Mystery Monday: The Railway Men of Orizaba, Part 1

The photograph above, taken at the Lucio Díaz Studio in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico, is identified as an “Instant Portrait.”

Who are these men?

This cabinet card photograph is part of a larger collection of “mystery pictures” that belonged to my great-great grandmother, Catherine (O’Grady) Perrotin.

From the date on the back, it appears she received the photograph while living in Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico, perhaps as she was preparing to move to England in 1895 to join her daughter, and son-in-law, Maria Dolores and Timothy Bennett.  At that time, she would have been about 53 years old.  Of course, it is also possible that the picture was sent to her after she arrived in England.   It was taken in Orizaba, at the Lucio Díaz studio.

The men appear to have been friends or co-workers of my great-great grandfather, Charles Jacques François (“François”) Perrotin, who was a mechanic for Ferrocarriles Mexicanos, the Mexican Railway System, at Orizaba Station. (François died in Orizaba on May 25, 1891, of meningitis.) Timothy Bennett, Maria Dolores’s husband, also worked for Ferrocarriles Mexicanos as a train engineer.  They appear to be either American or European, perhaps British, French or Irish.  This is especially plausible, given that these groups engineered and built the Mexican Railway line from Veracruz to Mexico City.

The two gentlemen pictured above appear to be dressed in conductors’ uniforms, wearing ties, pocket watches, and pinstripe suits.   The bowler hats they are wearing would suggest that these are not their official portraits, as they would be wearing conductor’s caps instead.  There is no identification or dedication on the back of the card, except for the name of the photography studio.

If anyone reading this has any thoughts on the identity of these men or suggestions for where to look next, I’d love to hear them.

Next:  The Railway Men of Orizaba – Part Two

Copyright ©  2012  Linda Huesca Tully

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