DeVan Family History and Genealogy

Photographs from Glass Negatives

Circa 1885 - 1910

Going Back In Time

These black and white photos were made from plate glass negatives taken by someone in the family. At first I thought it was Grandfather Furnace "Ferny" DeVan. Most of these photos were taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s. After closer inspection of the photos, and a little research, I realized that Ferny would have been about 13 or 14 and most likely not the photographer of the early photos. Erastus' wife, Ruth, was the artist and most likely took the early photos.

The glass negatives came as quite a surprise to me on a visit to my Aunt's house in Ohio. Out of the blue, she said she had them and offered them to me, along with a few more precious old family photos. I had no idea the glass negatives even existed. They are not in good condition, as they have not been stored properly. Who would know unless they did research on glass negatives.

Covered bridges are cherished in Ashtabula County, there's even a covered bridge festival every October. There are currently 16 covered bridges and number 17 is being built. In the 19th century there were as many as 60 covered bridges in the county. There are eight photos of covered bridges in this group of photographs.

The file size of black and white photos is much larger than an equivalent color photo and it's very difficult to get them down to a small size for dial-up modem users and still maintain the fidelity of the original negative. I apologise for that, but there's not much I can do and still maintain a decent photo. The thumbnails should come up quickly, but, if you are on dial-up, allow about 30 seconds for the photos to appear after clicking the thumbnail.

Click on a photo to see a larger image. Close the window to return to this page.

Barn & Young Girl. Look closely and you can see trees or shrubs growing in the straw piled on the roof of the barn.


Woman and Log Cabin. This little cabin was on the DeVan property in Rock Creek and was probably used to make maple sugar. The woman's identy is unknown at this time.
Shaffer Road (Rock Creek) Mill. The Shaffer Road covered bridge would be on the right.
Shaffer Road Covered Bridge. Notice the dam under the bridge.
Riverdale Road Covered Bridge, less than a mile from the old DeVan farm. The DeVan Family horses and carriage with either Erastus N. or Edwin N. DeVan at the reins.

Covered Bridge, location unknown. Great grandfather Edwin N. and great-great grandfather Erastus N. DeVan leaning on the fence. This photo was taken before May 1891; Edwin would be about 62 and Erastus would be about 85.
Trumbul Covered Bridge on Mechanicsville Road, west of Rock Creek. This bridge was removed around 1949.
Covered Bridge, location unknown.



Two-lane Covered Bridge on Center Road (now Route 45) south of Rock Creek.
Left photo is south end of the bridge looking north toward Rock Creek. Right photo is north end of bridge.
The only two-lane covered bridge in the county, it was removed in 1949.
There are very few two-lane covered bridges in use in the U.S. today.

In 1981, Aunt Genevieve was commissioned to paint a mural of this bridge on the side of a store in Rock Creek. The painting measures 8 X 32 feet.
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Covered Bridge & Farm. Location unknown. This glass negative was cracked and severely damaged.
This is probably downtown Rock Creek around the turn of the 19th century.
The General Store. Location is probably near downtown Rock Creek. Morgan Township Farmers Gathering Hay.


Two photos of the same store taken at different times.
The upper right corner of the left negative was broken off, and there is a piece of celophane tape running diagonally through the building holding the two remaining pieces together. Notice the broken windows in the left photo and the window is completely missing in the right photo. The Gold Medal Flour sign has been replaced with a different sign.
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A Reeves Steam Tractor. Versions of this tractor can pull
a sixteen-blade plow. This tractor was built around 1910
and helps date the photos.