From my own notes, the following may explain to some of you interested in the subject the origin of the Erb families in question.
Frances Ann “Annie” Heustis, the daughter of Robert Hustis and Fanny Kelly, was born 07 Aug 1850. She married Isaac Erb of Kars Parish, Kings County on 06 Nov 1873 at Saint John (Source: PANB, RS 551, Marriage Bond Index, 7259/ 05 Nov 1873. Isaac Erb and Jacob Shamper of Saint John, co-bondsmen). He was born 28 or 30 May 1846 at Kars, and died 13 May 1924 at Saint John (Source: PANB, RS 141 C5, Provincial Death Register, 033079). She died 09 Dec 1920 at the same place (Sources: PANB, RS 141 C5, Provincial Death Register, 033128; St. John Globe, dated 09 Dec 1920). According to her obituary, "Frances, beloved wife of Isaac Erb, 208 King St. E., 9 a.m. 09 Dec 1920 leaves son John H. Erb and daughter Mrs. H. Albright of Boston. The death of Mrs. Fanny Erb, wife of Isaac Erb, well known photographer, occurred yesterday morning at their home, 208 King st. East. She had been ill for a long time."
Shortly after their marriage, Erb, a pioneer in the field of photography, set up his first studio on the top two floors of the three-storied building at 13 Charlotte Street, Saint John. It is here that this status as one of Maritime Canada’s premier photographers flourished. While his Charlotte Street studio provided a home for much of his equipment, and was the source of a good deal of his business, Erb spent considerable time collecting images of rural New Brunswick, Maine and Nova Scotia. This might explain, then, the fact that his first child, John Erb, was born in the later province in 1880.
The consummate professional, his biographer Mohan Juneja argues that Erb never “made the slightest conscious effort at acceptance as an artist. He was content to treat himself as a professional and as a businessman, and ... every one of some 12,000 images recorded in his log books was the direct result of a client’s commission” (Source: Camera Canada, Special Edition, 1977, National Association For Photographic Art). Although only approximately 4,000 now exist, “From a layman’s standpoint, Erb’s photographs are an unsurpassed visual record of the early years of the nation.”
Issue: John H. Erb, the son of Isaac Erb and Frances Ann Heustis, was born on 09 Oct 1880. He married, and resided in Saint John, where he took over his father’s photographic studio upon his death in 1924. Unfortunately, owing to a lack of training on his father’s part, he was neither a good businessman, nor photographer. After his death without issue in 1937, “his widow put up the studio with all its contents for sale in 1939. She could not expect a fortune for it, as fortunes simply weren’t around in the last year of the Depression decade. Yet, she asked for $200 down and a small mortgage over not too long a period.” An ambitious young photographer by the name of Lewis Wilson, having secured the purchase of Erb’s studio through personal and collaborative financing, went on to prosper as one of Saint John’s leading businesses.
Lavinia Erb, the daughter of Isaac Erb and Frances Ann “Annie” Heustis, was born on 03 Dec 1882. She married Harry F. Albright, the son of Mary A. Albright of Carleton Ward, Fredericton. A Baptist, he was born 25 Dec 1872. Like his prospective father-in-law, Albright was a photographer and may have been an early apprentice to the elder Erb. They removed to Boston, Massachusetts.
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