Mordecai Bartley was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania in 1783. He attended public school in his youth and in 1809 he moved his family to Jefferson County, Ohio. He served as a captain in the War of 1812 under the command of William Henry Harrison. 1834 found him living in Mansfield, Ohio. His political career started quickly when in 1817 he was elected to the State Senate, and also served as Registrar of Land Office. In this capacity he administered the Virginia Military District lands. Bartley was elected Governor of Ohio in 1844. In 1846 with the outbreak of war with Mexico, Bartley assisted in raising the needed Ohio troops to satisfy the Federal government's request for them. This was opposed vehemently by many Ohioans, but Bartley felt it was our responsibility to the central government. Bartley died in Mansfield in 1870.
Richard T. Clarke was born in 1820 in Baltimore. He is recorded as working in Baltimore as a portraitist from 1851 through 1858. He worked in Louisville, Kentucky from 1859 through 1865, and in Cincinnati from 1869 until his death in 1885. He established an art school at his studio in Cincinnati (on West Fourth Street) from the late 1870's through the early 1880's. He taught drawing as the primary skill needed for a portraitist. Clarke often stated "immediate painting of the subject is necessary to arouse emotion in the artist."