Governor Portraits
Governor
William Medill

Years
1853 - 1856

Medium
Oil on Canvas

Size
26.0" x 24.0"

Location
State Room - 108

Year
1890

Governor Biography

William Medill was the first Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (1852). Medill was born in the State of Delaware in 1801. In primary school he studied the classics. He graduated from Delaware College in 1825. He studied law in Philadelphia and moved to Ohio in 1831 where he was admitted to the bar in 1832. Shortly thereafter he opened a practice in Sandusky, Ohio and was elected to the Ohio Legislature in 1835. Medill served as House Speaker twice during his tenure in the legislature, the popularity gained in that body was sufficient to win him election to Congress in 1838 and again in 1840. He was appointed to the position of Assistant Postmaster General in 1845. He served for two years as Commissioner of Indian affairs, and was said to favor justice to the Indians. It is interesting to note that he held this post during the time when the last Native Americans (Wyandotte) were being relocated out of Upper Sandusky, Ohio to an Oklahoma reservation. In 1851 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of the State of Ohio. He served as acting Governor in 1853 following Governor Wood's resignation and was elected Governor in 1854.


Artist
John Henry Harrison Witt 1840-1901

Artist Biography

John Henry Witt (Witte) was born in Indiana near the Ohio River town of Dublin, and during his youth 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, the year was 1862. J.O. Eaton had gained the reputation of being one of the most talented figures and portrait painting. 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 this collection. The year 1873 finds Witt in Washington 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 was met with great success, becoming 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.