Did the Earliest-Born Person Photographed Cross Nearby Delaware River with Washington? Here’s What’s Known

Conrad Heyer
Image via Journal of the American Revolution
Various historians have debated if the veteran did, in fact, make the journey from Bucks County into New Jersey.

Known for being the earliest-born person ever photographed, one man from Maine may also have had an important local connection. Colin Schultz wrote about the famous American for Smithsonian Magazine.

Conrad Heyer, a farmer from Maine, has become famous for being the earliest-born person ever photographed. Born in 1749 in Waldoboro, Maine, Heyer was photographed in 1852, at the age of 103.

With his portrait taken in the primitive daguerreotype photography style, Heyer had lived a very full life by the time his picture was made.

Some would be surprised that this is not the only amazing fact about the farmer.

In his 20s, during the American Revolution, Heyer joined the Continental Army, ending up in the same battalion that then-General George Washington was commanding. Most historians agree that Heyer made the journey over the nearby Delaware River before the Battle of Trenton.

Some historical experts, however, are not quite sure about the assertion.

Don N. Hagist, the managing editor of the Journal of the American Revolution, argues that, while Heyer was in Washington’s group at one point, his retirement from battle does not coincide with the infamous crossing.

Heyer returned to his hometown and life of farming, passing away a 106, three years after his picture was taken.

Read more about Heyer’s amazing story at Smithsonian Magazine.


This video contains examples of some of the first photographs, depicting both people and landscapes, ever to be captured worldwide.

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