Images of Clayton and its People, 1864-1871
The Johnston Studio Collection

Tucked away, abandoned in an attic for more than 135 years, lay several wooden crates filled with an irreplaceable treasure - glass plate negatives, more than 3000 of them, were forgotten. Recently found and donated to the Jefferson County Historical Society by Mrs. Julia Gosier, these images bring us a rare glimpse of the village of Clayton, and people from the surrounding area, between 1864 and 1871. More than 1,200 of the images have survived. Of those, 595 can be linked with a ledger identifying the people pictured. Another 43 images depict images of Clayton and the Thousand Islands.

Oren Johnston StudioThe images were done by the Oren Johnston Studio, who was the first photographer in the Village of Clayton. Many of the images were taken by the brother and sister team of Oliver and Theodosia Wilcox, then employees of the studio. Theodosia later married Oren Johnston. Theodosia divorced Oren and moved west, showing up in Hastings, Minnesota in 1870. She later returned to Binghamton as Mrs. Fred Harbottle, where she died in 1905.

The Johnston Studio negatives collection contains 595 photos of named individuals, and more than 600 photos for which we have no record. An index to the Johnston Studio catalog is available in PDF format. The Johnston Index is approximately 1.5mb in size and may require a lengthy download on slower internet connections. It is fully searchable and Adobe Acrobat or similar program is required to view the file. Click on the "Download" button to open or save the index. For additional information on any of the photographs listed in the index or to order prints, please contact the Curator at 315-782-3491.

Download NowDownload the Johnston Studio Index (~1.5mb)


We’ll periodically publish un-named negatives on this webpage. If you can identify them, please tell us so that we can add it to our records! We’ll also change the images of this page periodically, so stop back often.