Thomas Young was born in Killyleagh, Ireland in1832. He died in Cincinnati in 1888. He emigrated at an early age, lived in New York City for several years and served in the regular army for ten years. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 16. He relocated to Cincinnati in 1859 where he took the post of Superintendent of a youth reformatory. When war came, he served as a Captain in General Fremont's body-guard company. In 1864 Young was given the commission of Colonel and served with distinction in the war, seeing major duty in the Battle of Resaca, Georgia. In that battle he lost 160 of his 200 men in an advance on the middle of the enemy lines. In 1865 he was elected to the Ohio House of Representative to the Ohio General Assembly from Hamilton County, and in 1875 was elected Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. In 1876 Thomas Young became Governor due to the election to the U.S. Presidency of then Governor Hayes.
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.