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.