Keziah Whitson Coles’ 1870 photo album brought back to life

keziah coles photos

Here are the 58 individual photos from Keziah Whitson Coles Valentine’s family album, circa 1870. Many of the photos were identified via pencil annotations by Keziah’s granddaughter, Edna Valentine Trapnell. Most of the subjects were born in the late 18th century, or early 19th century in and around Glen Cove, where Keziah was born. They are almost exclusively family, primarily from the Coles or Valentine lines, but also from related lines, such as Griffen, Willets, and Post.

While it’s too bad the inside pages have been mildly defaced, that seems like a preferable alternative to not having any idea who these folks were. Gr-grandma Edna was more concerned with chronicling than preservation, but since this album hadn’t seen the light of day much in at least 50 years, it is still doing well for future generations to appreciate.
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9 thoughts on “Keziah Whitson Coles’ 1870 photo album brought back to life

  1. Thanks so much for sharing these priceless images. I’m from Glen Cove myself, and my paternal grandmother was Mary Gertrude Coles, who was descended from Daniel Coles, one of the original proprietors of Musketa Cove in 1668.

    1. Keziah Whitson Coles was, BTW, the older sister of Isaac Coles, my 2nd great grandfather.

    2. Hugh Byrne says:

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks so much for your note. I scanned and posted this years ago, and have rarely heard from any relations, so I’m glad it was of interest to you.

      Confirming you descend from Isaac Coles (1817 – 1897). I don’t have any info on Mary Gertrude, and would be grateful for any details you can provide on your line. My info on Isaac and descendants is here:

      Have had the pleasure of visiting the history room at the Glen Cove library. In addition to our shared ancestor, Daniel Coles, I also descend from Nathaniel and Robert, providing further evidence Long Island was a tight-knit community in the 18th century.

      1. Hugh: Mary Gerrtrude Coles (she always went by Gertrude) was the only child of Thomas Hewlett Coles + Sallie Emma Pancoast, the daughter of Dr. Seth & Sallie (Osborn) Pancoast of Philadelphia.

        Thomas was the oldest child of Isaac & Mary (Willets) Coles, but he died young (just age 45) for reasons that I have yet to learn. Gertrude and her mother continued to live in the Coles family home at 7 The Place in Glen Cove. I think that Franklin and Oscar Coles were co-equal heads-of-households.

        Robert Reed Coles was the only child of Franklin A & Carolyn (Reed) Coles, so he was my grandmother’s first cousin, and they grew up in the same house.

        My grandmother married Stanley J Donaldson (Sr.), the son of J. Edward + Mary (Nixon) Donaldson of Cincinnati/Ludlow, KY. Edward Donaldson came to Glen Cove as a vice president of the L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company of NYC, the developer of pioneering roller coasters My grandparents rest in the Quaker burial ground at Matinecock Meeting in Locust Valley, Long Island.

        1. Hugh Byrne says:

          Thanks for the info, Gary. I will add it to my data. My data on Thomas is obviously pretty cursory. Fascinating history, and such deep roots you have in Glen Cove, with its rich and beautiful history! I visited the Matinecock Meeting and burial grounds a few years back to look at headstones, as well as Friends Academy, where my grandfather and gr-grandmother both attended (class of 1926 and 1900).

          1. You’re welcome, Hugh. If you don’t have them already, I would recommend the several books by Glen Cove’s Joan Harrison in the “Images of America” series. The first of two books on Glen Cove has several Coles family photos in it, as borrowed from the Robert Reed Coles archive in the G.C. Public Library.

          2. Hugh Byrne says:

            Gary. I do have those books (purchased them from the GC Public library when I visited the Robert Reed Coles archive). Love the photos on your smugmug page — fascinating.

  2. Melissa Fuhrmann says:

    Hello! Thank you for posting these photos! I am descended from Henry Whitson (born ca. 1775) who lived in Lancaster Co., PA and married Barbara Brosey. Our DNA traces back to the Henry Whitson who was on Long Island in the 1600s, but the generations in the middle are a mystery. Do you have any additional information about this Whitson line?

    Thanks again!

    1. Hugh Byrne says:

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for your note. I’ll confess the Whitson’s are one of many gaps in my research data. I went scouring through family notes and found a transcription my gr-grandmother had made from a family bible, which may be of interest, and reflect my Whitson line. I also found Henry Whitson in Hempstead circa 1647, and while the lines are undoubtedly related, my line does not appear to descend directly from him.

      “Copied from the family record in the Bible of Phebe Whitson Cromwell, the copy given me by Miss Phebe Valentine — Edna Valentine Bruce


      Thomas Whitson the first, settled in Bethpage, Long Island m. Martha Jones
      Henry Whitson son of Thomas m. Hannah Powel the 5th of 7th mo 1739
      Henry Whitson son of Henry m. Clemmy Underhill 14th of 8th mo 1774
      Phebe Whitson dau of Henry Jr. m. John Cromwell 18th of 11th mo 1825
      …then follow other marriages of the Whitson family (not included in letter)

      Thomas Whitson 1st was born in England 20th of 7th mo 1652
      His Children:
      Thomas Whitson was b 5th of 7th mo 1689
      Martha Whitson was b 27th of 6th mo 1691
      Ruth Whitson was b 24th of 2nd mo 1694
      John Whitson was b 19th of 2nd mo 1697
      Rebecca Whitson was b 24th of 6th mo 1699
      David Whitson was b 11th of 7th mo 1701
      Henry Whitson was b 21st of 4th mo 1705

      Thomas Whitson the first d. 20th of 8th mo 1742
      Hannah Whitson, wife of Henry d 15th of 8th mo 1787 aged 81 yrs 10 mo 21 da
      Henry Whitson Sr. d. 7th mo 1790 aged 85 yrs
      Kezia Coles dau of Henry W. sr. 7th of 7th mo 1787
      Martha Whitson dau of Henry 2nd d 2nd of 10th mo 1791
      Clemmy (Clemence?) Whitson wife of Henry 2nd d 6 of 10th mo 1809
      Henry Whitson 2nd d. 1st of 11th mo 1810
      Hannah, dau of Henry 1st d. 4th of 10th mo 1823
      Phebe W. Cromwell d 16th of 7th mo 1860 (the first owner & recorder of this bible)
      There are other names and dates but of more recent times”

      Other than that, I don’t have any info immediately at hand.


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