There appears to be at least three J. W. Hixsons in the right time frame, all born around 1860. Various documents place J. W. Hixson as a blacksmith, publisher, carpenter, farmer, bicycle repairman, mail carrier and photographer. And although some of them seem to connect, the profession of photographer occurs only twice. Worse, two of them had wives named Pearl. Their children’s names helped separate the John W. Hixsons in the records.
Since the cabinet card example here does not give a location, picking the correct Hixson is a bit speculative.
Following is the timeline of the best choice J. W. Hixson
Birth in West Point, Indiana
(US Census) age 11; living in Cedar, Iowa
(US Census) age 21; marriage to Pearl E. Hood
(US Census) son Birdie born in Oklahoma
(US Census) daughters Ethel E. and Laura M. born in Kansas
(Arkansas City, KS, newspaper item)selling photographs in Newkirk, OK (See copy at right)
(US Census) John W. Hixson, Newkirk, Oklahoma, photographer; Wife: Pearl
(Des Moines, IA, city directory) John W. Hixson, Des Moines, IA, photographer; wife: None listed
(US Census) as bicycle repairman in Center Grove, IA
(Iowa State Census) in Des Moines, IA, with wife Pearl E. and daughter Thelma
(US Census) as mail carrier in Center Grove, IA