PORTRAIT OF A TRAIN CONDUCTOR (RAILROAD OF NEW JERSEY)

NJ CONDUCTOR_0001J. C. Sunderlin produced this portrait of a train conductor in full uniform. Sunderlin operated a studio on Main Street in Flemington, New Jersey. The subject of this photograph is wearing a cap that has a plate tag which states “Conductor”. The patches on the lapel of his jacket indicate that he was employed by the “Railroad of New Jersey”. It is likely, but not certain, that this gentleman worked for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. This railway line has its roots in the 1830’s but adopted the Central Railroad name in 1849.  Note this gentleman’s terrific bushy mustache. The photographer, John Corbin Sunderlin was born in 1835 at Fort Anne, New York. His birth name was John Corbin Vorce but his mother died during his infancy and he was adopted at nine years of age. He married Harriet A. Penny in 1855 and the couple had five children. In 1856 he left farming for photography. He became an itinerate photographer and his studio was located on a horse drawn wagon. During the civil war he enlisted in the 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry where he reached the rank of sergeant. His obituary states that he served three years in participated in eight major battles until he was wounded at Fredericksburg. After the war he settled in Fort Edward, New York. While living in Fort Edward he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masons, Odd Fellows, and the New York State Prohibition Party. He worked as a photographer until 1870 when he was ordained by the Methodist Church. In 1880 he left his ministry work and returned to his career in photography. He operated a studio in Flemington until 1902 when he bought a studio in Blairstown, New Jersey from William C. Walters. He remained in Blairstown until his death from pneumonia in 1911.

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