Canadian “Rogue Photographer”, Reuben R. Sallows (1855 – 1937) travelled everywhere & anyhow; by Model A Ford, by train and even by canoe. See the snippets of what remains of a 60 year career.

Reuben R. Sallows (1855-1937). Studio self portrait.

On July 30, 1937, an 81 year old photographer named Reuben R. Sallows was driving a truck, packed with photography apparatus, south on Highway 21 near Kintail in Ontario, Canada. He was on his way to photograph a local summer camp, when one of his tyres blew out. The road’s loose gravel meant that Sallow’s truck flipped. It landed in into a roadside ditch, pinning him into the ground.

“Mr. Sallows was conscious when pulled from beneath his old car by members of a road construction gang working nearby,” said the man at the local paper, “and was conscious when pulled from benesath his old car by members of a construction gang working nearby. Hastily summoned police and a doctor rushed the accident victim to Alexandra Hospital, and such was the elderly man’s great strength that he refused help and walked to the building unaided.” in spite of his grievous injuries. He died about fourteen hours later on Saturday morning.” 

The car, with all the photographic equipment, had crushed the old man’s chest, forced his broken ribs into his lungs. 

So what do we know about the dead man, Sallows? He was born on a farm in Huron County, not far from Goderich, Ontario. He’d left the farm in 1876 to look for work and took an apprentceship with a Goderich photographer, named R.R. Thompson. In 1881 he bought Thompson’s entire business from him.

By the time he lay beneath his truck in that ditch, he’d been taking photographs in the local area, and beyond, for some 60 years. With his camera in his black Ford Model A truck, sometimes in a canoe or by train, Sallow’s travels had taken him all over Canada between 1881 and 1937.

Known locally as a “rogue photographer”, he shot portraits, landscapes, early versions of pin up “Dairy Queens”, agricultural settings, small town life and the expansive Canadian wilderness of Ontario, northern Quebec and the eastern provinces.

We also know that our Mr. Sallows was smart. Well dressed. He rocked a bushy grey brush of a moustache and a black fedora hat that covered close cropped grey hair. His black top coat had black velvet collars and he wore a white shirt with a white tie.

This eclectic mix of images are a selection from the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol archives of all that remains of Reuben R. Sallows work.

Field of corn stalks in stook formation with pumpkins in foreground(1908/49).
Corn field with barn and outbuildings in middleground. Undated.
Young girl feeding chickens.(c. 1920).
Writing in ink on reverse: Winnie – Mrs. M.J. Bell, long time ago, 1920.
Older man reading The Grain Growers Guide; Picture on cover of Guide appears to be Sallows. (c. 1900).
Written on reverse, “John McHardy – 1900, Colborne Lot 8, concession 9.
Taken in the old log cabin. All these antiques went to the Ford Museum”.
Team of dark horses in field with wagon being loaded with hay. Undated.
Farmer Hetherington riding a disc pulled by a team of horses. Unknown date.
Multi-storey frame elevator built by Goderich Elevator & Transit Company being destroyed by fire (1905).
Caption on reverse reads: ‘It was gone in an hour’.
The structure was built circa 1889-90 to replace an earlier elevator which was also destroyed by fire.
Man sitting on stump receiving haircut. (1917/8).
Man on snowshoes carrying a timber wolf. (1919/4).
Man pulling sled laden with furs and two large packs through snow covered cedars (1917/21).
Florence (Flo) Sallows Saunders, daughter of Reuben R. Sallows on balcony with snowshoes (1909).
Surface of photo has evidence of effect to
simulate falling snow.
Horse pulling sled with woman wearing
grey coloured furry hat (1909/97).
Snowcovered trees. Undated.
.Man shooting rifle from kneeling position in canoe (1909/77).
Two men with deer in canoe (1909/89).
Two men standing in front of log building beside a hanging white tailed buck, man in doorway holding dead bird (1911).
Man standing on shore next to canoe; faces photographer, holding two dead ducks in his right hand, rifle under his arm and and two dead ducks in left hand (1909).
Young girl & raven. Undated.
Jonathan Miller (he weighed 486 lbs.) with young girl. Undated.
‘Do It Now,’ printed under photograph. Undated.
“Jonathan Miller, the largest man in Huron County, died November 8, 1909”.
Printed under photograph. Undated.
Studio portrait of young woman. Undated.
Written in pen on back: Lottie Green Langell.
Studio portrait of young girl. Undated.
Written in pen on back: Virginia Breckon.
Studio portrait of older woman. Undated.
Caption on reverse reads “Poetess of Lake Huron”.
Studio portrait. Writing in ink on back Ira Lewis, Crown Attorney, 1844-1905.
Studio portrait. Man wears the black jacket and pants, white formal shirt; chain, cuffs and apron of office of a Masonic Lodge. Writing at bottom identifies Major Joseph Beck. Undated.
Group portrait of five men, some of whom are dressed women’s bathing attire posed climbing clay bluffs. Undated.
Two adult buffalo standing in prairie. Undated.
Young girl standing holding lead of a horse. Undated.
Four women, dressed in white, in a field of wildflowers. Undated. Writing in ink on reverse identifies Floe Sallows Saunders, Aunt Floe Sallows, Emma Combs Fillman, Lottie Green Langell, taken in Bayfield near Goderich, Ont.
Florence Sallows Saunders. Undated.
Florence Sallows Saunders holding baby to smell cherry blossoms (1911/20).
Undated.Little Verna Sallows, Florence Sallows. Undated.
Two boys watch two women and a man unloading sap from a wooden barrel on a horse-drawn sledge.
The women are wearing black dresses with black bonnets (1907).
Men & women working over a large sugaring kettle (1907/25).
Group portrait at a sugaring shack with a team of horses in background; bare trees in extreme background (1910).

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