I purchased this batch of five photographs at an antique store on The Avenue in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. They’re beautiful portraits and the names match. It doesn’t take much to get me interested.
Let’s start with the following photograph which has on its back the following inscription: Louis Langhirt 12 N. Dallas St., Baltimore, MD. I started with this one because it has the full name and address of its subject.
Next up is a photograph apparently taken the same day as the photograph of Louis. The only difference in the studio setting is that the prop table was swapped out for a chair. The caption on its back appears to say James Langhirt. I think there was some confusion on the part of the person who captioned these photographs. The subject looks like it could actually be Louis’ younger brother John rather than Louis’ older brother Andrew James.
Next is a photograph inscribed John Langhirt. It is obviously earlier than the previous two photographs.
The next one is captioned Bostie Langhirt. It seems that Bostie could be a nickname for Sebastian, the oldest brother.
The final photograph is captioned simply Langhirt. I think this must be the father of the boys, Martin.
Martin S. Langhirt (1853-1940) married Anna Catherine Zeller (1853-1923) in 1878 and they owned 1211 North Dallas Street from 1882 to 1919. The house was purchased for $400 with a ground rent of $25 payable to the previous owner. I suspect Martin’s middle name was Sebastian. Martin was born in Germany to Andreas Langhirt (1805-1869) and Katherina Megner (1819-1893). Anna was born in Maryland to German born parents Adam Joseph Keller (1815-1865) and Barbara Josepha Keller (1821-1866). Martin’s ancestry is fairly well documented by family genealogists but I could not independently confirm a lot of the details. Martin was a tailor early in life. Here is a screenshot of Martin’s immediate family’s entry in the 1884 edition of Wood’s Baltimore City Directory, and bear in mind that the house numbers on Dallas Street changed in 1887:
The given names Andrew, Martin, and Sebastian appear over and over again in the Langhirt family down through the years, and in every imaginable combination.
The five Langhirt brothers were (oldest to youngest):
- Sebastian Peter Langhirt (1881-1941)
- Andrew James Langhirt (1885-1941)
- Frank Charles “Dutch” Langhirt (1887-1975)
- Louis Martin Langhirt (1889-1973)
- John Joseph Langhirt (1892-1971).
Sebastian Peter Langhirt married Blanche Lillian Shelley (1882-1910) in 1906. At his death Sebastian “had been in the Street Cleaning Department for the past five years, having had charge of one of the North Avenue divisions.” His pallbearers were members of the Eutaw Conclave of Improved Order of Heptasophs of which he had been a member for more than ten years. Two of their four children survived infancy; Louis Martin Langhirt (1908-1978) and Martin Sebastian Langhirt, Sr. (1909-1971). Blanche’s death came nine days after the death of her daughter Helen L. Langhirt (1910) who lived only a few days.
Andrew James Langhirt married Minnie Alberta Woody (1883-1963) in 1908 and they had one daughter, Mildred Catherine Langhirt (1909-1972). He held several positions with the Henry B. Gilpin Company, a drug wholesaler. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street.
Frank Charles Langhirt also known as “Dutch,” worked with automobiles all his life, variously described as a mechanic, tow truck driver, and chauffeur. He worked for Walter Scott, “one of Baltimore’s pioneer automobile dealers,” before he opened his own business on East Lexington Street in 1923 offering towing and a “full line of accessories, tires, and lubricating oils.” He married Clara Virginia Cavey (1878-1943) in 1910 then Bessie Victoria Mummert (1906-1974) in circa 1945. He had no children.
Louis M. Langhirt seemed to do some real estate investment in the 1920s and 1930s, but lived with his siblings in later life. He never married.
John Joseph Langhirt married German-born Margaret C. Eckl (1889-1955) whom he met while they were attending St. James Parochial School and married in St. James Church. They had one child, Catherine Muriel Langhirt (1914-2000). After Eckl died he married Helen V. Backus (1907-1988). John retired in 1957 after a 45-year career in the Baltimore transit system that included 25 years as a conductor on the No. 15 streetcar line that traveled Belair Road.
Three of the photographs appear to have been taken on the occasion of the subjects’ First Communion. A visit to the The Archdiocese of Baltimore Archives housed at St. Mary’s Seminary and University would probably yield exact dates of the boys’ first communions and thereby date the photographs. Update: The records for St. James Church are also available online for a price at findmypast.com.
Harry Alexander Plumley (1871-1936) operated the “Balto Photo Co” at 588 North Gay Street in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as a photographic supply company and portrait gallery at 506 West Lexington Street in partnership with George C. Mueller.
Photographicus Baltimorensis, a wonderful blog about “Archeology of Maryland photographers of the 19th and early 20th centuries,” tells us that Julius Christian Friedrich Bernhard Hebbel (1853-1905) operated a photography studio in Baltimore beginning in the late 1870s and that the business continued in his name after his death.
We don’t have photographs of the two girls in the family, but we know stuff about them. Margaret Mary “Maggie” Langhirt (1879-1945) married Peter Faust (1875-1914) in 1900 and they had five children. She married Andrew George Reichert (1870-1949) in 1918. Catherine Anna Langhirt (1883-1935) married Michael Kilian Schellenberger (1879-1924) and they had three children.
An coincidence: Martin and Anna’s children were first cousins to Frank Zeller (1897-1979). I posted about Frank here and about his wife Jenny Kornick (1894-1982) here in July 2017. How’d that work? Martin’s sister Margaret “Maggie” Ursula Langhirt (1860-1941) married Anna’s brother Charles Francis Zeller (1859-1932). Frank’s dad was Louis M. Zeller (1864-1926) who was Anna’s and Charles’ brother.
This was a fun project but I spent too much time on it. There is a lot of genealogy left to do for this family and many interesting things to learn. Here are a couple of newspaper articles of interest: