Header - Huntington Photographers


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WILLIAM JAMES FENNER, the son of Nicholas Paul Fenner and Ellen D. Maddy, was born in on November 7, 1857, in Gallia County, Ohio. He was educated in Gallipolis, Ohio. In 1881 he opened a photographic studio in Gallipolis, where he worked for the next seven years. He married Nellie Fowler on December 9, 1886, at Gallipolis, Ohio. William taught his wife’s brother, Frank O. Fowler, photography, who opened his own studio in Marietta, Ohio, in 1900.  Unlike many photographers of the time, he never took a partner in Huntington; only later did he and his brother joined together in Lima, Ohio.
     For a time William opened and operated another studio in Huntington, West Virginia, at 403 Ninth Street. In July 1888 William and Nellie had their only child, a daughter, Ellen Aline Fenner, who was born in Huntington. Before 1888 he closed his Gallipolis studio and only operated the studio in Huntington. He made a specialty of outdoors photography and his studio’s walls contained many beautiful examples of his work. He remained in Huntington until 1895.
     In 1895/96 he relocated his photographic business at Lima, Ohio, at 202 ˝ North Main Street. At Lima he was joined by his younger brother, Charles, who became a partner in Fenner Brothers Photography. The two brothers’ studio was one of the best equipped in the city and compared with studios in large cities. The brothers jointly operated the business until William died on September 7, 1903, at Gallipolis, Ohio. He was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, Ohio. After his death, his wife and daughter moved in with her brother, Frank O. Fowler, where Nellie ran an art supply store associated with the her brother's photographic studio. She died in September 1939.
    William's brother, Charles, continued the business after his death; he died at Lima on November 27, 1918.

Sources: Diane VanSkiver Gagel, Ohio Photographers (Nevada City, Calif.: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1998), p. 56; Mary Sayre Haverstock, et al, eds. Artists in Ohio,1787-1900, a Biographical Dictionary., (Kent State University Press, 2000), p. 286.; "Photographers," Washington County, Ohio, Genealogical Society (http://www.washogs.org/photographers.html); "Charles H. Fenner," The USGenWeb Project (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohallen/bios/1_12_20031.htm); William James Fenner and Nellie Fowler Fenner, in Find  A Grave (http:findagrave.com); Graphic: W. J. Fenner's advertisement from Huntington City Directory, 1891-92, p. 70.