Maurice Farrington – Delhi Photographer

April 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

 

Logo for photographer Maurice Farrington of Delhi, New YorkFarrington LogoMaurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

 

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Maurice Farrington was born on July 17, 1837 on the Farrington homestead at East Delhi in Delaware County, New York. The family homestead was eventually taken over by Zenas Farrington, Maurice’s brother, where “he [Zenas] took charge of the home farm, which he bought in 1865, and has since carried on a thriving business in general agriculture, of late years making a specialty of dairying, keeping a valuable herd of Guernsey cows, and making a superior article of butter, which finds a ready market in New York City.” (The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, New York. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1895. p. 364-366.)

 

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.
Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.

 

Maurice Farrington was the grandson of March Farrington (1762-1849), an early pioneer, veteran of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and farmer. “. . . March Farrington, who was of English antecedents, was born in this State in October, 1762. He had an honorable record as a soldier in the Revolution and the War of 1812, and as a pioneer of Delaware County. On first arriving in this region, having followed a route marked by blazed trees, he located his home in that part of the town of Meredith now known as Meredith Square; and, when he built his humble log cabin, his nearest neighbor was in Delhi, some six miles away. He and his family subsisted mainly for a time on the game and fish to be found in the vicinity. He subsequently removed to Delhi, where he and his cherished wife spent their declining years, she passing to her eternal rest November 10, 1841, in the seventy-eight year of her age, having been born April 17, 1764, and he dying April 1, 1849. Her maiden name was Betsey Colton; and by her and her husband five children were reared – Morris L., Paulina, Betsy Ann, Florella, and Polly. (The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, New York. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1895. Pages 364-366.)

As an undoubted patriot March enlisted to serve his country during the American Revolution at the tender age of 13. “With patriotic fire burning in his veins, early in the spring of 1776 [he] enlisted in Col. Sergent’s regiment for a period of one year. He was only thirteen years of age, so thus the only course open to him was to enlist as a drummer boy. In this he was successful, serving out the full years’ service.” (“Bi-Centennial Corner.” Republican Express. October 23, 1975.) March joined the same unit, the 16th Continental Infantry, as his father, then Captain Thomas Farrington. March was stationed near the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775 where his father was leading his unit.

 

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.
Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.

 

“Colonel Thomas Farrington [Maurice’s great grandfather] was a lieutenant in Israel Putnam’s company during the early days of the War for Independence. Coming from Massachusetts, he had already served the province from 1755 until the time of the reduction of Canada advancing in the service from Private to Captain. At the beginning of hostilities with the mother country, he was desirous of entering the service and applied for any officer vacancy in the Continental army. Receiving a commission, he hurried to the Boston area. At the Battle of Bunker Hill he was in command of the Putnam company and continued in the service until the close of the war. On Jan. 1, 1777, he received his commission as Lieutenant Colonel, thus carrying the title of Colonel from that time on.” (“Bi-Centennial Corner.” Republican Express. October 23, 1975.) For more information on Thomas Farrington see the article titled “Bi-Centennial Corner” in the October 23, 1975 issue of the Republican Express.

Unfortunately, which the article above does not mention, is that the story of Thomas Farrington took a downward turn with his commission in January 1777 as a Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Massachusetts Regiment. Only five months later from May 15 to May 17, 1777 he was court-martialed for “behaving in a Scandalous, & infamous Manner, such as is unbecoming an Officer & Gentle Man, by receiving & passing Counterfeit Money, Knowing it by such.” (“To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 19 May 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives.)

Abigail Adams in a letter dated May 6, 1777 to her husband, and future President, John Adams wrote of the accusations against Thomas Farrington.

 

“I must add a little more. A most Horrid plot has been discovered of a Bank of villans counterfeiting to a Great amount, no person scarcly but what has more or less of these Bills. I am unlucky enough to have about 5 pounds LM of it, but this is not the worst of it. One Col. Farrington who has been concerned in the plot, was taken sick, and has confessd not only the Counterfeiting, but as they had engaged and inlisted nearly 2 thousand Men who upon the Troops comeing to Boston were to fall upon the people and make a General Havock. How much mercifull God than man, in this providentially bringing to light these Horrid plots and Schemes. I doubt not Heaven will still continue to favour us, unless our iniquities prevent.” (“Abigail Adams to John Adams, 6 May 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives.)

 

Major General Heath in a May 19, 1777 letter to General George Washington wrote of the court martial against Farrington.

 

 “Saturday last the General Court Martial appointed for the Tryal of Lieut. Colonel Farrington of Colo. Putnams Regiment (charged with behaving in a scandalous and infamous manner) gave in their Judgement that He was guilty of the Charge alleged against him & have adjudged him to be discharged from the Army – Incapable to serve in the Continental Service and ordered him to be published in the News Papers. I have approved the Judgment which has this Day been put in execution – Immediately upon his being discharged from his Arrest the Council ordered him under close confinement.” (“To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 19 May 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives.)

 

General, and future President, George Washington spared no mercy with his thoughts on the actions of Thomas Farrington, believing that he should be sentenced to death. In a May 23, 1777 letter to Major General William Heath, George Washington wrote:

 

“The conduct of those who desert & receive double Bounties, deserves severe punishment, the practice has prevailed to a great & scandalous degree, and the desertions after they have come into the Field, have been truly vexatious. However, I have heard nothing of such malignity or of so fatal a tendency, as the conduct of Lieutt Colo. Farrington. You say, you hope the Army will get rid of him. Will not the World too? I hope the State has provided Laws against such Offenders, for I can not conceive, that any Crime should be punished with more severity or more certain death, than what this Man has been Guilty of. Money is the sinews of War. That in which we are engaged is just One, and we have no means of carrying it on, but by the Continental or State Notes. Whoever attempts to destroy their credit, particularly that of those, emitted by the United States, is a flagitious Offender & should forfeit his life, to satisfie the demands of public justice. In the case before us, the enormity of the crime, is aggravated in a peculiar manner by the post, Farrington held.” (“From George Washington to Major General William Heath, 23 May 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives.)

 

On May 26, 1777, Thomas Farrington was “cashiered” from the Continental Army. His military career had ended in disgrace.

Interestingly, in several sources the positive aspects of Farrrington’s service were discussed, with no mention of how his military career had ended. For example, in The History of Delaware County, New York it was noted that “This gentleman was a lieutenant in Israel Putnam’s company, and commanded the company at Bunker Hill; he continued in the service as lieutenant colonel to the close of the war.” (History of Delaware County, N.Y. New York: W. W. Munsell & Co., 1880. Page 150.) This was not true; Thomas was dishonorably discharged from the military in 1777, and did not serve throughout the war. Perhaps the stories told in the community and passed on within the family from generation to generation only included Thomas Farrington’s heroic actions, while leaving out the fact that that he was court-martialed from the Continental Army and was reviled by none other than General and President George Washington.

Ever the patriot, in 1780, now at the age of 18, March Farrington again enlisted in the Continental Army, this time for three years, serving in the Massachusetts State line. He served in the company commanded by Captain John Abbot and later the unit of Captain John Williams. He served for 2 years, 9 months before being discharged at the end of the American Revolution. Around 1792 March followed his father to the remote lands of Delaware County, New York.

March Farrington, at the age of 50, again enlisted as a Private on July 18, 1812 for a period of five years, through July 18, 1817. He joined the 25th Infantry company commanded by Captain Henry Devanworth. The unit marched to Greenbush, then on to Fort Niagara, and later to the western frontier. He fought at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5, 1814 at what is now Ontario, Canada. He was discharged as a musician on March 27, 1815 “being incapable of performing the duties of a soldier in consequence of a lameness of the left hip.” (United State Congressional Serial Set. Volume 409.) March Farrington is buried at the Frisbee Family Cemetery in Delhi, near the Delaware County Historical Association.

Maurice Farrington, the photographer, was the son of Morris Lamb Farrington (1793-1882) and Ruth Frisbee (1797-1876). Morris Lamb Farrington was born on February 7, 1793, son of March Farrington and Betsey (Colton) Farrington. Morris served in the War of 1812, with the rank of Corporal in the New York Militia under both Captain F. P. Foot’s and Captain H. R. Phelps. Morris enlisted on August 24, 1812 and was discharged six months later on February 24, 1813. For his service he was awarded some bounty lands, listed as “11972 80 50.” His later occupation was as a farmer.

 

Views In and About Delhi, N.Y. Maurice Farrington, Photographer. Author’s collection.Views In and About Delhi, N.Y. by Maurice FarringtonViews In and About Delhi, N.Y. Maurice Farrington, Photographer. Author’s collection.

Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.
Views In and About Delhi, N.Y. Maurice Farrington, Photographer. Author’s collection.

 

“Morris L. Farrington was but two years old when he came with his parents to this county, and at that early day educational advantages were here very limited. He began early to assist in the labors of the farm, growing more and more useful each year, remaining with his parents until he attained his majority, and afterward taking care of them in their latter years. In 1830 he bought the farm which is now included in the homestead of his son Zenas, of which he cleared a large portion, further improving it by erecting the present substantial set of frame buildings. Here he spent a long period of useful activity, loving to the venerable age of ninety years. He was a very intelligent man, taking part in the management of local affairs, and serving in many of the minor offices of the town. He married Ruth Frisbie, the daughter of Judge Gideon Frisbie, one of the original settlers of Delhi, and the first Judge of Delaware County, the first circuit of the county being held in his house. Judge Frisbie came here on horseback, long ere the time of public highways, and was for many years one of the most prominent men in this section of the county.” (The Leading Citizens of Delaware County, New York. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1895. Pages 364-366.)

Morris married Ruth Frisbee on January 31, 1827 in Delhi, New York. She was the daughter of Judge Gideon Frisbee (1758-1828) and Huldah (Kidder) Frisbee (1756-1804). Together Morris and Ruth had five children, two of them dying at a young age, including Anzolette (1828-1872); Zenas (1831-1902); Maurice (Morris) (1837-1914); Alida (1839-1841); and Elizabeth (1840-1842).

Maurice’s mother, Ruth (Frisbee) Farrington, passed away in Delhi on March 28, 1876. Upon Ruth’s passing it was written that “Though invalid for some years she was always cheerful, and making those around her feel that they were not living in vain. The needy and afflicted always found in her a kind and sympathizing friend on whom they could rely for aid and consolation. She has gone to receive the reward for the blessings and kindnesses bestowed on others here.” (Delaware Gazette. April 5, 1876.)

Maurice’s father, Morris Lamb Farrington, passed away at Delhi on October 12, 1882. Upon his passing it was written that “Mr. Farrington was at the time of his death, perhaps the oldest resident of the town, and has always been one of its most respected, intelligent and upright citizens . . . About two years since a paralytic stroke nearly prostrated his mental and physical powers, memory failed and he has since been visibly approaching the end of earth, having lost the intelligent and comprehensive grasp of affairs for which he had up to that time always been distinguished. Now has disappeared from view one our most ancient and worthy landmarks – an interesting relic of the past and an exemplary, respected and aged patriarch and pioneer has taken his departure. ‘Take him all and all, we shall never look on his like again.’” (“Obituary.” Delaware Gazette. October 18, 1882.)

Both Morris Lamb Farrington and his wife Ruth (Frisbee) Farrington are both buried at Woodland Cemetery in Delhi, New York.

Maurice Farrington married Frances Eliza Thompson of Meredith in 1872. Frances was born in Delhi on April 24, 1849.  She was the daughter of Nathaniel R. and Caroline C. (Whitlock) Thompson. Together Maurice and Frances had had two children, Frank Maurice Farrington and Pauline Farrington.

Frank Maurice Farrington was born on December 28, 1872 at Delhi. Frank married Elizabeth Alexander Gallagher (1878-1955) of Marietta, Ohio. Frank was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church for 68 years and for a time served as trustee. During World War I Frank “served as executive in the entertainment division of the Army YMCA at Camp Lee, Va. and as YMCA secretary of various military camps. His services as lecturer at school assemblies and luncheon clubs took him to communities throughout the state.

Mr. Farrington was a charter member of the Delhi Kiwanis Club, and always took an active part in such local activities as Old Home Week and the Automobile Shows which were formerly held in the Delhi Opera House. For several years he conducted a drug store in the building now occupied by the Elm Tree Restaurant.

After selling his business to P. B. Merrill and W. A. Humphries, Mr. Farrington devoted his time to writing books, stories and articles for trade magazines. He was considered an authority on Abraham Lincoln. In later years he engaged in the antique business with his wife.

He is survived by his wife and one sister, Miss Pauline Farrington of Delhi. An only daughter, Mrs. Virginia Wilson, died in 1951.” (Frank Farrington, Life-Long Delhi Resident, Dies.” The Delaware Republican Express. February 24, 1955.)

Frank passed away at the Delaware Sanitorium on February 21, 1955 where he had been a patient for 8 months. Funeral services were held at the McCall Funeral Home with services conducted by Rev. T. Howard Akland, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church. He is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Delhi.

Pauline Farrington was born at Delhi on August 3, 1876 at Delhi, New York. As a youth she attended the Delaware Academy. For 14 years from 1905 to 1918 she worked as a music teacher at the New York Institution for the Blind in New York City. She then served as librarian from 1918 to 1948 at the Cannon Free Public Library in Delhi. Upon her retirement from the library, The Stamford Mirror-Recorder, the local newspaper wrote of contributions to the community.

 

“The retirement of Miss Pauline Farrington as Librarian at the Cannon Free Library cannot fail to leave a vacuum in the cultural life of Delhi. Her withdrawal from service terminates a period of thirty years faithful attendance at this institution, she having been the only librarian since the inception of the library. She was ever courteous and kindly toward the patrons of the institution, and has done much in guiding the reading habits of both young and old. Any book not immediately available she would get from the State Library, and no one was ever greeted with aught but a smile. Miss Farrington is withdrawing to enable her to do some of the things she has wanted to do and not be so confined, after a long period of fine service. The Library has been efficiently staffed, and while her pleasant and kindly smile will be missed, her influence will be indelibly stamped upon it. She was a keen student of books, and not at all averse to some of the modern trends. Her resignation is and will be a great loss to the patrons of the library.” (“Librarian Leaves Excellent Record.” Stamford Mirror-Recorder. August 12, 1948.)  

 

Always committed to her Second Presbyterian Church, Pauline served as the organist, was a Sunday School teacher, a member of the Ladies’ Aid and the Missionary Society. She died after a brief illness at the age of 88 on December 24, 1964. Funeral services were held at the R. J. McCall Funeral Home at Delhi in a service officiate by the Rev. Cameron B. Reed. There were no close survivors. She is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Delhi.

In his youth Maurice would have seen the work and galleries of professional photographers plying their trade at the village of Delhi. There was J. Churchill who operated out of rooms over the store of Griswold and Wright and later in rooms over the offices of Dr. Almiron Fitch. In 1855 Churchill announced that he “has returned once more to the village of Delhi, where he is practicing the art of Daguerreotypes . . . He flatters himself from his long experience in the business that he can ensure to his patrons Pictures which for richness of beauty and clearness, cannot be surpassed. Gentlemen and Ladies and the public in general, are invited to call. Satisfaction given in all cases, or no charge. Instructions given in the art.” (Delaware Gazette. September 10, 1856.) He offered ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and melanotypes. An 1860 advertisement noted that Churchill had been operating for 12 years in the photography business.

Another early Delhi photographer was E. C. Riggs, “Ambrotype Artist,” who operated in rooms over the Post Office and later in rooms over Elwood’s Store. Riggs began his business in 1856, noted by several advertisements in local newspapers that can be found for his business. The operation seems to have only lasted a few years. In 1859 Riggs would leave the photography business as he sought to engage in a different line of work. He rented out his rooms and sold his equipment, including “his ENTIRE STOCK of GOODS AND APPARATUS used in the Ambrotype business. One ½ Size and one ¼ Size CAMERA, and Shields belonging to them; Cases, Mats, Preservers, Baths, & c.” (The Star of Delaware. January 15, 1859.)

 

Photographer E. C. Riggs operated a photographic “ambrotype” gallery from 1856 to 1859 at the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York.E. C. Riggs, Ambrotype ArtistE. C. Riggs was an “Ambrotype Artist” at the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for four years from 1856 to 1859. E. C. Riggs advertisement. Delaware Gazette. September 10, 1856.

 

Photographer competition of the 1850s was tough in the small village of Delhi, with E. C. Riggs and J. Churchill occasionally battling in the local newspapers about each other’s motivations, quality and pricing. In one notable back-and-forth letter / advertisement published in the Delaware Gazette, a local newspaper, E. C. Riggs first wrote:

 

“IMMENSE EXCITEMENT! Ambrotypes at Reduced Prices!!

The subscriber would say to the public that, notwithstanding the TREMENDOUS EXERTIONS of our “up town” Philosopher to the contrary, he is alive and attending to business as usual. And his “ignorance of common philosophy” does not prevent him from selling the most beautiful pictures taken in this county, and at lower prices than they have ever been sold before.

As to my Ambrotypes fading, it is false; and I defy the gentleman (?) who takes so much pains to injure me and make himself appear ridiculous, to produce one that has faded in the least. And I would like to have him give satisfaction to his customers, whose pictures I have taken over and finished off after passing through his philosophic hands. I will warrant my work and am willing it shall stand upon its own merits. I respectfully invite the public to examine both sides – they shall be the judges.

Call in ladies and gentleman, and see who takes the cheapest and best pictures. A poor picture is dear at any price.

My Rooms are over Elwood’s Store.

Office hours are 9 A.M. to 3 ½ P. M.

E. C. Riggs. (Delaware Gazette. December 17, 1856.)

 

In response Churchill wrote:

 

“Pictures on Glass. The subscriber invites the attention of the public to his advertisement in another column, and his assertations therein contained, are in every respect true and correct. But it is not his intention to publish here, but to correct some misrepresentations which I see in an advertisement signed E. C. Riggs, in which he states as follows “As to my Ambrotypes fading, it is false, and I defy the gentleman to produce one that has faded in the least.” If I am the man to whom he alludes as the “up town philosopher,” and the man who took so much pains to injure him, then I say the gentleman has stated a wicked falsehood, and he could not be ignorant of it. I never said a word about his Ambroytpes fading, for there is not one to be found, probably, that is more than three or four months old. And how does he know whether he asserts the truth or not?

I did say they were of short duration, and this I am able to maintain.

He further says “I warrant my work and am willing it shall stand upon its own merits.” With what degree of propriety does he warrant his work, and what assurance can he give the public of its duration? Will the few months he has been in business be a sufficient time to test their durability? Let the public judge. Yet he is willing to warrant his work, but is careful not to say how long; he is then willing it shall stand upon its own merits. So am I, but it will not upon its own merits or any other.

If the Patented Ambrotype was of such durability, why did Brady and others of New York give them up? Because they were worthless, and his information is from one of the best men in this town, taken from his own lips.

I now come to is last italicized sentence. “A poor picture is dear at any price.” This is my sentiments exactly; and those who have been so unfortunate as to get one of your Patented Ambrotypes, will probably find out in a short time the truth of this assertion to their sorrow.

Gentlemen and ladies, call at my office and get you a fifty cent picture, and I will make it as durable as the rock of Gibraltar.

Yes, when your flesh in dust shall lie,

When death’s grey film o’er spread your beaming eye,

My life-like   mocking at decay,

Will still be fresh and vivid as to-day.

 

A Splendid Stock just received.

J. CHURCHILL.” (Delaware Gazette. December 24, 1856.)

 

In 1859 the E. C. Riggs gallery business was bought by B. F. Gilbert, who had previously operated at Hobart and Stamford. “New Ambrotype Gallery in Delhi. The subscriber would inform the inhabitants of Delhi and vicinity that he has taken the rooms formerly occupied by E. C. Riggs, where his is prepared to put up pictures in any of the late improved styles, and much superior in clearness of tone and expression to any that has ever been offered in this place. The public are invited to call and examine specimens. Rooms over Elwood’s store. B. F. GILBERT.” (“New Ambrotype Gallery in Delhi.” Bloomville Mirror. February 8, 1859.) Gilbert would later operate in rooms over the Gazette Office in Delhi.

On the 1855 New York State census, Gilbert, age 26, was listed as being at the town of Andes. His occupation was listed as “Merchant.” Also listed on the census was his wife Jane Gilbert, age 26; and their son Cortlandt Gilbert, at only 2 months old. On the 1860 US census Gilbert, age 30, was listed as living at Delhi with an occupation of “Artist.” Also listed was Jane Gilbert, age 30; Cortland T. Gilbert, age 5; and Leland Gilbert, age 4.

On the 1865 census, Gilbert, age 36, was listed at being at the town of Delhi. He had the profession of “Photographer.” Also listed were Jane Gilbert, age 36; Cortland T. Gilbert, age 10; and Leland Gilbert, age 9. On the 1870 US census Gilbert, age 42, continued at Delhi, now with the occupation of “Photographer.” Also listed was Jane Gilbert, age 40; Courtni Gilbert, age 15; David Gilbert, age 14; and John, age 4.

On the 1875 US census Gilbert, age 45, appears to be listed twice. First, he was listed at the town of Andes as a “Boarder” with an occupation of “Artist.” No family was listed. Second, Gilbert, age 46, was listed as residing in the village of Cobleskill in Schoharie County. He had an occupation of “Photographer.” Also listed was Jane Gilbert, age 45; Cortland Gilbert, age 20; and Jennie Gilbert, age 9. By the 1880 US census Gilbert, age 50, was residing at Albany County, with the occupation of “Photographer.” Also listed was Jane Gilbert, age 49; Cortland T. Gilbert, age 25; David L. Gilbert, age 24; and Jennie Gilbert, age 13.

B. F. Gilbert operated at the village of Delhi, off and on, from c. 1859 to c. 1873. He operated at a number of locations including “Rooms over Elwood’s store,” “Rooms over the Gazette Office,” “at his old stand opposite the Republican Office,” “over the millinery store of Mrs. E. F. Hutson,” “opposite Mrs. Hutson’s Millinery store,” “on the ground floor, opposite Mendel & Bros’ Store” and “in the Utilitarian Building.”

In 1868 there was a Benjamin F. Gilbert of Delhi who declared bankruptcy. Although it is not clear that this is the same person, it is likely, and would perhaps explain why, a year earlier he sold his photograph gallery to Byron R. Johnson. In 1873 it was reported that “B. F. Gilbert has sold out his interest in the Photograph business to Maurice Farrington.” (Delaware Gazette. November 19, 1873.) By 1875 Gilbert was operating at Cobleskill in Schoharie County.

On the 1855 New York State census Maurice was listed with a profession of “Farmer.” No occupation was listed for him on either the 1860 US census or the 1865 New York State census. The 1870 US census, the 1875 New York State census and the 1880 US census had his occupation listed as “Photographer.”

In the early 1860s Maurice moved to Michigan where he resided for approximately five years. Zenas Farrington, Maurice’s brother, had also moved to Michigan, where he spent one year working as a farm laborer. Maurice served during the Civil War for the state of Michigan. After the Civil War Maurice returned to his hometown of Delhi, where he would stay for the remainder of his life.

Maurice began his career as a photographer soon after the Civil War. In 1867 the Bloomville Mirror, a local newspaper noted: “Maurice Farrington, a photographist; a good looking bach of thirty; prides himself much on his jet-black flowing beard and beautiful mustache.” (Bloomville Mirror. October 22, 1867.)

In June, 1867, it was noted that “B. F. Gilbert has associated with him the Photograph business Mr. Byron Johnson, long successful operator in California.” (Delaware Republican. June 23, 1867.) Around October, 1867 Byron R. Johnson purchased the gallery of B. F. Gilbert. An October 1867 advertisement in the Delaware Gazette for the Johnson gallery noted that “Byron R. Johnson having purchased B. F. Gilbert’s Photograph Gallery in Delhi . . . Mr. B. F. Gilbert is retained in the employ of B. R. Johnson and will be glad to wait on any of his old customers as usual.” (Delaware Gazette. October 2, 1867.)

Johnson came to his gallery with a great deal of experience. “B. R. Johnson is well and favorably known by all first-class Artists in the United States as an Artist of superior merit, having carried on the most extensive Gallery in San Francisco for the last sixteen years.” (“Now is your Time!” Delaware Gazette. December 11, 1867.) “Mr. Johnson has had the advantages that few Artists in this part of the world have had; he has carried on extensive business in this line for the last 17 years in San Francisco, and has been acknowledged to be at the head of his profession by all good judges of the art.” (Bloomville Mirror. February 16, 1869.)

 

Byron R. Johnson Art Gallery LogoByron R. Johnson Art Gallery LogoByron R. Johnson operated a photographic gallery from 1867 to 1869 at the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York. Logo for the Byron R. Johnson Art Gallery. Author's collection. 

 

Johnson’s full advertisements in the local newspapers highlighted the extended offerings available at his new gallery.

 

Delaware Gazette, October, 1867. “Now is your Time! Byron R. Johnson having purchased B. F. Gilbert’s Photograph Gallery in Delhi is now prepared to do better work and at shorter notice, than any Gallery in Delaware county, having fitted it up with the latest and most approved style of Instruments, Apparatus, Imperial Grounds, Fancy Chairs, & c. In fact, every thing necessary to make work equal to the first Gallery in the worlds. B. R. Johnson is well and favorably known by all first-class Artists in the United States as an Artist of superior merit, having carried on the most extensive Gallery in San Francisco for the last sixteen years. Persons wishing fine work done in the line of Photography, would do well to call and examine his work of art and satisfy themselves as to his facility and ability for doing fine work, and that his prices are 25 per cent less than New York prices. Photographs taken from the size of a pea to full life size, either Plain, India Ink, Water, Oil or Patelle colors. Old Pictures Copies to all sizes. If you have an Old Picture of a friends or relative ever so indistinct, I can bring it out as perfect as life by the new improved Copying instrument made expressly for such work, You will find the Imperial Card Pictures, Graces and Sun Pearls something entirely new. VIEWS OF DWELLINGS, LANDSCAPE, MACHINERY, & c.. taken at short notice. Visitors can pass off time in viewing our collection of California views, which are free to all for inspection. Attention is called to his large and varied stock of Oval and Square Frames, Also, Mouldings of every size and description. The largest and finest assortment of Albums ever brought to Delaware county. Also, a good assortment of English Steel Engravings, all of which are offered to customers and the trade generally, at prices so low as to exclude competition. INSTRUCTION given in every branch of the art. Instruments, Apparatus and Stock for sale. N.B. Mr. B. F. Gilbert is retained in the employ of B. R. Johnson and will be glad to wait on any of his old customers as usual.” (Delaware Gazette. October 2, 1867.)

 

Bloomville Mirror, February, 1869. “Cheapest and Best Photographs Are to be had at B. R. Johnson’s Justly Celebrated Gallery, Delhi, N.Y. over Dr. Calhoun’s Drug Store. Mr. Johnson has had the advantages that few Artists in this part of the world have had; he has carried on extensive business in this line for the last 17 years in San Francisco, and has been acknowledged to be at the head of his profession by all good judges of the art. Those wishing Good Work and at Reasonable Rates, should call and see for themselves the best collection of work ever exhibited in this part of the world. All pictures shown by Mr. Johnson are made by him in his gallery. Mr. Johnson would call particular attention to his life-size Portraits from life, and enlarged from old defaced Pictures, and made perfect by the art of the brush. He has the only Patent Copying Instrument in Delaware Co., and claims copying as a specialty. All the old style of Pictures, such as Ambrotypes, Tintypes, Porcelain, & c., made at short notice. Mr. Johnson’s India Ink Portraits, new style Sun Pearls, are the admiration of every person. He has the most extensive assortment of Oval and Square Frames, Picture Nails, Cords and Tassels, Albums, & c. in Delhi. Give him a call before squandering your money on inferior work elsewhere. B. R. JOHNSON.”  (Bloomville Mirror. February 16, 1869.)

 

His work was quickly well received by the Delhi public. “We have visited B. R. Johnson’s fine Art Gallery and pronounce it and his pictures the finest we ever saw. Delaware county should be proud of such an establishment.” (Delaware Gazette. December 18, 1867.) Also, “Go to Johnson’s Gallery of Art if you want the best style picture.” (Delaware Gazette. January 1, 1868.)

Johnson’s time at the village of Delhi did not last long. By early 1869 Johnson was preparing to move to Europe. Johnson advertised for sale many of his possessions including a piano, a leather top buggy, harness, saddle, bridle, blanket, household furniture and more.

In September 1869 it was noted in the local newspaper that Johnson’s Art Gallery, over Calhoun & Son’s Drug Store, was being managed by proprietors I. M. Arnout, a photographer formerly of Frederick’s, N.Y., and O. Bingenheimer, Artist.

 

Watauga Falls, Delhi, N.Y. By Farrington’s. Printed in Germany. Postmark 1909. Author’s collection.Watauga Falls, Delhi, N.Y.Watauga Falls, Delhi, N.Y. By Farrington’s. Printed in Germany. Postmark 1909. Author’s collection.

Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.
Watauga Falls, Delhi, N.Y. By Farrington’s. Printed in Germany. Postmark 1909. Author’s collection.

 

However, by December 1869 Maurice Farrington was the new proprietor of the Byron R. Johnson Art Gallery at Delhi, New York. This would have included the business along with the equipment. “The public will be gratified to learn that Maurice Farrington had purchased the picture gallery of Byron R. Johnson in this place, and has taken possession and engaged in business. He has the skill, experience, and every facility for doing the best of work, and will doubtless meet with success. For further particulars respecting his business, see advertising columns.” (“Local and Miscellaneous.” Delaware Republican. December 18, 1869.) The gallery was located over the Calhoun & Sons Drug Store.

 

Maurice Farrington, Johnson Gallery advertisement.Maurice Farrington, Johnson Gallery advertisement.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

 

Over the next two years local newspapers carried a number of advertisements from proprietor Maurice Farrington for the Johnson Gallery.

 

“Prepare for the Holidays! Go to the Well Known Johnson Gallery And have your orders for a Photograph, Sun Pearl, or India Ink Picture, For less money than in any other Gallery west of New York. All work guaranteed. Maurice Farrington, Proprietor.” (Bloomville Mirror. December 21, 1869.)

 

“‘Procrastination is the thief of time.’ Then don’t delay, but go at once to the celebrated Johnson Gallery opposite White’s brick building, Delhi, and sit for one of those Life size solar Photographs which can be had no where else in this vicinity, as there is not another solar instrument in Delaware County. At the same time bring along that old picture of a lost friend, no matter how badly it is faded, and have it copied and enlarged. It can only be properly done by means of the Solar Camera.” (Delaware Republican. February 5, 1870.)

 

“Just Received at the Johnson Gallery, A Large stock of Picture Frames, comprising a complete assortment of new and elegant patterns. A stock of stereoscopic views constantly on hand, consisting of views from nearly all parts of the known world. The best and cheapest, Photographs, Sun Pearls, & c., & c., to be had in Delaware county, taken at the Johnson Gallery. Call and see. MAURICE FARRINGTON, Proprietor.” (Delaware Gazette. April 20, 1870.)

 

“All in pursuit of picture frames of any kind, either oval, square or rustic, will find it in their interest to call at the old Johnson Gallery, where they can make their selections from a New Stock, consisting of a large assortment of new and elegant patterns. If you don’t happen to have a picture that needs framing, just step in and sit for one, when you will see the propriety of having it put up in a handsome frame. You will also find a new stock of Stereoscopic Views of places of interest, such as Rocky Mountain and Lake Superior Scenery, Holy Land Views, & c.” (Delaware Republican. May 28, 1870.)

 

“It is scarcely necessary to mention a fact so well known to this community as the one at the Johnson Gallery, as has always been the case, is turning out the finest work in the line of Photographs of all kinds, to be had short of first class city galleries, and at prices astonishingly low. Persons wishing large work either plain, or finished in India Ink, will find it to their interest to call and examine the work now on exhibition before allowing themselves to be deceived with work done in fifth rate city galleries which would be dear at any price.” (Delaware Republican. October 1, 1870.)

 

“Don’t you know that the place to get your Pictures is at the old Johnson Gallery, now owned and occupied by Maurice Farrington? If you don’t just ask one our thousand and one customers, (to whom we tender our thanks for their very liberal patronage,) and they will tell you that we are turning out New Styles of Works Which Have Never Been Equalled in Delaware Co. That we have the BEST GALLERY and FACILITIES for doing Good Work, unequalled in this vicinity, is a fact that is UNDISPUTED! We have only instrument within a Hundred Miles of Delhi, that will make a Cabinet Photograph, or anything larger. Our instruments for Copying and Enlarging are of superior make, and have all the Latest Improvements. The Porcelain Picture, the finest ever made, can be had of us, and no where else in town, We have an enormous Stock of Frames of all kinds, which will be sold Cheap. Stereoscopes and views in large quantities, which will be sold in large lots at WHOLESALE RATES. Also a stock of Prang’s Celebrated Chromos, and some Large Views along the Line of the PACIFIC R.R. Give us a call, and you can’t fail to be suited. Rooms over CALHOUN & SON’S DRUG STORE. Fourth door East of Edgerton House, Delhi, N.Y.” (Delaware Republican.)

 

“Call at the Johnson Gallery if you are in want of anything in the picture line, where you will find a general assortment of frames, stereoscopes and views, brackets, &c. A novelty in the decoration line is the wall pocket, made of black walnut, handsomely carved. Likewise bear in mind that it is the gallery for first class work of all kinds.” (Delaware Republican. November 12, 1870.)

 

“That the pictures made at the Johnson Gallery in this village are far superior to anything of the kind made elsewhere in this vicinity is a fact which none who have visited the Gallery will be disposed to deny. The reason is simply this: that in Photography, as in everything else, the best is always found to be the cheapest in the end. None but the best materials are used. The instruments, of which the Gallery contains a complete set, are of all the best make known in Europe or America. The light is such that by means of screens and curtains it can easily be adapted to any complexion, and furthermore, there is not a modern invention which is of least assistance in furnishing first class work but will be found in use there.” (Delaware Republican.)

 

“Look at this Change of Programme. Maurice Farrington has purchased the well-known Picture Gallery of Byron R. Johnson, in Delhi, and is pleased to announce to Everybody and their friends, that he his prepared, by his Extended Experience, an Excellent Suite of Rooms, and all the Modern Improvements in Apparatus, to execute all kinds of work, from Life-Size Photographs, to the SMALLEST LOCKET, in Better Style, and at Cheaper Rates, than can be had in any Gallery West of New York. Particular attention will be given to Copying and Enlarging pictures of deceased friends; a class of work which can not be done successfully in ANY OTHER GALLERY IN DELAWARE COUNTY. Do not allow the only picture you have a lost friend, to be sent to New York by irresponsible parties, and risk its loss, when you can get better work here, and Twenty-five Per Cent. Cheaper. Call and Examine our Work, you will be convinced that we can accomplish all we advertise. A large assortment of Frames and Albums always on hand. Also, Rang’s Chromos for sale. Remember the place. Fourth door above the Edgerton House, Over Calhoun & Son’s Drug Store.” (The Delaware Republican. January 21, 1871.)

 

Maurice Farrington continued to use the “Johnson Gallery” name for several years. Around 1872 Maurice began to use the name “Farrington’s Photograph Gallery.” Over the following years he would run countless advertisements with the new gallery name in the local newspapers, of which the below are just a few.

 

1872: “Farrington’s (formerly Johnson’s Photograph Gallery), continues to be THE Gallery of Delaware County. No slop shop work turned out – nothing but the best quality of pictures, notwithstanding the “rush.” And what is still more important, customers who sit and pay for pictures, always get them, and that without delay. He challenges a comparison of work with any other gallery in the county.” (Delaware Republican. February 17, 1872.)

 

1872: “A new stock of Stereoscopic views can be found at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery, consisting of Anthony’s Yosemite, Wilson’s Scotch, Bierstadt’s Niagara, and a variety of American and foreign, by less celebrated artists. Also a stock of Delhi views constantly on hand.” (Delaware Republican. May 11, 1872.)

 

1873: “A few reasons why you should patronize Farrington’s Photograph Gallery, over Calhoun’s Drug Store. His rooms and light are decidedly superior to any others in this vicinity. His Instruments are of the very best manufacture. His chemicals are the best in the market, and warranted pure. Pictures made with cheap chemicals invariably fade. Especial care is taken in washing and finishing prints to make them permanent. Pictures not thoroughly washing and carefully finished, never last long. His prices are as low as good work can be afforded. Very cheap work is generally poor work, and to say the least, the merit of cheapness is a questionable one in pictures.” (Delaware Republican. February 15, 1873.)

 

1873: “A fine assortment of picture frames of all kinds may be seen at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery, also pictures of various kinds to fit said frames. Good-looking folks can have their pictures taken cheap for cash; those that don’t look quite so well, same price. Give him a call at his rooms over Calhoun’s Drug Store, (opposite Mitchell & Hunt’s), and leave your measure for a Photograph. You’re sure of a fit every time.” (Delaware Republican. August 30, 1873.)

 

1873: “A new stock of FRAMES, BRACKETS, WALL POCKETS, & c., just received at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery.” (Delaware Gazette. December 31, 1873.)

 

1873: “A fine assortment of picture frames of all kinds may be seen at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery, also pictures of various kinds to fit said frames. Good-looking folks can have their pictures taken cheap for cash; those that don’t look quite so well, same price. Give him a call at his rooms over Calhoun’s Drug Store, (opposite Mitchell & Hunt’s), and leave your measure for a Photograph. You’re sure of a fit every time.” (Delaware Republican. August 30, 1873.)

 

1874: “The most beautiful crosses in mats and Illuminated Texts ever seen in Delhi, are on exhibition at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery.” (Delaware Gazette. December 16, 1874.)

 

1879: “The cheapest place in Delaware County to buy Picture Frames, is at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery.” (Delaware Republican. May 17, 1879.)

 

1879: “Farrington’s Fresh Supply of Holiday Goods, Picture Frames, Nick Nacks and everything in stock are offered at Bed Rock Prices! Photographs in attractive styles. Pictures of All Kinds Taken, Way Down! Your Inspection Is Invited.” (Delaware Republican. November, 29, 1879.)

 

Farrington’s advertisement. Delaware Republican. December 13, 1879.Farrington’s advertisement. Delaware Republican. December 13, 1879.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi. Farrington’s advertisement. Delaware Republican. December 13, 1879.

 

1881: “Don’t forget to call at Farrington’s Photograph Gallery before you make your Christmas purchases. It will pay you.” (Delaware Gazette. December 21, 1881.)

 

1882: “Keep it in mind that Farrington has on exhibition and for sale at his photograph gallery the finest Holiday Goods in town. He has engravings that will be a joy forever to the possessor, Christmas Cards of all grades, Frames and Albums by the gross, Books for all sizes and ages, besides a thousand other articles suitable for holiday presents. Call and look them over.” (Delaware Gazette. December 13, 1882.)

 

1885: “Farrington has an enormous stock of Cabinet Frames of all grades, from a 15 cent velvet to the most elegant bronze and plush.” (Delaware Gazette. December 9, 1885.)

 

1887: “It is pretty evident from the superior finish of Farrington’s Photos, that his retoucher is not excelled anywhere, and yet his prices are low enough for the hardest of times – Cabinets only 3.00 per doz.” (Delaware Gazette. May 18, 1887.)

 

1887: “Farrington has on exhibition a fine life size photograph of the late Dr. Ira Wilcox, made upon what is known as “Permanent Bromide Paper.” “Permanent Bromide” photographs are of quite recent introduction, but their superiority, especially in permanence, having no tendency to fade, and the fact that they are comparatively inexpensive, would indicate that they will supersede all other styles of large photographs. Mr. Farrington is prepared to furnish large Bromide prints at moderate prices.” (Delaware Gazette. May 25, 1887.)

 

1887: “Call at Farrington’s Gallery and examine some of the finest specimens of the Photography to be seen this side of New York. Also remember that his prices are lowest. Large work furnished at figures that will astonish you.” (Delaware Republican. 1887.)

 

1887: “For the next 30 days parties sitting for cabinet photographs at Farrington’s gallery and ordering not less than a dozen, will have one framed in a fine silk plush cabinet frame without extra charge. All work of the finest quality while prices are the lowest in this vicinity.” (Delaware Republican. July 16, 1887.)

 

1888: “Farrington, the leading photographer of Delaware county, has just received a fresh stock of Photo Albums and Frames which will be sold at prices below those at which the same quality of goods have ever before been offered in Delhi.” (Delaware Gazette. October 24, 1888.)

 

~1889: “Farrington’s large operating room with its broad sky light and wide side light is just the place for babies’ pictures. He catches them “Quicker’n a wink.” (Delaware Republican. ~1886-1889.)

 

1891: “Hello, George! Where did you get that splendid Photo?”

“At Farrington’s.”

“Why, some one said his work was cheap.”

“Oh, well that’s the old cry of ‘stale fish,’ always resorted to by the man that’s undersold. Fact is, Farrington always has made the finest work to be had in town, and is doing it to-day.” (Delaware Gazette. September 9, 1891.)

 

Portrait of a Young Lady by Maurice FarringtonPortrait of a Young Lady by Maurice FarringtonPortrait of a Young Lady. Maurice Farrington, Delhi, N.Y. Author’s collection.

Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

Portrait of a Young Lady. Maurice Farrington, Delhi, N.Y. Author’s collection.

 

Portrait of a Young Lady, Seated by Maurice FarringtonPortrait of a Young Lady, Seated by Maurice FarringtonPortrait of a Young Lady, Seated. Maurice Farrington, Delhi, N.Y. Author’s collection.

Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.
Portrait of a Young Lady, Seated. Maurice Farrington, Delhi, N.Y. Author’s collection.

 

In the 1880s Maurice broadened his businesses to include being a “Bookseller” and subscription agent. He would act as the agent for the sale of certain books at the village of Delhi. Also, one advertisement stated that Maurice represented over 2,500 newspapers and magazines. “Subscription agent. The undersigned has a list of abut 2500 newspaper and Magazines, for which he will receive subscriptions at or below the publisher’s price. Those wishing to subscribe or to renew will find it to their advantage to apply for terms to M. Farrington, Photographer and Bookseller, Delhi, N.Y.” (Delaware Gazette. December 2, 1885.) In addition, Farrington was Delhi agent for the firm of J. B. Alden, “the noted Publisher of cheap, standard literature, 393 Pearl Street, New York.” (Delaware Republican. December 19, 1886.)

 

Maurice Farrington. 1875 United States Census.Maurice Farrington. 1875 United States Census.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi. Maurice Farrington. 1875 United States Census.

 

Maurice Farrington. 1880 United States Census.Maurice Farrington. 1880 United States Census.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi. Maurice Farrington. 1880 United States Census.

 

Around 1886 Maurice Farrington, in addition to his photography business, entered the drug store business. “Dr. John Calhoun has sold the stock of goods in his drug store and rented his store to Maurice Farrington for a term of five years. The doctor will keep his office in the store and assist in conducting the business.” (Delaware Republican. ~1886.)

According to W. W. Munsell in his History of Delaware County, N.Y., John Calhoun was an influential member of the Delhi community. “DR. JOHN CALHOUN was born in 1819, in Scotland, and in 1834 came to America, settling at Bovina with his parents. In 1841 he commenced the study of medicine at Andes with Dr. Peake; in 1844 was admitted, and practiced there two years, then in Bovina until 1865, when he was elected sheriff of the county of Delaware. At the expiration of his term of office in 1868, he resumed his practice and opened a drug store in Delhi, the firm name being J. Calhoun & Son. The son, J. D. Calhoun, died suddenly on Christmas, 1878. Mr. Calhoun married Jane Davis, of Andes, in 1845. He has been prominent in the history of the county.” (History of Delaware County, N.Y. New York: W. W. Munsell & Co., 1880. p. 167.) Dr. John Calhoun died on April 20, 1893, leaving behind his wife and daughter.

 

Frank Farrington, son of photographer Maurice FarringtonFrank Farrington, son of photographer Maurice FarringtonMaurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi. Frank Farrington holding Profitable Storekeeping. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.

 

By 1891 Maurice had been occupying the Dr. Calhoun Drug Store for quite some time. That year he purchased the building from J. S. Page for $3,500. His son, Frank Farrington, helped his father manage the drug store, later purchasing the business from him. Frank would later author in 1914 a book titled Making a Drug Store Pay about his experiences managing the drug store with his father. Below is a small excerpt of his experiences.

 

“I hadn’t really any time to think whether I wanted to be a druggist or not. I was not asked. And anyway I don’t remember that I cared particularly. There was no money to send me to college, and I didn’t see why I couldn’t have a pretty good time working at the drug business – for my father.

Father did not stay in the store. He had other work. A nice old physician [Calhoun] who was also a druggist because he had been in the business when the pharmacy law was first passed, made the store his office, and he and I ran or tried to run the business – except the buying, which was done by my father, with our recommendations.

You know what kind of a store this was – old-fashioned front with small panes of glass – wooden steps and platform clear across the front, making a first-class place for idlers to idle – dingy paint and paper inside – showcases on one side with tops that lifted up to give entrance – showcases on the other side that had been nickel-plated in their day – prescription desk that was possessed of a pair of scales sensitive to a grain or two (sometimes, depending upon the weather) – weights that weighted what they were marked, more or less – running water only in the cellar. Reached by a trap-door through the floor back of the counter.

There was no awning. It wasn’t needed, because there was nothing in the windows that the sunlight would injure, and then, anyway, awnings cost money, and that store had not had any money spent upon it in many a moon.

The inventory showed a stock of about $1,500, much of which was as unsalable as last year’s birds’ nests.

For a few years we hung on without creating any great commotion in local business circles. There were three other drug stores; and the population of the town was (and is) less than 2,000. Some days we did as much as three dollars in cash receipts. We didn’t do any credit business, and it was big day when the sales ran up to fifteen dollars . . . .

It was not long after this that my father’s financial affairs assumed a stormy aspect, and since the plan was for me to take the business as soon as I could swing it, it was then decided that the sooner I took it, the better. It was turned over to me for an inventory of about $2,000, and I assumed obligations of my father’s to the amount paid for the business.” (Farrington, Frank. Making a Drug Store Pay. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1914. Pages 8-9.)

 

Frank would eventually sell the drug store business to P. B. Merrill and W. A. Humphries. The partnership of Pierre “Pete” Merrill (1880-1975) and William A. Humphries took over the drug store on May 2, 1911. Humphries was a graduate of the Albany College of Pharmacy while Merrill graduated from the Buffalo College of Pharmacy. Both of them had worked at Farrington’s Drug Store for several years before taking over the business. In 1928 the partnership dissolved as Humphries began work at an insurance company, with Merrill continuing as the sole proprietor. Merrill continued to operate the store for decades, eventually selling the business in 1956 to Marc Guy, but continued to assist at the store until the 1960s.

 

Vintage postcard by Merrill and Humphries of the Delaware River below Sherwood’s Bridge in Delhi, New York.Below Sherwood’s Bridge, Delhi, N.Y.Sherwood’s Bridge crosses the West Branch of the Delaware River on Sherwood Road in the town of Delhi, New York. According to the history of the county “The first church in the town of Delhi stood just below Sherwood’s bridge on the opposite side of the river, and was built in 1811.”

The postcard was published by Merrill & Humphries of Delhi, New York. The postmark on the reverse side shows that it was mailed in 1919.
Below Sherwood's Bridge, Delhi, N.Y. Postmark 1919. Published by Merrill & Humphries. Author’s collection.

 

Vintage postcard depicting a scenic spot along the Delaware River in Delhi, New York published by the partnership of Merrill & Humphries.Delaware River, Delhi, N.Y.This vintage postcard depicting a scenic spot along the Delaware River in Delhi, New York was published by the partnership of Merrill & Humphries. The postmark on the reverse side shows that the postcard was mailed in 1922. Delaware River, Delhi, N.Y. Postmark 1922. Published by Merrill & Humphries. Author’s collection.
 

In 1890 the staff of the Delaware Gazette, the local newspaper, praised Farrington’s recent photographic work. “A few days ago a photograph of J. A. Parshall was placed over the door heading into the composing room of the Gazette, through which for nearly fifty-two years he had daily passed to and from his accustomed labor. The photograph was taken by Mr. Farrington, and is conceded by those who have seen it to be one of his best.” (Delaware Gazette. July 2, 1890.)

Many years, including 1906 and 1908, Maurice would travel to New York City to attend the annual convention of the New York State Photographers’ Association.

The Delaware County Historical Association maintains a collection of photos and negatives and other materials related to Maurice and his son Frank. In addition, the New York Heritage website (www.nyheritage.org) maintains the Farrington Photograph Collection, which contains 73 photographs from the Farrington family, some possibly taken by Maurice, but many more likely taken by Frank Farrington or others in the family. Occasionally some of Maurice Farrington’s work can be found available for purchase on eBay.

 

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York.Maurice Farrington was a skilled photographer who operated a prestigious gallery in the village of Delhi in Delaware County, New York for nearly 50 years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and later owned and operated Farrington’s Drug Store at Delhi.

Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.
Farrington Drug Store, Main Street, Delhi, New York. Delaware County Historical Association, Farrington Photograph Collection.

 

Edward S. Frisbee in his genealogy study of the Frisbee family wrote glowingly of Maurice and his contributions to the village and the Delhi community at large. “After establishing himself in business in the village, he lived for several years on the homestead at East Delhi, and was a great power for good in that neighborhood, especially among the young people. Gifted with a fine tenor voice and having a good knowledge of music, he was an acceptable conductor of singing schools in various parts of the county. He was a zealous worker in the union Sunday School at East Delhi, taught the Bible class, and to the great joy of the children, introduced the first Christmas tree in that section. The influence of his work still lives there, and his memory is precious to those who were associated with him.

In his early years he joined the Second Presbyterian Church, of this village, was active in its work, and at his death he had been an elder of the Church for more than twenty years. He was one of the founders of the Zeta Phi, a literary society which was long maintained and in which he was prominent as one of its most active workers. He was one of the oldest members of the Delhi Lodge of Freemasons, his connection with it dating from 1868. He was Master of the Lodge in 1883-84, and for more than ten years previous to his death he was its Historian.

Sterling integrity, faithfulness to his friends, and loyalty to his Church were conspicuous traits in Mr. Farrington’s character, and the quiet strength of his noble life remains as a benediction to his friends.” (Frisbee, Edward S. The Frisbee-Frisbie Genealogy. Rutland, Vermont: The Tuttle Company, 1926. p. 442-443.)

In 1912 Maurice “had an unfortunate fall after which he was quite lame, but as soon as he was able he went to his studio and continued to do so until last week.” (Delaware Gazette.” October 28, 1914.) In 1914 he was again in poor health. “For the past two years he had been in feeble health, the result of a fall which, though disabling, did not entirely prevent attention to his business. A few days ago he had an attack of acute indigestion from which he was not able to rally.” (Frisbee, Edward S. The Frisbee-Frisbie Genealogy. Rutland, Vermont: The Tuttle Company, 1926. p. 442-443.)

Maurice Farrington died at 77 years of age on October 26, 1914 at Delhi, New York. Upon his passing he was described as “one of Delhi’s oldest and best citizens.” (Delaware Gazette. October 28, 1914.) Frances E. Farrington passed away in 1922. They are, along with their two children Frank and Pauline, buried at Woodland Cemetery in Delhi.

 

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If you should have any additional information, comments or corrections about the photographer Maurice Farrington please add a comment to this page, or send me an email using the contact page. Where possible, please include any available references. Thank you. 

 


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