Edward Noyes was born in Massachusetts in 1832. He was orphaned at an early age and was raised by his mother's parents in New Hampshire. He apprenticed in a print shop of a religious newspaper from 1846 through 1853 whereupon he entered Dartmouth College and took up the study of law. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1857. In 1858 Noyes opened up a law practice in Cincinnati. This same law office was converted to an army recruiting office when hostilities opened up between the North and South in 1861. Noyes began his military career as Major of the Thirty-ninth Ohio Infantry and later became its Colonel. Noyes incurred a damaging wound in action in 1864 and his leg was removed on the battlefield, but this did not stop him from reentering the service under the command of General Hooker. In his new capacity he took over command of Fort Dennison near Cincinnati. While still in the service, he was elected to the position of City Solicitor of Cincinnati, and later probate judge for the city. His reputation growing quickly, he was elected Governor of Ohio in 1871. Following his term he was appointed minister to France by President Hayes, and later European liaison for the President. In
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.