.
~sources:1900 & 1910 US census; and Pleasant Grove cemetery records
~see examples of his work: in the Oelke family album and the 1901 Garnavillo Cornet Band photo on this website

Elkader Register, Thursday, September 3, 1885; Garnavillo column:
Artist Peick will take a view of the Lutheran church and congregation on Sunday September 6th. All members of the congregation should be present.
Mr. C.T. Peick will leave Garnavillo in about three weeks. Those desiring pictures should call early.

Reed, Edward

Born in Iowa, Photograph Artist, Strawberry Point
~source: 1870 US Census

Roe, George W.
(1862- ?)
Roe, Ruby nee Hoag
Roe was born in Cass twp., Clayton co. Iowa, G.W. Roe became associated with A.G. Gosting in the photograph business at Strawberry Point in 1882. He removed to Minnesota, but returned to Strawberry Point in 1889 resuming his photography work.

His wife, Ruby Hoag, was the daughter of Marion A. Hoag, a photographer from Oelwein, Fayette co. George and Ruby worked together in their studio. The photo on the right is of Ruby, and shows the photographer stamp of Geo. W. Roe.

Photo caption:

Ruby Hoag Roe 1893
Assisted Geo. Roe, Photographer
Mother of Florence Roe Wiggins
Built home where museum is now located.

George and Ruby removed to Oelwein, Iowa in 1908, where they continued in the photography business. They retired to California where G.W. Roe died December 22, 1928.

Ruby Hoag Roe

~Roe biography and obituary
~Photograph of Ruby Roe from the Wilder Museum in Strawberry Point, was contributed by Paula Whitlock O'Donnell
~examples of his work are photographs of the Tracy homestead in Cass co. and of Louis and Britta Madison

Roth, E. H.

Roth had a studio in Strawberry Point, Clayton County, in the early 1900s. Made curved mount stereographs.
~source: Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection

Thompson, Francis

Born in Ohio, Photograph Artist, Strawberry Point
~source: 1870 US Census

Webb, Julius Frank
Webb opened a photograph studio in Strawberry Point in 1883. He was later was in Coon Rapids (1889–1895) and Shell Rock (1896–1897).
~sources: photographer signature on a 1886 photograph of Samuel T. Shroff on this website; Stereo Photographers, A-Z, State Historical Society of Iowa special collection; obituary of Mr. Webb.

Elkader Register, Thursday, September 3, 1885:
J.F. Webb, photograph artist of Strawberry Point, has erected a gallery on the corner of Washington and White streets, opposite the postoffice, and will be ready this week for business. All who want good, first-class work done will do well to give him a call, and have your picture taken.

Elkader Register & Argus, Thursday, September 1, 1910; Elgin column:
J.F. Webb and wife, of Shellrock, were here from Friday to Monday, guests of his brother, M.G. Webb and family.


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