All Dressed Up with No Place to Go by Sylvia Hott Sonneborn


All Dressed Up with No Place to Go by Sylvia Hott Sonneborn

When my great-great-grandfather Samuel Krise of Centre Hall, Centre County, Pennsylvania, died in 1877 at the age of 73, photography was still in its infancy. Realizing that the family had no photo of the old gent, his family, according to tradition, dressed him up, propped him up, and had a photographer take a final photo. Since Samuel Krise had been a school teacher and farmer by occupation who had regularly dressed in a suit and top hat to go to town, the family chose to dress him in his finest clothing to send him on his final journey. While he was being photographed, it did not matter that exposure time required subjects to sit for a long period of time, for Samuel was a captive audience. 135 years later, his descendants have a cherished photograph of their revered ancestor.

Samuel Krise was born 11 Sept 1804 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, son of Philip Kreis and Anna Catherine Bruch. He moved with his parents to Centre County, PA, where he married Dorothy Padget/Paget of Potter Township, Centre Hall, PA, on 22 January 1836. They had one son – William Andrews Krise.

This handwritten journal entry of my grandfather Warren Samuel Paget Krise documents the movements of the Krise Family:
“About 1846-7 an epidemic of western fever prevailed thru out Center County and having sold stock and implements loaded a two horse covered wagon called in Kansas a prarie schooner motered to Pittsburg where loading goods and teams on a steam boat sailed down the Ohio up the Mississippi rivers to, Savanah thence waggoned across the prarie to Freeport and located near by. After a year’s residence discoureged by sickness and partly because a brother and sister who were to follow them located in Michigan, they decided to return to Penns Valley. Selling their team they returned by boat to Pittsburg. Thence by canal to Lewistown, and located north of Spring Mills and commenced farming again.” [sic].

Samuel died on 20 Mar 1877. He is buried with the Padgets/Pagets in the Centre Hill Presbyterian Cemetery, Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. Whether he was deceased in the only photo that exits of him or merely suffering from the ravages of old age, such as blindness, the photo is still one of my most prized genealogical possessions.

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What a lovely story! Wonderful that this story has been passed down the generations!