The creator of this Stockton photo album was William Payson Miller a
well-known and trusted citizen of Stockton, California. W.P. Miller was born
October 8th, 1825 in Windsor, Maine. In 1847 Miller married Phebe Y. Roberts.
Phebe died September 17, 1849, leaving one son, Edward, than nine months old.
In his adulthood, Edward moved to San Diego, California. In 1850 Miller headed
for California by the way of the Isthmus of Panama. Miller arrived in San
Francisco in on April 6th 1851, where he immediately found work as a carpenter.
Miller continued to work in San Francisco until August when he moved to
Stockton and began working for J.W. Smith. Miller later rented a corner of
Smith’s shop to produce his own work in carriage making. A year later Miller
went into partnership with two gentlemen, Skiff and Tucker. Within three years
Miller was able to buy out his partners and begin a long and reputable business
in carriage manufacturing. Miller married his second wife, Pamela Tilton, in
June of 1855. They had one daughter, Millie Louisa. Miller was a member of the
Methodist church, follower of temperance, an abolitionist, and a member of
Stockton’s city council. The photographer of this collection was Captain I.S.
Locke, a native of Kentucky. Locke was an Ambrotypist, photographer, and
photographic colorist. He was active in Stockton between 1856-1859, and
1864-1867. Locke was a partner with Thomas Starbuck in the daguerreian firm of
Starbuck and Locke, with a gallery on Court House Square, Stockton, California,
in 1856. By 1859, Locke had a gallery on Main Street, Stockton. It is unclear
if Locke had a continuous business in Stockton during the following five years.
Records indicate that Locke did a twenty-five dollar federal tax assessment on
his photographic business in May 1864. It was probably late in 1864 when Locke
and his former partner revived the partnership of Starbuck and Locke in
Stockton. Their business was listed under "Photographers" in an 1864-1865
California-Oregon business directory. On September 4th, 1865 Locke's studio on
wheels was destroyed when a terrible fire struck Stockton. By September he was
fully employed as a photographic colorist at the gallery of Williams McCorslin
Stuart at the corner of Hunter Street and Weber Avenue, Stockton. Stewart drew
the public's attention to Locke's photographs in oil colors. Locke continued to
operate as a photographer in Stockton until about 1867.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as
the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the