Sunday, May 24, 2009

Portus Frank Winter - A Doughboy

This photograph of Portus Winter is another I collected while vacationing in Montana. The photograph was almost perfect, contained a handsome young man in a World War I uniform, and a beautiful background. The work of the photographer was excellent. It called to me. Now read what I've discovered about the photograph and its photographer.

Today, Memorial Day, Shades profiles two photographs of two men. Young Portus Winter, a doughboy in World War I; and the photographer, F.O. Lindquist, who took Winter's portrait and served in the Spanish American War. Both men answered the call to serve their country, each in a different time, in a different conflict.

The photograph of Portus Winter contains a notation with his name "summer of 1917." Winter wears the World War I uniform of an infantryman, commonly referred to as a doughboy.

The term doughboy is used most often in relation to World War I, but the term has it roots in the Civil War. There have been three scenarios concerning the origin of the word, but the explanation by Elizabeth Custer seems to fit the time and spirit of the word. Elizabeth Custer was the wife of General George Armstrong Custer. In 1887 she recounted her understanding of the origin of the word "doughboy." As she understood it, “A ‘doughboy’ is a small round doughnut served to sailors on shipboard, generally with hash. Early in the Civil War the term was applied to the large globular brass buttons on the infantry uniform, from which it passed, by a natural transition, to the infantrymen themselves.”

General George Custer & his wife Elizabeth

You can see from the photograph of the Civil War infantryman that the brass buttons he wore were indeed large and globular.

Doughboy Buttons
Pvt. Charles Mitchel, Company D, 107th New York Volunteers

Portus Winter was born 15 Sep 1898, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the son of Robert I. and Lottie Winter. Robert was a railroad agent and Lottie kept the home and cared for Portus and his two younger sisters, Ethel and Margaret.

It appears that sometime prior to the summer of 1917 Portus joined the Wisconsin National Guard. By proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson, the members of the Wisconsin National Guard were drafted into the military service of the United States, on July 3, 1917. The inset of this photograph shows Winter wearing the dull bronze collar insignia of the Wisconsin National Guard, which has not yet been replaced by the United States insignia. Winter is holding a Campaign hat with cording, that as an infantryman, was probably light blue in color. His is wearing fawn colored cloth spats worn over dark low cut shoes.

Campaign Hat & Spats

At the end of the war, Winter returns to live with his family in Wisconsin and is recorded as living in the family home in the 1920 census. Approximately a year after this census, Portus marries Bernice Christine Rudie. Bernice was born 6 August 1900 in Sisseton, South Dakota, the daughter of Knudt Nelson Rudie and Millie Augusta Hegge. Knudt was a minister of the Lutheran Church in Roberts, South Dakota, in 1910. How Portus and Bernice met is unknown.

1930, finds Portus' parents still living in Wisconsin, but both Portus and Ethel are gone from the family home. Margaret is still living with her parents and two young children have been added to the home, Robert R. (8) and Vivien M. (6). The census lists young Robert Winter's Mother as Margaret. I believe this is incorrect as Robert's mother was born in South Dakota. Margaret was born in Wisconsin. I believe Robert and Vivian are the children of Portus and Bernice who are homesteading in the Swan Valley near Missoula, Montana.

Portus and Bernice are lodgers in the home of Annie Graham who takes in lodgers in Missoula, Montana. Portus lists his occupation as owning a dude ranch and Bernice is a teacher in the Government School.

Bernice dies in Missoula 5 July 1985. Portus died April 1979 in Bernalillo, New Mexico. It is unknown if both Bernice and Portus moved to New Mexico and Bernice returned to Missoula after his death or if Portus went to New Mexico alone.

This photograph of Portus Winter was taken in the summer of 1917 by F.O. Lindquist of Superior, Wisconsin. Superior, attracted Lindquist in 1889 when he was just a lad. He went into the drygoods business as a means of livelihood, and for five years he made it the school of his commercial training. His natural artistic bent then led him to take up photography under the tutelage of E. C. Berryman, ex-president of the Photographers' Association of Wisconsin, and shortly afterward he was entrusted by Mr. Berryman with the management of one of his branch studios where he met with success. This connection was brought to an end to take up his duty for his country, when in 1898 he enlisted to go to the Spanish-American war.

His knowledge of photography, while his regiment was stationed in Porto Rico (sic), enabled him to preserve some very interesting experiences in the shape of lantern slides, which he used in connection with frequent lectures he gave for the benefit of his townspeople. Notwithstanding this, he never neglected the ground floor photographic studio where he conducted business successfully for sixteen years at the time of Portus' photograph. His progressiveness and alertness showed a forward stride from year to year in both his workmanship and equipment. He always kept pace with new improvements and processes.



Sources:

Books:

Ansco Company. Portrait, Binghamton, N.Y. : Ansco Co. 1914.

Hogg, Richard M., Norman Francis Blake, John Algeo, Roger Lass, Suzanne Romaine, R. W. Burchfield.
The Cambridge History of the English Language. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. 2001.

O'Donnol, Shirley Miles.
American Costume, 1915-1970. Bloomington : Indiana University Press. 1989.

Wigmore, John Henry. United States.
War Dept. Committee on Education and Special Training. St. Paul, Minn. : West Pub. Co. 1919.

Census:

1910 U.S. census, Menomonie Ward 2, Wisconsin, population schedule, Dunn, p. 6a, dwelling 113 , family 120, Robert I. Winter (Head); digital images. Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/ : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1,178.

1910 U.S. census, Menomonie Ward 2, South Dakota, population schedule, Roberts, p. 6a, dwelling 113 , family 120, Knudt Nelson Rudie (Head); digital images. Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/ : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1,178.

1920 U.S. census, Menomonie Ward 2, Wisconsin, population schedule, Dunn, p. 8b, dwelling 178 , family 207, Robert I. Winter (Head); digital images. Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/ : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 2,076.

1930 U.S. census, Menomonie Ward 2, Wisconsin, population schedule, Dunn, p. 7a, dwelling 150 , family 167, Robert I. Winter (Head); digital images. Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/ : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2,667.

1930 U.S. census, Missoula County, Montana, population schedule, Missoula, p. 4a, dwelling 69 , family 92, Annie Graham (Head); digital images. Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/ : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2,667.

Vital Records:

South Dakota. Department of Health. "Births, 1856-1903." Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2009.

United States. Social Security Administration. "Social Security Death Index." Database. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2009.
Entry for Portus Frank Winter, no. 516-18-9837.

Photographs:


Portus Frank Winter. F.O. Lindquist. Card Mounted Photograph. 1917. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

General George Custer and Wife. Anonymous. Glass Negative. ca. 1860 - 1865. Digital Collections : Prints and Photographs. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/index.html : 2009.

Portrait of Pvt. Charles Mitchel, Company D, 107th New York Volunteers, U.S.A.
Brady National Art Gallery. Washington, D. C. Carte De Visite. ca. 1860 - 1865. Digital Collections : Prints and Photographs. Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/index.html : 2009.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sheri said...

Excellent research fM and a great story told as only you can!

May 28, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

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