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MC Library Receives Historic Paintings

The Marietta College Legacy Library has received a donation of two historically significant paintings, both dating from the mid-1830s. Donated by brothers Benjamin Wilton (of Buffalo, N.Y.) and Frank S. Wilton (of McLean, Va.), the paintings had belonged to their father, Frank Putnam Wilton, and had been in the family for several generations. The Wiltons are descendants of General Israel Putnam (of Revolutionary War fame), through Douglas Putnam who married Mary Ann Hildreth (daughter of Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth) and was a founding trustee and secretary of the board of Marietta College.

The paintings represent two historical structures of significance to the founding of Marietta and were painted by two of the artists active in the area in the early-to-mid Nineteenth Century: Campus Martius by Charles Sullivan and Fort Harmar attributed to Sala Bosworth. The paintings had been reproduced in the article "Marietta Perspectives" by Terry A. Barnhart, published in the Ohio Historical Society's Timeline June/July 1988.

Fort Harmar attributed to Sala Bosworth
(oil on canvas, 18" x 28")
Campus Martius by Charles Sullivan
(oil on canvas, 18" x 28")

Click on images to enlarge.

Sala Bosworth (1805-1890) moved to Marietta, Ohio, at age 16 with his family. After study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he returned to Marietta to begin his career as an artist, specializing in portraiture. Bosworth traveled throughout southeast Ohio to ply his trade. Between 1826 and 1834, Bosworth worked with Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth developing illustrations for the important Pioneer History (Cincinnati: H.W. Derby & Co., 1848). In producing these historical drawings, as well as his oil paintings, Bosworth consulted with many of the early settlers of the area.

Charles Sullivan (1794-1867) grew up in the Philadelphia area, studying painting with Thomas Sully and later opening a studio there. He moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1827 and to Marietta, Ohio, in 1833 or 1834, remaining there the rest of his life. Sullivan is known particularly for his fine landscapes, particularly Ohio River scenes.