Tin Portrait of the Past Owner of KMS
The KMS Farmstead received a note from Richard Stelle of New York, a direct descendant of the KMS farmstead along with an image of John Stelle; owner of the farmstead and the “S” in KMS farmstead. Below is a note he wrote with the image:
“A portrait of John Stelle (rhymes with bell) (1790-1850), son of Oliver Stelle (1756-1832), owner during his time at the Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead. The original, in my possession, is a tintype. The portrait was taken in 1850, when John Stelle visited his son Jacob Kirkpatrick Stelle in Jerseyville, Illinois in 1850. Several days later, John Stelle died, and was buried in Jerseyville. His wife, Anna Kirkpatrick Stelle (1794-1870), apparently decided to stay in Illinois, and survived another 20 years. We have no picture of Anna.
This copy of the original tin type was made by a professional restorer, and is the best available copy of the tintype, which is about 2″ high and 1 1/2″ across. We decided not to do extensive touch ups for the copy. But as you can see, if you look carefully, there is a certain depth to the portrait, and a definite sense of the hard life John Stelle had lived. But for a 60 year old man, he doesn’t look that bad, in my opinion.
I can trace other Stelle ancestors to the general area of the Stelle Farmstead, including in Perth Amboy, North Plainfield, but as far as I know none that have possessions or items from the time. I can now confirm that the Oliver Stelle and John Stelle who owned this farm are my Great and Great Grandfather’s respectively. The picture of John Stelle that I shared with Mr. Betz, is indeed the same John Stelle.
We will plan to come to visit and will be in contact with you to set up this time. Again, thanks for the work you do to preserve our country’s heritage.”