Last Sunday, this author had the pleasure of sitting with Kenneth Swank and looking through his family collection of more than 200 old photographs that stretch back 150 years. His great-grandfather, Jacob Swank, married Alice, a daughter of James Bates. The collection encompasses many years of those families and their close relations, including Haucks, Bowsers, Watkinses, Muntzes, Kitches, Yennas, and Ringles.

2017 - Ken Swank
2017 – Ken Swank

We looked up newspaper accounts of those families and paired photos with events to give Ken a new perspective on the people he had identified. Included in the collection is a large and pristine tintype of the Daniel & Eliza Ringle family from about 1869 that is the finest I’ve ever seen. You may have seen Daniel & Eliza’s elaborate monument at the Bremen Cemetery; it’s the one that looks like a barren tree. Daniel Ringle is also the man who once owned the majority of the ground that downtown Bremen came to be built on, so Ken’s family’s history is a big part of our shared history of Bremen.

Ken has graciously loaned the collection to Historic Bremen to digitize. The full collection has been scanned and is available on our Flickr account while it is being researched. Below is a selection.

Thanks, Ken!

Click on any image to view a larger version.

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