Click on above image to view exhibit of cabinet cards
DARWIN EUGENE ABBOTT, the son of Mason D.
Abbott and Angeline Maria
Tenney, was born on
April 29, 1856, at Abbott’s Corner, near St.
Armond, Quebec, which was about a mile from the
Vermont Border. He was the only son of six girl
siblings. His father was Canadian and his mother
was from Vermont. He grew up in Franklin and St.
Albans, Vermont, where his parents moved shortly
after his birth.
In April 1873, when just seventeen year of
age, he arrive in Huntington with his family; he
drove a wagon loaded with the belongings of the
H. Chester Parson family, with whom his family
was acquainted in Vermont. He decided to cast
his fortune with new city. He attended Marshall
Academy (now University). Becoming interested in
photography, he toured West Virginia making pictures for
He married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Beal Driggs, on
November 11, 1884, in Huntington, West Virginia.
The couple had no children, but they adopted a
daughter, Lucy Abbott.
In the 1880 he opened a photographic studio on
the nine-hundred block of Fourth Avenue. A
successful photographer, by 1891 he had slowly
expanded his business by selling photographic
supplies, as well as adding a photoengraving or
copying service. In 1898 he purchased the
Addison, Thompson and Associates plant, which
manufactured glass, between Fourteenth and
Fifteenth Streets West and Washington and
Virginia Avenues. He incorporated the D. E.
Abbott & Company, in which he added the
manufacture of picture frames and moldings to
his business. His firm
proved to be one of
Huntington’s most important manufacturing
enterprises, eventually occupying five
buildings. He also maintained a photographic
studio in downtown Huntington for a time, but
later moved it to a building on the same lot as
his manufacturing plant.
His salesmen traveled throughout twenty
states, and his frames, known for their high
quality, were sold throughout the United States
and Europe. He kept his shops running even
during hard times. Aside from the expansive
American Car and Foundry manufacturing firm, his
company was the largest employer in Huntington
for a number of years. In 1919 he sold the
manufacturing plant and its equipment to Cravens
Green Company, in which he became a
vice-president. He also continued his
photographic business in his studio on
Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue, the
building still stands today.
His wife died on October 24, 1924 and was
buried in Spring Hill, Cemetery. He continued to
run his photographic business until his death on
July 10, 1942. He died from the rapid onset of
pneumonia, a complication of a fall from his
porch at his home on Ninth Street West, which he
had suffered a few days earlier. He is buried by
his wife at Spring Hill Cemetery.
Sources: Lola Roush Miller, Images of
America: Central City (Charleston, S.C.:
Arcadia Publishing Company, 2006), p. 22;
"Huntington," The H. F. V. Headlight
(October, 1897): 19; Robert Permer, et
al, eds. West Virginians (West Virginia
Biographical Association, 1928), pp. 267; 346;
"Veteran Frame-Maker And Photographer Dies,"
Charleston Gazette, July 11,
1942, p. 2.
Graphic: D. E. Abbott, cropped cabinet
card, 1975.0099.02.01.02, in Cabell Wayne
Historical Society Collection, Special
Collections, Marshall University; D. E. Abbott
advertisement from Parthenon, June
1899, inside rear cover.