Robert Lucas was born in Jefferson County, Virginia in 1781. After spending his youth and young adulthood in Virginia involved in agrarian pursuits, he freed his slaves, sold his lands, and moved to Scioto County, Ohio (then the Northwest Territory) in 1800. In 1804 he was appointed county surveyor for Scioto County, and the following year was made Justice of the Peace. Lucas served as a Major General of the Ohio Militia during the War of 1812, sending 1200 soldiers of his brigade on the march to Fort Detroit. He also served the role of scout, mapping the movements of the Indian forces around Greeneville in 1813. Lucas was elected to the Ohio Legislature in 1816, and served in either the House of Representatives or the Upper House for the next 19 years. In 1832 he was Democratic National Chairman, and assisted in the nomination of Andrew Jackson to his second term as President of the United States. He was elected to the governorship of Ohio in 1832 and in 1834 he was reelected to that post. During his term in office, Lucas took part in the controversy surrounding the border with Michigan. The border between the two states was in dispute and Toledo's status lay in the balance. Later in life he was appointed Governor of the Territory of Iowa, and also Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Lucas died in Iowa City, Iowa in 1853.
John Henry Witt (Witte) was born in Indiana near the Ohio River town of Dublin. During his youth he worked as a machinist and wagon painter for his uncle's agricultural supply firm. Witt relocated to Columbus after a time of study with J.O. Eaton in Cincinnati in 1862. J.O. Eaton had gained the reputation of being one of the most talented figure and portrait painters. John Witt was a very active artist in the central Ohio, painting portraits of many of the leading families therein. He also was a noteworthy teacher; his students included some of the foremost regional artists of the day. Silas Martin, James Mosure and Philip Clover were some of the standouts. Witt took an active role in the affairs of the capitol city and is the artist of record for a significant number of the Ohio governor's portraits in the Statehouse art collection. In 1873 Witt was in Washington, DC painting portraits of General Sherman, Senator Sherman, Judge Swayne, and Charles Sumner. He was a member of the Literary Club of Washington, D.C. In 1878 he moved to New York City where he became one of the top society artists of the day. Witt was enrolled as an associate member of the New York Academy of Art in 1887.