A Goat in the Garden State

livestock-1-detAt one time, Westville, New Jersey and much of South Jersey had farms complete with livestock like the beast above. John B. Capewell who resided in Westville must have been so impressed by this goat that he chased after his camera equipment which was considerably more cumbersome than an Instamatic and exposed a couple of 5 inch x 7 inch glass negatives.

The way the two girls are keeping their distance my guess is that this male goat was pretty feisty. They weren’t going to take any chances.

livestock-1I figured the church in the background would be a pretty good clue as to the location of the shot. I consulted the incomparable Jerseyman. I sent him a couple of JPEGS, and he replied:

The first photo of the goat contains the façade of the Westville Methodist Protestant Church on the corner of Broadway and New Street. The building immediately to the left of the goat with the stone foundation is a storage structure for the Z. Patterson Feed and Building Supplies firm. The photo must date to sometime between 1909 and 1915. In the former year, a shed existed where the goat is shown, but by 1915, the shed had disappeared.

So now we have a place and an approximate time. Thanks, Jerseyman!

Below is the second photo featuring what may be the farmer or at least the goat’s handler who also looks to be exercising caution as he approaches.

livestock-2-detBelow is the entire 5″ x 7″ negative:


About The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

The Capewell Glass Negative Collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my Dad who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.

At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!


This story continues to evolve. Every Thursday, I will post a Capewell picture or two. If you recognize a person or place in one of the shots or just want to drop a line, feel free to comment!

Last: Girl with a Bouquet

This entry was posted in The Capewell Glass Negative Collection and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.