The Contemplative Beard of David Costlow (1853-1924)

The prompt for the 45th week of the 52 Ancestors Blogging Challenge was “Beards”. There are many faces of remarkable hair in my family tree. It was hard to pick a favorite, but the beard of my 3rd great uncle, David Costlow (1853-1924), stands out as one of the best.

It is a soft and greying cloud in active weather. David’s calm eyes rest contemplatively above a yard that teeters tenuously between kempt and neglect.

David Costlow (1853-1924)

David Costlow (1853-1924)

Some have suggested that I look quite a bit like David. The few times I have grown my beard out (though nothing like his) I too have shown the “distinguished” greying that stripes out diagonally from the chin. Here I am about a decade ago. Judge for yourself.

The Psychogenealogist

The Psychogenealogist

Here is the larger photograph that came from my great grandmother, Ida Rhoads Sears’s (1900-2002), photo album. The notation of “Uncle David Costlow + Wife” appears to be in her handwriting.

Ida 2b.jpeg

I am not 100% confident that this is accurate, but I feel good enough to put it out there in case someone else can help me confirm or correct it.

David was the older brother of my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Margaret Costlow Rhoads (1858-1947). Mary was Ida’s mother.

According to my records, David was born on March 18, 1853 in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. His parents (my 3rd great grandparents) were James Costlow (1822-1904) and Sarah “Sallie” Reynolds Costlow (1824-1865).

On October 16, 1878, at the age of 25, David married Catherine Gleichauf (1861-1915). I presume that is Catherine in the photo with David. My best guess is that the photo was taken around the turn of the century.

David and Catherine had at least 11 children. I suspect that I will find more as I continue researching this branch of the family tree.

For me, having a beard was always more appealing in theory than in practice. It actually required MORE grooming time than simply shaving everyday.

I went through a phase of prodigious beard grooming product experimentation. Lotions and potions, waxes, washes or balms — you name it I tried it. Like many “refined gentleman”, I was under the misimpression that the more accouterments I had the higher my standing in a civilized society.

In the end I’ve settled on the simple pleasures of a clean shaven face. At least for now.

What are some of the best beards in your family tree? I would love to see a photo!