Alfred Wurts Tice – Ellenville, NY Photographer

July 22, 2023  •  Leave a Comment



Alfred Wurts Tice (1829-1909) was a popular photographer at the village of Ellenville in Ulster County, New York for nearly two decades from the early-to-mid 1860s to the early 1880s. In 1881 Tice left Ellenville to open a photograph gallery at Corry, Pennsylvania. He returned to Ellenville in 1895 and worked as an assistant in the gallery of A. V. Porter. Tice passed away in 1909.


Portrait, Young Boy_Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYPortrait, Young Boy_Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NY


Logo, Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYLogo, Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NY




Alfred Wurts Tice was born on October 19, 1829 at Phillipsport, New York. He was the son of John Tice and Huldah (Gumaer) Tice.


The name Tice can be traced back to the earliest days of the country. It “is of Dutch origin, and in the early records of New York appears in many forms, such as Tys, Tysz, Thys, Thysen, Thyssen. There seem to have been two persons called Claes Thyssen in New York City, each having a child baptized there in 1654. Garret Thyssen had a child baptized in New York in 1665, and Anthony in 1682. There was a Jan Thyssen Buys in New York in 1684. It is possible that the child baptized in that year was his first born in America.”[1]


John Tice, Senior, Alfred’s grandfather, was baptized in Montgomery, New York on February 14, 1767. From Orange County, he went to Mamakating, near Phillipsport, in Sullivan County, New York, in 1799. He died on September 3, 1849.


“John Tice was a son of Joseph Henry Tice, who came from Germany and settled near Montgomery in Orange County about 1735. His father started with him to America, but died on the way and was buried in the ocean. Joseph Henry Tice was the ancestor of the family of that name in this part of the country. John Tice married Sally, a daughter of David Horton of Mamakating, and lived near the northerly end of the village of Phillipsport, near the old house on the westerly side of the valley road having a basement partly in the bank to its rear, and more recently known as the VanBuren house. Philip Tice, a brother of John, also settled in Mamakating about the same time as his brother, and married Phebe, another daughter of David Horton. To the former were born eight children, all of whom grew up to be men and women; to the latter were born twelve children; and Methodism has run through both families down to the present generation . . .


In the second year of the present century Mrs. Sally Tice was converted at one of the local meetings, and shortly afterward her husband, John Tice, was also soundly converted. They both joined the Methodist society at that place, though David Horton, the father of Mrs. Tice, being a Baptist and strongly attached to that organization, vehemently objected. In regular German fashion, John Tice and his wife accepted Christianity as a great truth, and immediately began to put it in practice. Ever afterward their house was consecrated to the Lord, and became a rallying point for Methodism.”[2]


John Tice, Junior, Alfred’s father, was born on October 21, 1804 and passed away on December 24, 1853. John “conducted a large general store at Phillipsport for many years, and also engaged in farming. He was an active member of the Methodist church. He married Huldah Gumaer, who was undoubtedly a descendent of the old family of that name at Port Jervis.”[3] Huldah, Alfred’s mother, was born on July 30, 1806 and passed away on August 22, 1868.


Alfred was the oldest of John and Huldah’s four children. Alfred’s siblings included Wickham, born December 2, 1831; Margaret, born January 13, 1834, wife of Gouverneur Nickerson; and Helen (Ellen), born on August 17 (19?), 1843, married Wesley Holmes. John and Huldah are buried at the Chester A. Stanton Memorial Cemetery in Wurtsboro, New York.


During his youth Alfred was educated in the public schools at Phillipsport.


The 1850 United States census showed Tice residing at the town of Mamakating in Sullivan County, New York. Alfred was living in the household of his parents John and Huldah. John and Wickham, Alfred’s brother, were listed with an occupation of farmer. Alfred was listed with an occupation of blacksmith.


Alfred was first married to Louisa ----, who was born on November 6, 1828(9) and died on November 17, 1852. He married a second time on October 1, 1854 to Irene Miller. The ceremony took place at Grahamsville, New York. Irene was born at Grahamsville, New York on April 7, 1825. Irene was the daughter of Joseph S. and Hannah W. Miller. Joseph had come to Grahamsville from Connecticut.


Sometime in the early 1850s Tice went to live at the village of Ellenville. James Strode Elston in The Tice Families In America, puts the year at 1850; while the obituary for Irene (Miller) Tice, Alfred’s wife, stated that the couple moved to Ellenville in 1854 soon after their marriage. In 1857 Alfred built a house at Ellenville which they owned for over 50 years.


Together Alfred and Irene had four children, including Royal, born January 21, 1856, died July 18, 1856; James W., born July 4, 1857, married Jennie ----, and lived in Chicago; John A., born June 29, 1859; and Perry S., born on January 24, 1865.


James W. Tice, Alfred’s son, was for many years a trusted employee of the Standard Watch Company in New York. In 1894 he was transferred to Chicago, where he assumed “the important position of manager of the Western Department. He receives an increased and very handsome salary.”[4] James passed away on January 20, 1936 at Chicago, Illinois.


John Arthur Tice, Alfred’s son, became a prominent member of the Ellenville Community. He passed away on June 25, 1923 after an attack of acute indigestion.


“John A. Tice, Secretary of the Ellenville Savings Bank, is a descendent of ---- Tice, who came to America upon the Mayflower. The descendants of the progenitor of this family are found in Dutchess and Sullivan Counties, from whence our subject’s father came into Ulster, some sixty years ago.


John A. Tice was born at Ellenville, June 29, 1859. He attended the public schools and finished his education at the Wyoming Seminary, of Pennsylvania. After leaving school he was engaged in the jewelry business for a time and later in the shoe business with Burr Eaton. In April, 1883, he accepted a position as bookkeeper in the Savings Bank, where he has since continued and of which he was elected secretary in 1906. Mr. Tice married Miss Harriet I. Hoar, and to them has been born one son, Rodger DuBois Tice. Mr. Tice is a Mason, Knight Templar, President of the Scoresby Hose Company for the past fifteen years, and one of Ellenville’s most influential and trustworthy business men. He is highly regarded by all.”[5]


Perry Schultz Tice, Alfred’s youngest son, died suddenly in June 1917 “while walking along the street on Monday evening, from heart failure. The body has been shipped to Ellenville for funeral and interment.”


“Perry S. Tice was 52 years of age and a son of A. Wurts Tice, one of the old residents of this village. He grew to manhood in this place, was educated in the Ellenville schools, and for quite a number of years was connected with the Ellenville Savings Bank. Upon leaving Ellenville some years ago, Mr. Tice went to Chicago, from there to Houston, Texas, where he has since been employed as a travelling salesman by a firm of that city, selling fire department supplies.


The news of his death came as a great shock to his relatives and many friends in this village, where he has been so well and popularly known. He is survived by two brothers, James Tice, of Chicago, Ill., and John A. Tice, of Ellenville.” [6]


In May 1863 Tice placed an advertisement in the Ellenville Journal for his photography business, which he had taken over from George H. Payne, who, in turn, had taken over from Jonathan Penny. The 37-year-old Penny was listed with an occupation of “artist” on the 1860 United States census. The gallery was located over Corbin’s Drug Street on Canal Street.


“Ambrotypes & Photographs! Having rented and fitted up the PICTURE GALLERY, formerly occupied by George H. Payne, Over Corbin’s Drug Store, Canal St., Ellenville, the subscriber is now ready to take Ambrotypes and Photographs! In the Best Style, and at low prices. His friends and the public are invited to GIVE HIM A TRIAL, as he feels assured that his pictures will prove entirely satisfactory in every respect. Call and See for Yourselves! Remember this place – Over Corbin’s Drug Store, Canal Street. A. W. Tice, Ellenville, May, 1863.”


Tice placed additional advertisements in the local newspaper during the mid-1860s, including the below examples.


January 7, 1865, Ellenville Journal


“Premium Picture Gallery! Ambrotypes, Photographs, Cartes de Visites, produced in a style not excelled anywhere. Call and see specimens. Entrance to Gallery next door to Corbin’s Drug Store. A. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, Dec. 17, 1864.”


September 8, 1866, Ellenville Journal


“A TALL MAN.– Saul, the first Hebrew king, stood “head and shoulders” above all others, and was a splendid specimen of a king and man. So are the Pictures from TICE’S Gallery unrivalled – Don’t be humbugged! Poor pictures are dear at any price! Ambrotypes, Photographs, Porcelain Pictures, Ferrotypes, & c., & c., made in the very best style, on as short notice, and at as low prices as at any other establishment. A perfectly satisfactory picture guaranteed. Don’t be humbugged!”


September 28, 1867, Ellenville Journal


“Photographs, Ambrotypes and Porcelain Pictures at the photograph saloon, over Childs & Smith’s Drug Store, where the subscriber has facilities for making and furnishing Pictures in any style, from a Plain Gem to a Life Size Photograph in Colors, and Prices Ranging Accordingly! Also, copying from small pictures done on reasonable terms. A. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, June 9, 1866.”


Portrait, Middle Aged Woman, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYPortrait, Middle Aged Woman, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NY


Portait, Baby, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenveille, NYPortait, Baby, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenveille, NY


Portrait, Middle Aged Man, Sitting, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYPortrait, Middle Aged Man, Sitting, by Alfred Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NY


The 1870 United States census listed 40-year-old Tice as living in the town of Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York. Also listed in the household was his wife Irene and his three sons, James, John and Perry. Tice was listed with an occupation of photographer.


In addition to his portrait work, Tice issued a series of views under the title “Stereoscopic Views in the Vicinity of Ellenville.” Views included scenery in the village of Ellenville and around the southern edge of the Catskill Mountains.


In June 1871 the Ellenville Journal wrote about some of Tice’s recent photographic work. “Mr. Tice has left on our table a number of handsome stereoscopic views, including the “Neversink River Bridge and Trestle,” “Little Falls and Trestle,” and “Little Falls.” These are very fine pictures, neatly mounted in the usual style for the stereoscope. Mr. Tice is making a view of Honk Falls near Napanoch, and proposes to make a number of others of local interest.”


Tice advertised his business in the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Ulster County, N.Y. for 1871-1872. Included was a graphic advertisement on page 324 and a brief description on page 323.


“A. Wurts Tice, Photographer, Canal Street, Ellenville, N.Y., whose card appears on page 330, is getting out some of the finest pictures to be found in Ulster County. His pictures have a life-like expression, rendering them very desirable. Let those who wish for good pictures, at low prices, give him a call, and he will satisfy the most exacting.


A. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYA. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYPhotographer: A. Wurts Tice
Location: Ellenville, Ulster County, New York
Year: 1871-1872

"A. Wurts Tice. Photographer, Canal Street, Ellenville, N.Y."


The December 13, 1906 issue of the Ellenville Journal wrote of a photograph taken by Tice in 1871, and his following injury.


“A photograph hanging in the office of the Journal editor presents an excellent likeness of Pastor Clarke and each of the officers and teachers of the Ellenville M. E. Sunday School in 1871, when it was taken by A. W. Tice, the figures about thirty in number being grouped on the steps of the Methodist church. The picture, though hanging for thirty-five years, well attests the skill of the artist. By the way, Mr. Tice, who soon afterward lost an eye by a flying chip from a casting in a machine shop, is still able to do fine retouching as assistant to A. V. Porter.”


Below are several additional advertisements placed by Tice in the local newspaper to promote his photograph business.


October 19, 1876, Ellenville, Journal


“A. Wurts Tice, Photographer, Over Corbin’s Drug Store, opposite Liberty Square. Pictures of all kinds and styles; prices according.”


June 22, 1877, Ellenville Journal


“Photographs! Photographs! If you want to get faithful likenesses, artistically finished, cheap, visit the Photographic Studio of A. Wurts Tice, The Ellenville Photographer.


It is not necessary to patronize a “travelling artist,” when an old neighbor and life-long resident of the town can do the work as well. Come and see me.


All kinds of Portraits taken, from Imperials down to Tin Types.


A. WURTS TICE, Canal street, over Meinhold’s store, Ellenville, June 22, 1877.”


Business Imprint, A. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NYBusiness Imprint, A. Wurts Tice, Ellenville, NY


The 1880 United States census listed Tice living in the village of Ellenville, town of Wawarsing, in Ulster County, New York. Also living in the household were his wife Irene and his three sons 22-year-old James, 20-year-old John and 15-year-old Perry. Tice was listed with an occupation of photographer, James as a clerk, John as a clerk in a boot and shoe store and Perry as a clerk in the Savings Bank.


In 1881 Tice left Ellenville to establish a new gallery at the city of Corry in northwestern Pennsylvania. During a return to Ellenville in 1885, “after an absence of three years,” Tice reported that “business shows some signs of brightening up.”[7] Tice operated his photograph gallery at the village of Corry for approximately 15 years.


In 1895 it was reported that “A. Wurts Tice, who has been away from Ellenville for a term of years, most of which time he spent at Corry, Pa., has returned to town, intending to remain here. Mr. and Mrs. Tice will occupy a portion of their dwelling house on Canal street.”[8] He lived at Ellenville for the remainder of his life.


For some time after his return to Ellenville Tice worked as an assistant to A. V. Porter retouching photographs. Albert V. Porter was a popular portrait and landscape photographer at the village of Ellenville in Ulster County, New York. Porter, after many years working at a knife factory, took over the studio of W. S. Davis in the early 1900s and successfully served the Ellenville community for nearly 20 years. By late 1918 Porter faced a significant health challenge in losing his eyesight, and therefore retired from the photography business and sold his studio to Casper Cosenza.


The 1900 United States census listed 70-year-old Tice living in the village of Ellenville in Ulster County, New York. Also in the household was his 74-year-old wife Irene. The census showed that Alfred and Irene had four children, of which three were living. Tice was listed with an occupation of photographer.




Alfred Wurts Tice was a well-respected member of the Ellenville community. “He was an upright, conscientious citizen, respected by all, a member of the Methodist church, and of Wawarsing Lodge, No. 582, of the Masonic fraternity.”[9]


Alfred Wurts Tice passed away after a short illness on February 5, 1909 at Ellenville, New York. He was survived by his wife, to whom he had been married for over 50 years, and three sons, John A. Tice, secretary of the Ellenville Savings Bank, and James and Perry of Chicago. He is buried at Fantinekill Cemetery in Ellenville, New York.


Irene Miller Tice, Alfred’s wife, passed away at her home on September 14, 1910. “Mrs. Tice had been in her usual good health until about ten days ago and not seriously ill since. She passed a good night but at five o’clock called for a drink of water and expired before it could be given her . . . Mrs. Tice was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church and active in its work. For many years she conducted a mission Sunday school at the West End, over the store of Jesse M. Low, which did a great deal of good.”[10]  The funeral services were held at the home of son John A. Tice on Centre Street. Irene Tice is buried with her husband at Fantinekill Cemetery.


[1] Reynolds, Cuyler. Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914. p. 1009.

[2] Gray, John G. History of the Rise and Progress of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Wawarsing and Mamakating Valleys. Ellenville, N.Y.: Charles F. Taylor, 1897. pp. 6-8.

[3] Reynolds, Cuyler. Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914. p. 1010.

[4] Ellenville Journal (Ellenville, New York). August 17, 1894.

[5] Clearwater Alphonso T. The History of Ulster County, New York. Kingston, New York: W. J. Van Deusen, 1907. p. 693.

[6] Middletown Times-Press (Middletown, New York). June 14, 1917.

[7] Ellenville Journal (Ellenville, New York). July 17, 1885.

[8] Ellenville Journal (Ellenville, New York). December 13, 1895.

[9] Reynolds, Cuyler. Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914. p. 1010.

[10] “Local Death Record.” Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York). October 15, 1910.



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