Meigs was born in 1764 in Connecticut. He was a 1785 graduate of Yale College, and studied law after his graduation at that institution. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar, and at age 24 moved with his family to Marietta, capital of the Northwest Territory. He became a court clerk in Marietta, and became a territorial Judge in 1799. 1802 saw his appointment to the position of Chief Justice of the new Ohio Supreme Court. In 1803 he became an army commander in the Louisiana Territory and later served as a federal judge in the Michigan Territory. Meigs ran for the Ohio Governorship in 1807. Even though elected, he was considered ineligible due to his out-of-state citizenship. The Ohio constitution stipulated that a four year residency be mandatory. After serving in the U.S. Senate for a year, he ran for Governor again in 1809 and won the election. He resigned in 1814 to become Postmaster General in the James Madison administration, and served in that post until 1823. In 1825 Meigs died in Marietta.
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.