St. Paul, Minnesota
Offered for offer is an albumen view of Custer's Camp at Hiddenwood Creek in the Black Hills (Dakota Territory) by Illingworth of St. Paul, Minnesota c. 1874. Depicts a massive encampment of tents and wagons. List of Illingworth's 55 views in the series verso.
The 1874 Black hills Expedition, under the command of Custer, changed the West, by sparking the last gold rush on the continental U.S. and at the same time violating the important Ft. Laramie Treaty with the Sioux. This expedition was one of the better documented western expeditions of this era, with several journals kept by participants and extant filed official reports, five journalists accompanied the expedition and wrote stories on it for Eastern and Mid-Western newspapers and photographer W.H. Illingworth recorded dozens of fascinating images.
William H. Illingworth
William H. Illingworth(1844–1893) was anEnglishphotographer who accompanied both CaptainJames L. Fisk's 1866 expedition to theMontana Territoryand Lt. ColonelGeorge Custer's1874 U.S. military expeditioninto theBlack Hillsof theDakota Territory(now westernSouth Dakota).
William Henry Illingworth was born inLeeds,Englandon 20 September 1844. He immigrated with his parents still a young child. In 1850, his family relocated toSt. Paul, Minnesota, where his father operated a jewelry business. Illingworth helped in the business until he was about 20 years old, when he moved toChicagoto studywet plate photography.
Shortly after Illingworth's return to St. Paul in 1866, he joined Captain James L. Fisk's second expedition to theMontana Territory. Working with photographer, business partner and expedition member George Bill, Illingworth produced 30stereographsfrom this expedition that likely became the basis of a gallery and studio that he and Bill opened the following year in St. Paul. From 1870 to 1873, Illingworth worked as a photographer for railroad construction crews. Sometime in the 1870s, Illingworth and William McLeish formed a partnership calledIllingworth & McLeish, that produced stereographs.
Custer's 1874 expedition to the Black Hills
Probably due to his experience on the second Fisk expedition, Illingworth was selected as photographer to Custer's 1874 military expedition by then-CaptainWilliam Ludlow(referred to as "Col. Ludlow" by journalists covering the expedition, perhaps because he received abrevetduring theCivil War). Ludlow was the Chief Engineer of theDepartment of Dakota, and was in charge of mapping and scientific data collection for the expedition. He provided Illingworth necessary equipment, rations and supplies, and added Illingworth to the civilian payroll as a "teamster", with a salary of $30 per month. In return, Illingworth was expected to provide six sets of his exposed plates to the US Army. The wagon carrying Illingworth's equipment is estimated to have weighed nearly 400lbs (c. 182kg). Illingworth and theU.S. 7th Cavalry Regimentdeparted for the Black Hills on 2 July 1874 fromFort Abraham Lincolnon the west bank of theMissouri River, seven miles south of what is nowMandan, North Dakota, and returned 30 August 1874.
While on the expedition, Illingworth produced about 70 glass plates – 60 of them were landscapes of the Black Hills and portraits of members of the 7th Cavalry. Most of his images are considered to be very well composed from both a technical and artistic perspective.
Captain Ludlow was pleased by Illingworth's work, but after the conclusion of the expedition Illingworth did not provide Ludlow with six sets of plates as promised, instead providing one partial set. In his preliminary report on the expedition published in the 14 September 1874 issue of theNew York Tribune, Ludlow wrote, "the photographer secured negatives for about sixty views, a set of which will accompany the report." Illingworth said that he did not have the time or money to produce the remaining sets of plates, but Ludlow soon discovered that the St. Paul photographic firmHuffington and Winnewas offering complete sets of Illingworth's images of the expedition for sale. Ludlow sued Illingworth for embezzlement. When Illingworth escaped conviction on a legal technicality, Ludlow requested that the War Department press charges. The matter was eventually dropped, and the negatives remained in Illingworth's possession until his death.
Personal life and later years
Illingworth was widowed twice and his third wife divorced him in 1888. Alone, an alcoholic and in poor health, Illingworth committed suicide with his hunting rifle on 16 March 1893.
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