Schuyler S. Cornell – Catskills Photographer

September 26, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Schuyler S. Cornell (1843-1927) was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was born on May 5, 1843 in Tioga, New York, located west of Binghamton. His father, Harvey Cornell, was born on December 9, 1810 at Summit in Schoharie County. Harvey began his ministerial life in 1835 at the age of 25 and would continue active preaching for 55 years. His first assignment was as the Baptist pastor at the church at Charlotteville in the town of Summit, Schoharie County, New York. He then served at Barton, Tioga County and then moved to Port Crane, where he organized the Baptist Church. He also preached at Triangle for three years and later at Union Center, where he again organized the Baptist Church. Over his long career Harvey Cornell also preached at Jefferson, Schoharie County; North Chatham, Columbia County; Preston Hollow, Albany County; Greenville, Greene County; and at several places in Broome County.  

The First Baptist Church of Summit where Harvey Cornell preached, located circa one mile from the village of Charlotteville, was established on September 26, 1805. The church was originally called the Baptist Church of Jefferson, then the Baptist Church of Summit, but later changed names to the First Baptist Church of Summit (when a second Baptist church in town was founded). In the decade from 1850 to 1860 the church reached a high membership of 127 people, with an average of 95 people. In the decade from 1860 to 1870 the church had an average membership of 109 people. In 1878 a new meeting house was constructed, a ceremony for which Rev. Harvey Cornell returned to attend. The church, celebrating over two centuries of service, continues to operate today.

In 1900 the Gloversville Daily Leader published an interesting article of how Rev. Harvey Cornell won a free ton of coal.

 

“Harvey Cornell, who lives at No. 141 Court street, is the “central figure” in a “coal strike.” The cause of the “strike” was that Mr. Cornell, who will be ninety years old next month, was the oldest McKinley voter at the recent election. The effect of the “strike” is that Mr. Cornell will burn, not at his own expense, a ton of coal during the coming winter.

The story is this: About the time of the recent industrial parade by the Republicans, a local coal dealer, to encourage longevity, offered a ton of coal to the oldest McKinley voter in the city. Since election there have been many applicants for the coal, but the above named was the winner.

Harvey Cornell was born at Summit, Schoharie county, December 9, 1810. When a boy he moved with his parents to “Chenango Pint.” When he was twenty-five years of age he was ordained to the Baptist ministry. His first charge was near Owego. Several years ago Mr. Cornell was compelled to retire from the ministry on account of poor health. He has lived in this city for thirteen years. Mr. Cornell first voted for William Henry Harrison. He told The Republican reporter how in that campaign the men of several villages came to the city, then “Chenango Pint,” and celebrated. The principal feature of the parade was ten ox team drawing a large wagon on which was a log house. The sides of the house were covered with racoon skins and the hides of other wild animals. A barrel of cider also rode on the wagon, “this is for a while,” said Mr. Cornell.

The aged voter is the father of L. P. Cornell of this city, and is well known to many of our residents.” (“Reward of Longevity.” The Gloversville Daily Leader. December 1, 1900.)

 

Reverend Harvey Cornell died in 1902, with the local newspaper carrying a brief obituary: “The Rev. Harvey Cornell, oldest Baptist minister in New York state died Saturday at the home of a daughter at Port Crane, Broome County, in his ninety-second year. He was born in Schoharie county and preached for 55 years. He voted for William Henry Harrison and was the oldest voter in Broome county at the time of President McKinley’s re-election. S. S. Cornell of Stamford, is one of the surviving sons.” (“Rev. Harvey Cornell.” Hobart Independent. August 16, 1902.) He is buried at Charlotteville, New York.

Other siblings of Schuyler included Emma C. Shear, wife of W. H. Shear, who died in 1916 at age 64 at her home in Port Dickinson; Mrs. A. J. Smith of Binghamton; L. P. Cornell of Gloversville; Harvey Cornell of Oneonta; and Alonzo. D. Cornell of Binghamton.

 

Location of the S. S. Cornell gallery within the village of Stamford, Delaware County, New York. Gallery noted by black box. Map by L. R. Burleigh, 1890, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

 

Charlotteville of the mid-19th century, the time of Schuyler’s upbringing, was home to the well-regarded New York Methodist Conference Seminary, which was established in 1850. The school, designed to train teachers with a Methodist approach, was the first of six seminaries constructed in Schoharie County. The school, located near the center of the village, had 362 students (222 men, 140 women) in its first year, and at its peak had approximately 800 students. The north seminary building burned in 1854, while the south seminary building burned in 1867. The school then purchased and converted a large local hotel to support the seminary, operating there for several years, but eventually closed in 1875.

Charlotteville was located in the Charlotte Valley along the Charlotte River. It was within the town of Summit in Schoharie County; and located 55 miles southwest of Albany, five miles from the Albany & Susquehanna railroad line. The town of Summit was an important producer of potatoes as well as sheep, hay and maple sugar. The hamlet of Charlotteville was home to a number of popular boarding houses, including the Charlotteville House and the Simmon’s Hotel. In 1856 the town of Summit had a population of 1,799 people, including 881 men and 918 women.

As for his early education Schuyler, and his siblings, could have possibly have attended the one room school house at Charlotteville, District # 4. The school was located in the center of the hamlet across the street from Charlotteville #14, a still standing one-room schoolhouse that operated from 1894 to 1951 and operates today as a community center. According to Karen Cuccinello, Summit Town Historian, “A typical school was about 24’ by 30’, had two doors (one for girls and one for boys), cloak room, blackboard, recitation bench, globe, desks, library and woodstove. Less than half the schools had privies/outhouses. The school day was from 9am to 4pm (included two breaks and an hour for lunch) and usually a half day on Saturday. The day often started out with a song and prayer . . . Students could be ages 3-21 but the usual age range was 6 -12. . .  More students went to school in the winter when the farm chores were less. School trustees would try to hire a male teacher for the winter session in order to handle the extra boys. In 1863 male teachers averaged $18 per month, exclusive of board, and women $12.” (Cuccinello, Karen. “Summit One Room Schoolhouses.” Schoharie County One-Room Schoolhouses. 2011. 

On August 13, 1862, at the age of 19, Schuyler enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War for three years, joining Company C, 134th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry led by Captain John Materhagan. Schuyler had the rank of Private. The 134th Regiment was first recruited by Colonel George E. Danforth and was officially called into service on September 22, 1862. Most of the soldiers in the 134th Regiment were from Delaware and Schoharie counties, home of the then 14th Senatorial District. Company C was mostly recruited at Schoharie County.

The unit left New York State under the command of Lieutenant Colonel J. S. DeAgreda on September 25, 1862 and was first sent to Virginia to join the Army of the Potomac. According to later newspaper reports Schuyler saw active service for three years and was involved in several major engagements, including Fredericksburg (Virginia, December 11-15, 1862), Chancellorsville (Virginia, April 30 to May 6, 1863), Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, July 1 to July 3, 1863), and was later sent to serve in Sherman’s Army as they marched through Georgia.

George H. Warner in his 1891 Military Records of Schoharie County Veterans of Four Wars provides some additional details on Schuyler’s military record, although some of it seems to conflict with the details provided in local publications. “Schuyler S. Cornell. Summit – Laborer; single; age 19; enlisted August 13, 1862; served regularly until July 2, 1863; taken sick and sent to Baltimore; contracted small-pox at that place; removed to Louisville, Ky., during the winter of 1863 and 1864; confined in hospital at that place, and on recovery was detailed on detached duty and served till close of the war; Stamford, N.Y.; married. Children, Burr G. Lena.” (Warner, George H. Military Records of Schoharie County Veterans of Four Wars. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1891.)

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Logo for Photographer Schuyler S. CornellPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Logo for Photographer Schuyler S. CornellPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler’s brother, William, age 22, also enlisted in the Union Army, joining only one day before his brother on August 12, 1862. William also had the rank of Private. According to his Civil War records, William was born on March 5, 1840 at Worcester, New York, was 5 feet, 8 inches tall with brown eyes and dark hair. He had an occupation of Farmer. Schuyler and William fought together through the bloody battles listed above. Through it all, they escaped serious injury. However, during the initial march with Sherman’s Army, William fell sick and was sent to Cincinnati, Ohio for sick leave. Schuyler and William would never see each other again.

After recovering, William was assigned to Company I, 11th Veteran Reserve Corp, his unit being tasked with guarding approximately 833 Confederate prisoners as they were being transported by rail train from Point Lookout, Maryland to the northern rebel prison camp at Elmira, New York. “It was on his way north that he lost his life. The train conveying the prisoners had reached Shohola, Pa., and while waiting for orders there was crashed into by an express train. Some 40 of the prisoners and 17 guards were killed. Word soon reached the boy’s father, Rev. H. Cornell, at that time pastor of a Baptist church at Charlotteville, of the boy’s death. The father, with an older brother, at once went to Shohola, driving through with a hearse to bring the body back. On reaching there he found that the 17 bodies had been buried together in a trench. He obtained permission to uncover the bodies, which was done, but conditions were such that he could not identify the body and they returned. From that time on all members of the family believed that the son’s body remained in its first burial place.

It was during the recent visit to Elmira that Mr. Cornell [Schuyler], while in conversation with a fellow comrade, mentioned that his brother met death in the collision a Shohola, and asked if there had ever been a marker erected to mark the place. Mr. Cornell was much surprised when told that his brother was buried in the national cemetery in Elmira, and the comrade offered to take him to the grave. On his visit he was taken to a large monument on which was inscribed the names of the 17 guards who had lost their lives. The first name on the face being that of William H. Cornell, a few feet away were smaller markers and the graves of all the guards. It was then learned from records kept at the cemetery the bodies were uncovered shorty after they were buried for identification, and were then removed to the cemetery in Elmira.” (“Grave of Brother Found After 50 Years.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. July 26, 1919.)

William H. Cornell and his fellow guards were reinterred at the Woodlawn National Cemetery in Elmira, New York. The Shohola monument at Woodlawn is made of light granite, and is about nine feet high and five feet wide at the base. Two bronze tablets, measuring two feet by four feet, contain the inscriptions and names of the 17 Union soldiers and the 49 Confederate soldiers. The inscription on the Union tablet reads “Erected by the United States to the memory of the following soldiers, privates in the Eleventh Veteran Reserve Corps, comprising the Union guards who were killed with their Confederate prisoners of war in the railroad accident near Shohola, Pa., July 15, 1864, whose unidentified remains, together with those of the Confederate prisoners, have been removed to this cemetery.”

George H. Warner in his 1891 Military Records of Schoharie County Veterans of Four Wars provides some additional details on William’s military record. “William H. Cornell. Summit – Laborer; single; age 22; enlisted August 12, 1862; detailed as guard over Rebel prisoners as far as Tennally Town, Pa., on the night of June 30, 1864; rejoined his regiment on the night of July 1; subsequently detailed as guard at Point Lookout, Md.; killed in a railroad collision at Shohola, Pa., June [July] 15, 1864, while serving as guard over Rebel prisoners en route to Elmira, N.Y.” (Warner, George H. Military Records of Schoharie County Veterans of Four Wars. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1891.)

The 134th Infantry served in the Atlanta campaign including the battles of Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Pine Mountain, Golgotha, Kolb’s Farm, Marietta, Chattahoochee River, Peachtree Creek Atlanta, and then Sandersville, Greensboro Savannah, and finally in the Carolinas campaign. With the close of the war the 134th marched to Washington, DC, where it took part in the Grand Review, and was mustered out at Bladensburg, Maryland on June 10, 1865. The 134th had a long and honorable record throughout the Civil War.

Beginning in 1862 the United States government began a pension system for Union soldiers who had served during the war. Under this early system, “Soldiers who were disabled as a result of their service were eligible for pensions; the amount depended on their rank and their injury. Dependents (widows and children) of soldiers who were killed on duty were also eligible.” However, over the years, the eligibility criteria were increasingly loosened, notably with the 1879 Arrears Act, the 1890 Dependent Pension Act and the Act of 1907. With the 1890 act the pension was based on the veteran’s age and time of service. The 1907 act confirmed that criteria, “when old age itself was considered a disability.” (Gorman, Kathleen L. “Civil War Pensions.” Essential Civil War Curriculum. 2012.)

Military records show that Schuyler S. Cornell received government pension benefits for his military service in the Civil War beginning on October 7, 1892. Upon his passing on March 6, 1927, pension benefits were passed on to his widow Permelia, although, given her “invalid” state, the benefits were paid to their daughter Lena Wheeler. Schuyler’s pension benefit rates steadily increased over the years: as of May 6, 1913, the rate was $24 a month; as of May 5, 1918, the rate was $30; as of June 10, 1918, the rate was $40; as of May 1, 1920 the rate was $50; and as of October 21, 1925, the rate was $75.

Once a solider, always a soldier, could have been said S. S. Cornell and other members of the Stamford post of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). In 1916, during the height of the Mexican Border War, the entire post volunteered to serve again if necessary. “Veterans Offer Service. Members of John A. Logan Post Stamford Would Again Take Up Arms. At a meeting of John A. Logan Post, G. A. R., held in Stamford on Saturday it was unanimously resolved that all members offer their services as veterans to the country in its present imbroglio with Mexico, to serve in such places and capacity as the U.S. government may deem fitting and proper to achieve the best results in case of war between this country and Mexico. Signed by S. I. More, Com., John Pogue, Adjt., S. S. Cornell, Q. M. – [Stamford Mirror.” (“Veterans Offer Service.” Catskill Mountain News. June 30, 1916.) At the time of this resolution in 1916 Schuyler was 73 years of age, although apparently with plenty of fight left in him.

After the Civil War, in 1866, Schuyler married Permelia (Pamelia) A. Gallup. Permelia was born in 1848 at the hamlet of Charlotteville in Schoharie County, New York. She was the daughter of Samuel B. Gallup (1821-1858) and Orline Vaughn (1822-1912), of Worcester, New York. Samuel and Orline married on November 9, 1842. Permelia was one of four children, including her three brothers John, Seward and Jason. In the 1850 US census Samuel Gallup was listed with the occupation of a Farmer. Samuel died on January 19, 1858.

Samuel Gallup, Schuyler’s father-in-law, was descended from John Gallop who sailed from Plymouth, England on March 20, 1630 and arrived at Nantasket (now Hull) on May 30, 1630. Christobel, John Gallop’s wife, and their children followed in 1633. John Gallop was an early land owner and one of the first harbor pilots in the Boston area. “He owned Gallup’s Island, where he had a snug farm, with a meadow on Long Island, a sheep pasture on Nix Mate, and a house in Boston . . . He was a skillful mariner, well acquainted with the harbor around Boston, and in the habit of making frequent trading expeditions along the coast in his own vessels.” Gallop’s Island, located near Boston, where John Gallop lived, is named in his honor. (Gallup, John D. The Genealogical History of the Gallup Family in the United States. Hartford, Conn.: Hartford Printing Company, 1893.)

Schuyler and his wife Permelia had two children, Burr G. Cornell and Lena Cornell. Burr Cornell graduated from the Stamford Seminary in 1887. That same year, Burr, in partnership with his father, opened a tailor shop in 1887 at their store in the village of Stamford, operating as S. S. Cornell & Son. On the 1892 US Census Burr was listed with an occupation of “Tailor.” Burr later operated a merchant clothing business at Middleburgh, New York. In 1903 Burr G. Cornell moved to Los Angeles, California.

Lena married William H. Wheeler, of Stamford, who was a long serving veterinary at Stamford. He was listed on the 1880 US Census with an occupation of “Veterinary Surgery”, on the 1892 US Census as a “Horse Dealer,” on the 1910 US Census as “Veterinary Surgery,” on the 1920 US Census as “Veterinary,” and on the 1930 US Census as “Doctor – Veterinarian.” Although his earlier education is unclear it is known that William attended the New York Veterinary College, graduating in 1898 with a Veterinary Science degree. He was one of eight students to receive their diplomas that year, with William achieving “the best practical examination, winning a case of instruments.” (“New York College of Veterinary Surgeons.” The Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives. May, 1898. Volume 19, Number 5.) William was often noted in the local newspapers for his work in training successful race horses, often participating at local fairs and tracks. Lena died suddenly at her home on June 5, 1943.

Murphy Hall, a 4-story residence dormitory at the State University at New York (SUNY) at Delhi, is named in honor of Gertrude Wheeler Murphy (1890-1938), Schuyler’s grand-daughter, and daughter of William Wheeler and Lena (Cornell) Wheeler. Gertrude was born on December 26, 1890 at Stamford. She graduated from the Stamford Seminary in 1907 and from Vassar College in 1913. In 1914 Gertrude married Fred P. Murphy (1889-1979), a Cornell University graduate and executive with the Grolier company, a leading distributor of encyclopedias and reference books.

 

Vintage postcard by Bob Wyer of Murphy Hall at the SUNY Agriculture and Technical College located at Delhi, New York.Murphy Hall, State University College, Delhi, New YorkWell-known photographer Bob Wyer took this photograph of the State University of New York Agriculture and Technical College, located at the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York. The inscription on the reverse side reads “Murphy Hall – A futuristic modern dormitory functionally designed for optimum group living, study and recreating, containing a recreational area, residence office and apartment.”

As per the SUNY Delhi website: “Murphy Hall is the sister building to O'Connor Hall. It is a four-story residence hall with a large lounge in the center of the building. Student rooms are located along the corridors with four common bathrooms and shower facilities per floor. There are three laundry rooms in the building located across from the elevator on the second, third, and fourth floor. Murphy Hall offers mainly triple rooms, with some double rooms, and limited single rooms.”

The school was founded in 1913, originally as a small school focused on farming, but later expanded to general education. In 1941 the school became New York State Agricultural and Technical Institute at Delhi. In 1964 the school became the New York Agricultural and Technical College at Delhi. The school, today with the name SUNY Delhi, continues to operate as part of the State University of New York college system. The postcard was never mailed.
Murphy Hall, SUNY Delhi. Photograph by Bob Wyer. Author's Collection.

 

“Mrs. Murphy was a woman of highest quality and attainment; active in many civic affairs and devoted to the development of Stamford and Delaware county. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have done much to benefit the people of Delaware county through enumerable philanthropic endeavors. Mr. Murphy has continued the work which both formerly shared and cherished, unselfishly giving of time, effort, and money to the growth of education and the economic development of the region. Mrs. Murphy, until her death in Nov. 1937 [1938], shared with her husband the plans, hopes, and aspirations which have since made a great impact on the entire area, industrially and educationally. The college takes pride in honoring Mrs. Murphy and the Murphy family for the giving of so much for the benefit of so many.” (“Dedicate Tech Buildings Next Week.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. April 26, 1967.)

Gertrude Wheeler Murphy died of a heart attack at her home in Bronxville, New York in November 1938. “Mrs. Murphy is survived by her husband; a daughter, Miss Betty Murphy, a junior at Vassar college; a son, William Joseph Murphy, and her mother, Mrs. W. W. Wheeler, who also was a resident of Kansas City several years. While in Kansas City Mrs. Murphy was an active member of the Vassar club, the Women’s University club and the Woman’s City club. She joined in many educational and civic projects. Gardening was her hobby and her home took several prizes for its plantings and flowers, which she supervised personally.” (“Mrs. Fred P. Murphy.” The Kansas City Times. November 18, 1938.) Gertrude Wheeler Murphy is buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Stamford, New York.

Schuyler Cornell moved to the village Stamford in 1876 where he would establish a long-standing and successful photographic business. He constructed a building known as the Cornell block in the central section of the village, where he resided and operated his photo studio. The building was located along Main Street between North Delaware Street and Railroad Avenue. Just across Railroad Avenue from Schuyler’s studio was the popular Churchill Hall, one of the large resort hotels in the village, operated by Dr. S. E. Churchill (1841-1917).

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Graphic Logo for S. S. Cornell, PhotographerSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Logo Stamp for S. S. Cornell, PhotographerSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler occasionally leased out part of his building to other local businesses. For a time in the late 1880s he operated a tailor shop with his son Burr. In 1890 A. J. Chichester rented the store section to conduct a general mercantile business. In 1902 the Stamford National Bank leased the store while its own building was being repaired and improved. In 1911 G. C. Wirtz leased the front store room to “conduct a confectionary store, ice cream parlor and soda fountain during the summer months.” (“From Our Files.” Mirror-Recorder. April 12, 1962.)

The village of Stamford was established in 1870. As of 1880, four years after Schuyler’s arrival, according to W. W. Munsell in his The History of Delaware County, N.Y., Stamford was quite prosperous with 4 churches, a seminary, two hotels, and a newspaper. It had all the businesses you would expect in a thriving town including 4 boot and shoe stores, a foundry, 2 machine shops, 2 drug stores and a book and stationery business. It also had 2 cabinet shops, 1 harness maker, 2 grist mills, a woolen factory, a creamery, a hardware store, 4 dry goods stores, 2 clothing stores, 5 blacksmith shops, 2 flour and feed stores, 4 lawyers, 5 carpenters, 2 meat markets, 2 barbers, 2 painters, 3 milliners, 2 dress makers and 1 cooper.

Stamford, in that era, and with the construction of the Ulster and Delaware railroad in 1872, quickly become a popular resort destination for Catskills tourists. With the nickname “Queen of the Catskills,” by 1900 there were over 50 guest houses, hotels and boarding houses operating in the village. Well known Stamford lodging included Churchill Hall, the Rexmere, The Westholm, the Cold Spring House, Ingleside, the Maple Grove Farm House and the Delaware House, to name just a few of the many popular establishments. The growth of Stamford tourism surely assisted in the popularity of Cornell’s photographic gallery.  

For a time, Cornell also operated a grocery store in the village. The 1880 United States census listed his occupation as “Grocer,” while his wife Permelia was listed as “Keeping House,” and his son Burr, age 11, as “Minding School.” Lena, age 9, did not have an entry under occupation. The History of Delaware County, N.Y., published in 1880 by W. W. Munsell, stated that there were four grocery stores in Stamford at the time, including establishments owned by S. S. Cornell, C. C. Canfield, B. H. Foote and E. M. Hinman. An 1883 advertisement in the Stamford Mirror stated “S. S. Cornell, dealer in Fine Groceries of Every description, Stamford, N.Y.” (Stamford Mirror. October 23, 1883.)

Schuyler, in 1883, placed a large advertisement in the local newspaper highlighting his extensive photographic offerings. “Cornell’s New Photograph Gallery Is now open to the public, and running on full time. I am now prepared to do all kinds of work, both large and small. I have lately added to my Gallery the Lightning Process, By which I am enabled to procure a perfect Photo of Children and Babies in less than one second; so bring your babies along. I have also added a fine line of Goods FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Consisting of Silk, Velvet, and Ebony Frames, Photograph Albums, Stereoscopes and Views. Copying and enlarging old and faded pictures a specialty. Pictures finished in Oil, India Ink, or Water Colors. Agents wanted, to solicit orders for my Copying Department. I will be pleased to have everybody call and look over my Stock, work, and Rooms. S. S. Cornell, Photographer, Main Street, Stamford.” (Stamford Mirror. March 6, 1883.)

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

1883 Advertisement for Cornell's New Photograph Gallery. Stamford Mirror.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Portrait, Well Dressed ManPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Portrait, Well Dressed Older GentlemanPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Portrait, Well Dressed Older LadyPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.
Portraits by S. S. Cornell. Author's Collection.

 

In 1884 Schuyler again placed a large-sized advertisement in the local newspaper. “Stamford Photograph Gallery. I have remodeled by Photograph Rooms and added new Back grounds, New Accessories, New Instruments, etc., and am now prepared to do a large variety, and better class of work than before. Call and see for yourselves. I also have the best assortment of Photograph Albums Ever in Stamford, and at prices below everybody, also. Stereoscopes and Views. I would thank my friends and neighbors for past patronage and solicit a continuance of the same. S. S. Cornell, Photographer.” (Bloomville Mirror. 1884.)

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

1884 Advertisement from S. S. Cornell, Photographer. Bloomville Mirror.

 

In 1888 an advertisement for Schuyler’s services offered cabinet photos at $3 per dozen. While in 1897 prices for “Life size Crayons” were $1.25 and “Life size in colors” were $1.50.

In addition to his portrait studio work Cornell also photographed extensively throughout the surrounding western Catskills. Much of his fine work can be seen in his popular series of stereoviews titled “Views of Stamford & Vicinity.” The series contained 50 views and highlighted many of the most popular sites around Stamford including Mount Utsayantha, Churchill Hall, Devasego Falls and many more.

 

 

Views of Stamford & Vicinity

1

Lake Utsayantha, Headwaters of the Delaware

2

Lake Utsayantha, Headwaters of the Delaware

3

Lake Utsayantha, Indian Trail near the Delaware

4

Delaware Valley and Mount Utsayantha from Deacon Churchill’s Hill

5

Stamford Village and Mount Utsayantha from Deacon Churchill’s Hill

6

Stamford Village and Mt. Ball Top from Deacon Churchill’s Hill

7

Kirkner Villa, on Prospect Hill

8

Kirkner Villa, view west from

9

Kirkner Villa, Delaware Valley from

10

Kirkner Villa, Stanley Mills from

11

Churchill Hall, S. E. Churchill, Proprietor

12

Churchill Hall, front view

13

Churchill Hall, rear view

14

Churchill Hall, north view from tower

15

Churchill Hall, eastern view from tower

16

Churchill Hall, Main St. opposite

17

Dr. Churchill’s office and Post Office

18

Rulifson’s Utsayantha Observatory

19

View from Roadway to Mt. Utsayantha

20

View of Mt. Utsayantha from Mt. Harper

21

Valley View Cottage, F. G. Rulifson

22

Cold Spring House, A. L. Churchill, Proprietor

23

Happy Home, Mrs. S. E. Kendall

24

Delaware Street, looking north

25

Delaware Street, Residence of Judge I. H. Maynard

26

Delaware Street residence of Judge Maynard, Frost Scene

27

Stamford Water Works, reservoir of, Wild Cat Glen

28

Stamford Water Works, reservoir from above

29

Stamford Water Works, reservoir Construction Gang, Delaware St.

30

Stamford Water Works, reservoir Construction Gang, Hamilton House

31

View from McDevitt Point, Mount Utsayantha

32

View from McDevitt Point, Mount Utsayantha

33

View from McDevitt Point, Delaware Valley

34

Winter View of Delaware Valley

35

Eagle Nest, residence of E. Z. C. Judson

36

Eagle Nest, residence of E. Z. C. Judson

37

Lake Odell, McKee Family Massacred 1779, by Indians

38

Lake Odell, McKee Family Massacred 1779, by Indians

39

Lake Odell, McKee Family Massacred 1779, by Indians

40

Devasego Falls from North Bank

41

Devasego Falls from below

42

Devasego Falls from below

43

Devasego Falls, Rocks below

44

Devasego Falls, Rocks below Dinner Party

45

View of Roadway to Mount Jefferson

46

View North from Mount Jefferson

47

Brooklyn Heights, Stamford

48

Charlotte Valley, looking west from Mt. Harper

49

Woodbine Cottage, former residence of J. T. Headley

50

Morning Train and Stamford Station

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Home and FamilyPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Ready to RidePhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.Valley ViewPhotographer: S. S. Cornell

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

Stereoviews by photographer S. S. Cornell.

 

His photographic services were continually well received by the public, as routinely highlighted in the local newspapers.

  • 1877, “Mr. S. S. Cornell, our photographer, is doing a good business. He does good work and thereby merits the patronage of all who are in need of work in his line.” (“Home and County News.” The Jeffersonian. December 4, 1877.)
  • 1878, “S. S. Cornell, our photographer, is getting out some very fine pictures. His scenery and backgrounds are something new and tasty.” (“Home and County News.” The Jeffersonian. September 4, 1878.)
  • 1885, “Our excellent artist, S. S. Cornell, is doing some very fine photograph work. No use trusting your work with strangers when we have so good a workman in our midst, and if people want anything in the line of India Ink, Water Color, Crayon or Oil Painting work, Mr. Cornell is prepared to take orders and fill them to the best of satisfaction.” (“Mirror Reflections.” Stamford Mirror. February 10, 1885.)
  • 1888, “Cornell, the photographer, is doing some very fine work in his line now-a-days.” (“Stamford.” Hobart Independent. December 20, 1888.)
  • 1889, “Our village artist, S. S. Cornell, has recently been taking several very fine views of Stamford village and also of the farm lands of D. C. Sharpe, at South Kortright.” (“Stamford.” Hobart Independent.” July 25, 1889.)
  • 1890, “Photographer Cornell is having quite a call for views of Gilboa after the fire. They are fine specimens of photographic art.” (“Stamford.” Hobart Independent. May 22, 1890.)

 

In November 1893 Cornell was advertising his photographs as potential presents during the holiday season:

 

“A Straight Pointer. You can make twelve elegant Christmas Presents to twelve of your relations and best friends for $3.00 by sitting NOW for a dozen of our Fadeless, Waterproof Photos. Something entirely new.

How can you provide twelve as satisfactory presents for twelve persons for the same amount?

Come now while the weather is pleasant and before the Holiday rush, and we will give you the finest work that ever left our establishment, and your worry as to how you will provide presents will be over.

S. S. Cornell, Photographic Studio, 209 Stamford Avenue, Stamford, N.Y.” (Stamford Mirror. November 28, 1893.)

 

In 1897 Cornell advertised his services in the local newspaper. “At Cornell’s Photographic Studio, (209 Stamford Avenue,) You can purchase one dozen Cabinet Size Photos, either Ivoryette or Ivorytype finish, from One Dollar Up. Come Rain or Shine. This offer is good until further notice.” (Stamford Recorder. August 7, 1897.)

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills.

1897 Advertisement for Cornell's Photographic Studio. Stamford Recorder.

 

In 1901 Schuyler opened a second photographic office at Fleischmanns. He purchased property from J. M. Blish, “a desirable location near the iron bridge in Fleischmanns.” “Stamford Man’s New Venture. Stamford, April 18. (Special) – S. S. Cornell will be a busy man the coming season. He has purchased a building lot at Fleischmann’s and will erect a building for a photograph gallery. He will also have rooms for tonsorial parlors in the same building. The building is to be ready for occupancy June 1.” (“Stamford Man’s New Venture.” Hobart Independent. April 20, 1901.) The building was constructed by John Muir. For a time, the Fleischmanns studio was open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

A 1905 advertisement highlighted the offerings of the Cornell studio.

 

“Special Holiday Offering. I will make Photos at greatly REDUCED PRICES from now until January 1, 1906.

Come early and be sure of a sitting. Copying and enlarging a specialty in all branches, neatly and promptly done. India Ink, Crayon, Water Color and Pastel; also Hand Painted Ivory Miniatures, Portraits, Watches, Jewelry, etc.

Nothing equals a Fine Portrait as a Christmas or New Year’s Gift.

The largest assortment of POST CARDS in town. One hundred views of Stamford and vicinity, all genuine Photos.

Thanking you for all past favors and hoping for continuance of the same.

I am very respectfully, S. S. Cornell, Photographer, 209 Stamford Ave., Stamford, N.Y.” (The Gilboa Monitor. November 23, 1905.)

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills. 1905 Advertisement for S. S. Cornell, Photographer. Hobart Independent.

 

Schuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years.S. S. CornellSchuyler S. Cornell was a popular photographer who operated out of the village of Stamford in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He operated a portrait studio on Main Street in the village and was also well known for his landscapes of the surrounding western Catskills. 1906 Advertisement for S. S. Cornell, Photographer. The Jefferson Courier.

 

In 1906 Schuyler and Permelia began a cross country trip in which he planned to stop at many photographic galleries along the way. They stopped to visit his brother Harvey at 144 Court Street, Binghamton, before heading to California to visit their son Burr. They spent the winter in California. “To my Friends and Patrons, I wish to announce that after Jan. 14, I am going to take a vacation during which time my studio will be closed. On my sojourn from home, I expect to visit many of the leading studios of the States, including west of the Rockies, and shall hope to pick up new ideas in Photography, and thereby be able to give you, on my return, of which due notice will be given through the press, many new styles and novelties in the way of portraits. Thanking you for past patronage, and wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year, I am very respectfully, S. S. Cornell, Stamford, N.Y.” (The Gilboa Monitor. January 11, 1906.)

In addition to his business impact on the Stamford village Schuyler was also a prominent and influential civic-minded member of the community. After the Civil War a society of veterans was established with the organization of The Grand Army of the Republic (G. A. R.). Through Schuyler’s efforts the John A. Logan Post at Stamford was established on April 28, 1888. Logan had fought in the war and was promoted to Major General. “This Post was active for many years. Memorial Days always saw the old soldiers proudly marching in the parades, dressed in what was left of their uniforms, carrying their heads high, as they had a right to do. As the years passed, their numbers became less and less, and finally there were too few to carry on, and the Post had to be given up. They took the remaining money in their treasury ($50), and presented it to the Abigail Harper Chapter D.A.R. of Stamford, New York.” (“The History of Stamford Village.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. 1955-1956.)

Schuyler was made the first commander of the Post. He served in that capacity for many years.  The post organized many civic-minded activities including the decorating of gravesites of veterans for Memorial Day, marching in local parades, and organizing military enlistment drives during the Spanish-American War and World War I.

Taken in its entirety Schuyler had a very prolific photographic career. According to a 1923 newspaper article it was estimated that Schuyler “has a total of about 20,000 negatives, which is a valuable collection and one of very great historical importance.” (“News in Brief From All Around Us.” The Otsego Farmer. May 25, 1923.)

Unfortunately, much of this collection probably did not survive as only weeks after Schuyler’s passing his daughter placed notice in the local newspaper of its impending destruction. “Cornell Negatives. To those having negatives made at the S. S. Cornell studio in past years, I will offer the same for sale for a short time before destroying them. From these you can have pictures made at any place where printing is done. Also picture frames of all sizes and photographic equipment. Mrs. W. H. Wheeler.” (“Cornell Negatives.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. April 20, 1927.)

Schuyler S. Cornell died at the age of 83 on March 6, 1927. In his obituary it was stated that “He came to Stamford in 1876 and established a photographic business and for a time conducted a grocery store. The photographic business, however, was his chosen vocation and in this he was successful. His customers, numbered by the thousands, have extended over a wide area and he was known far and wide as a master craftsman.” (“Death of S. S. Cornell.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. March 9, 1927.)

Leading photographic historians T. K. Treadwell and William C. Darrah (1909-1989) in their Photographers of the United States of America wrote that S. S. Cornell was “One of the more skilled and prolific small-town stereo[view] photogs [photographers].”

For nearly two years before his passing Schuyler had been in poor health, and during the winter of his passing he had been confined to his home. His funeral was held at his home in Stamford with Rev. Peter McKenzie, pastor of the Presbyterian church, officiating. Cornell is interred at the Stamford Cemetery.

His wife Permelia Cornell died a year later on March 10, 1928 at her home on Main Street in Stamford. She had been “an invalid for over four years and had been tenderly cared for by her daughter, Mrs. W. H. Wheeler. She had been in unusually good health recently, however, until Friday evening when she suffered a shock from which she failed to rally.”

“She [Permelia] was a woman who possessed splendid qualities and endeared herself to all those who knew her. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church and always attended until illness prevented her. Though inactive for so long a time she will be greatly missed by a wide circle of friends. She leaves, besides her daughter, one son, who resides in Los Angeles, Cal. The funeral was held Tuesday, at 2 p.m. from her late home, Rev. Peter McKenzie officiating.” (“Mrs. Permelia Cornell.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. March 14, 1928.)

 


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