Ensminger Bros.
Ensminger Bros.
Independence, Iowa

Jefferson C. Ensminger  (Born 1845)
J. Madison Ensminger

The Ensminger Brothers had their studio in Independence, Buchanan County, in the 1860s through  the 1890s.  The studio was in Ungerer's Block, No. 3 Main Street.  Jefferson worked with his brother,  Madison, as the Ensminger Brothers.  They were the sons of E. M. Ensminger, an eastern photographer. 

A cabinet photo of Jefferson C. Ensminger, taken by “Mad” (Madison) exists.  In 1870 census, Jefferson was 27 and had been born in Ohio.  In 1880 census, he is listed as 38 with wife, Amanda L. who was 31.   Two children, Fred P., aged 3, and Mary B., aged 1, both born in Iowa. 

The History of Buchanan County, Iowa, 1881, pp. 271–272, provides the following information:  Ensminger Brothers, established about 1870 give special attention to copying and enlarging; three persons constantly employed.  The firm consists of J. E. Ensminger and J. M. Ensminger  and are located in Ungerer's block upstairs.  This enterprising firm engaged in photography in the city  of Independence, consisting of J. C. and J. M. Ensminger, was organized in the year 1870.  The senior  partner, Mr. J. C. Ensminger, was born in Stark County, Ohio, in 1843.  His father being a photographer, he commenced when only a boy, to make himself well acquainted with the business.  When he became a man his  design to become proficient as an artist led him to Cleveland, Newark, and Columbus, Ohio.  Also to New York  City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was connected with some of the finest galleries in the country.    Sparing neither time nor money to make himself master of the photographers are, in all its branches.  In the year 1868, he came to Independence where he has since been engaged in the business. 

Mr. J. C. Ensminger was married in Waterford, Vermont, in 1872, to Miss Amanda Brown.  They have a family  of two children, Freddie and Mary, aged three and five respectively.  Mr. J. M. Ensminger was born in Stark  County, Ohio, in 1845.  He associated himself with his father in the photograph business in Ashland, Ohio,  principally prior to coming to Independence, which was in the year 1870 at which time he and his brother  engaged as partners.  Mr. J. M. Ensminger was married in this county, in 1877, to Miss Alice Anderson, a resident of this county.”  Both brothers are listed in the 1881 Gazetteer as being in Independence.

There are nineteen examples of this photographer's work in the SHSI collection.  NSA reports they used the term “Photographers & Publishers of Stereoviews” and issued local scenery to #61; things such as ice storm scenes, fire of Nov. 1873, numbers 20 before and after, of Ft. Meyers, Florida in the late 1880s, of Jacksonville, 1901.  They moved to Florida from Iowa in 1885.  Sanford, Florida, in 1886 is listed and  Park Ave., Sanford, Florida, in 1900.

Ref:  www.iowahistory.org/archives 2006

Ensminger Bros. Photographs