An unidentified man, possibly a telegraph serviceman, wearing a lineman’s climbing belt. Possibly using a field telegraph key or field telephone and listening to an earphone. His right hand is on a junction box, possibly a telegraph key, with dry cell batteries.
They used single wire transmission lines back then with the earth itself being the other conductor. The wire shown is temporarily connected to the rails to make a better earth conductor.
The wire to the left going up into the trees is an uninsulated twisted pair that goes to the next telephone or telegraph down the line. Why would there be two wires and why would they be twisted?
Sara Britta Magnusson, mother of Fredrik Larson (Keith Larson's and Mary Child's), Charles Larson (Rollin Larson's grandfather) and Julius Larson (Weasel Ogren's grandfather).
The reverse side of Sara Britta Magnusson's portrait