Museum-Sarah Filson's Scrapbook

Museum Gift Shop

 Of Old Citizen Of Steubenville, Ohio. Photographs by Davison Filson



"Davison Filson, deceased, for many years was a prominent factor in the business life of Steubenville, O., and for a long period was the senior member of the photographic firm of Filson & Son. Mr. Fiison was born June 5, 1829, in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and died March 8, 1899. His parents were Robert and Elizabeth (Snyder) Filson.

Davison Filson was sixteen years old when he accompanied his parents from Franklin County to Monongahela City, where he remained although they, in 1843, moved to Freedom, Beaver County. He learned the carpenter's trade at Monongahela City and worked there and at Port Perry until 1851, when he returned to Steubenville, which place he always afterward considered his home although he was not a continuous resident. He learned the painting trade and conducted a book and periodical store until about 1863 when he became interested in photography. His artistic temperament united to careful attention to the details of this profession speedily brought him to the front until his studio soon became the leading one in the city. Those were the days of the old "wet plate," when every photographer had to prepare his own negatives in which Mr. Filson soon became an expert. Owing to this system it was difficult to carry on outdoor photography, but notwithstanding this Mr. Filson has enriched the community with many historic views which but for him would have been lost. One feature of his collection was the 1,200 portraits of former citizens printed elsewhere in this volume whose value is simply inestimable. During 1867, 1881 and 1882 Mr. Filson was engaged in the far west where he studied and practiced photographic work amid nature's grandest scenery, gathering and utilizing new ideas which made his studio a desirable resort both for the artist and the layman. Naturally of a modest disposition, Mr. Filson did not seek public preferment, but was chosen by his fellow citizens to serve as member of the City Council and Board of Education. While a member of the latter body he prepared a history of the local schools which has ever since been recognized as authority. Mr. Filson was a charter member of the Wells Historical Society, and was its first and only president, holding that position at the date of his death on March 8, 1899. He was a member and liberal supporter of the Second Presbyterian Church, and a Republican in politics.

On March 25, 1852, Mr. Filson was married to Miss Martha Ann Filson, who was born at Steubenville, June 20, 1831, daughter of Samuel and Anna (Starr) Filson, and resides at No. 534 South Fourth Street. The four children born to the above marriage were: Antia, Sarah, Mary S., and Charles P. The last named, only son of Davison Filson, was born August 9, 1860. He received his education in the city schools, and while quite a small boy developed an artistic temperament beyond his years, sketching from nature with ease and accuracy, and giving evidence that he would be able to take up his father's work and carry it to greater perfection, which indications were more than realized. In 1883 he became associated with his father as partner, having previously done considerable work in his profession. The taste and skill of these two soon extended the reputation of the studio far beyond the city limits, a reputation which it has ever since maintained.  "

(20th Century History of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, by Joseph B. Doyle. Richmond-Arnold Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910)


The photographs in this album appear to be unmounted cartes de visite.  They depict a large number of the citizens of Steubenville, Ohio circa 1860's.  Many of them are straight portraits.  Howver, some of them are much more interesting and deserve to be looked at  more carefully. 



Inscription on the inside front cover


                                                                                                        S. Filson


  Portraits 1-14



  Portraits 15-24


Portraits 25-37


Portraits 38-47


 Portraits 48-54


 Portraits 55-59



 Portraits 60-68


 Portraits 69-83


 Portraits 84-98


 Portraits 99-114


 Portraits 115-121


Davison  Filson and Family at piano  and 
Davison  Filson

Davison  Filson and Family

A group of 5 loose silver print photographs probably printed from earlier negatives by
Charles P. Filson. Identified on the verso.


Centennial celebration Steubenville Ohio



Decorations by C. P. Filson


Unveiling of Stanton monument
Steubenville Ohio.  September, 1911


Davison Filson at home So. 4th St.
Steubenville Ohio


Davison Filson in Masonic garb


Museum Gift Shop