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Vernon, Charles D.
b. 1855
Discipline: Photography

Charles Vernon moved to North Dakota in 1884. His parents and other family had claimed a homestead near the town on Minto, in the northeast portion of the state. They had moved from their home in Linn County, Missouri earlier in 1884 and were soon joined by Charles, his wife Elizabeth (Moss), and their son Walter. Charles claimed his own homestead two miles from his parents.

In the spring of 1885, the Vernon family and some of their neighbors formed the town of Perth. Charles’s father Robert was elected the town’s first postmaster and Charles was elected clerk. 

Times were hard and during the summer of the same year, the Vernon sons – which included Charles’ brothers John and George – collected buffalo bones and sold them for money in nearby communities.

In addition to being a homesteader, Charles was also a professional photographer. When he moved from Missouri, he expected to open a studio in Minto but found a photographer named Ball already working there. When Ball moved to Grafton in the fall of 1885, Charles established his own studio and gallery in a twelve-by-twenty-four foot building. Although he undoubtedly made portraits for a living, he also made images of his family.

- Ben Nemenoff


State Historical Society of North Dakota

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