So that’s what her parents looked like…

In a moment in between thoughts, I googled “dr. james green carson” and look what I found.

These are Katherine’s parents. Well I know that is her mother but I’m not convinced that that is her father. The portraits are in the collection of Tennessee State Archives and are attributed to the same artist and the same pre-1861 period. The artist is listed as Frazier with a question mark. But the portrait of her father looks very young. So if people were smaller back then, were they also younger????*

I wrote the above paragraph back in 2011 when I first discovered these portraits. At the time I only knew about the two portraits of her parents but now the Tennessee State Archives also lists this portrait of James Green Carson’s mother Caroline Green Carson. I wonder if the portrait of James Green Carson is really a portrait of him as a younger man and the portraits of KCB’s parents were not painted at the same time like I thought 7 years ago. On the full citation record the date for the James portrait and the Catherine portrait are listed as Before 1861 whereas the Caroline portrait is listed as 1815.

I think a trip to Nashville is in order!

*For my non-historian followers, I hate to be the one to tell you but people were not smaller back then. This is a joke.


  1. Hi! I cant find your name on your site, but I had done some research on Mary Breckinridge years ago and I also was wondering where Hazelwood was in NYC. Thanks so much for finding it for me. I saw Mary’s saddlebags in the Smithsonian once in the early 1990s and thought her whole story was amazing. I had never seen a picture of her mother until I found your site! What a lovely lady. Thanks for all the hard work. I look forward to reading more of the past posts. I’m still interested in finding out more about Mary and her parents.
    Thanks again!


    • Hi Karen! I’m so glad someone else had a hard time figuring out Hazelwood too! Have you looked at Mary’s papers at UK in Lexington? It’s on my list of archives too look at for more of Katherine’s letters – especially the relationship between mother and daughter. The search is never ending! Thanks for the comment. Heather


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