PD2017008 Drawing of Richard Henry Stuart, American, ca. 1823, pencil and charcoal, Image: 6” H x 5” W, Image with Mat: 9 5/8” H x 8 5/16” W
COMMENTARY: Richard Henry Stuart was a Second Lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Infantry. He graduated from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York on July 4, 1823. On August 18, 1818, Stuart replied to West Point to indicate his acceptance of a commission in the United States Army. The letter was mailed from Washington City (D.C.). However, the letter appears to have been addressed to him in Charles County, Maryland. That would suggest Stuart’s family resided in that area.
Also included with the drawing of Stuart was the original vellum diploma from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point . The diploma lists the gentleman as “Henry R. Stewart” and hailing from “District of Columbia.”
In Complete Army Register of the United States for One Hundred Years (1779-1879) by Thomas H. S. Hamersley, Stuart is identified as “Stewart, Henry R. [Born in Md. Appointed from D. C.] 2nd Lieut. 1st Infantry, 1 July, 1823. Resigned 14 July, 1828.” West Point records document his entry as “Stewart, Henry R.” and entering in 1818 from D.C. Stuart was one of two graduates from D.C. in the 1823 class. Also in Cullum’s text is a biography of Stuart (spelled Stewart), saying he was born in Maryland, Appointed from D.C., and he served at “Served in garrison at Bellefontaine, Mo., 1824-Ft. Atkinson, IO., 1824-26-and Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1826-28.”
Stuart’s diploma features an engraved image drawn by William James, printed by J. Ridley of New York, and sculpted by Thomas Gimbrede.
Little information has been identified about William James the artist. A famous British-born American engraver, William James Linton, overshadows research into William James. Linton was only 11 when Stuart graduated from West Point. Also, there was a William James Bennett who was born and trained in London making aquatints of other artists work, as well as completing his own drawings and aquatints. However, he did not emigrate to America until 1826.
J. Ridley was a printer in the New York area. One other identified print by him was a reproduction of a painting of Reverend John Henry Hobart, “published by W. Main N.Y. 1823 – J. Ridley Printer.” He appears in the 1820 New York Census with a wife and teenaged daughter, but very little other information can be found about him.
Thomas Gimbrede (1781-1832) was born in Agen, France, but emigrated to America early on. He worked in Baltimore and New York as a miniature painter and engraver, and eventually taught drawing and French at the United States Military Academy, where he died in December 1832. Comments about his grave record that “he was drawing master for 14 years,” suggesting he took up his role around 1819, under the reorganization initiated by Sylvanus Thayer, the school superintendent. Drawing was important for cadets to know so they could convey “details of terrain and enemy fortifications” to others.
Stuart’s diploma is signed by the following:
Sylvanus Thayer, School Superintendent
D. B. Douglass (David Bate Douglass, 1790-1849), Professor of Civil and Military Engineering; later, third President of Kenyon College and Chair of Mathematics Department at Hobart College.
W. J. Worth
T. Gimbrede (discussed above)
Charles Davis, Mathematics Professor
Jared Mansfield, initially appointed as Captain of Engineers by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. He left in 1807 when he was appointed as Surveyor-General of the United States. In 1812, he was brought back as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. During the War of 1812, he superintended fortifications in Connecticut. He returned to the USMA in 1814 to teach full time.
THE ARTIST: This portrait profile is in the style of Silon Amos Henkel (1813-1844), a Virginia artist who was working during the mid-19th century. While the drawing of Henry Stuart is unsigned, two portraits of men in a nearly identical chair, signed and dated “ S.H. 1831” were sold by Jeffrey S. Evans on June 18, 2016. Evans’ catalog description says Henkel was “a 19th-century itinerant artist, evangelist, doctor, and inventor.”
The Henkel family got their fame from founding the first German language printing press in the South. The article “The Henkel Family of New Market, Va., Early Printers in the Shenandoah Valley” by Albert Sydney Edmonds was published in The William and Mary Quarterly Vol. 16, No. 3 (Jul., 1936). 414-416.
Silon Amos Henkel and his connections are in bold font. “The Henkel family of New Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia, was a prominent family of Evangelical Lutheran ministers and printers. Paul Henkel (1754-1825) moved with his family to New Market in 1790, and the next year established St. Davidsburg Church. He also established churches in Augusta County, Virginia, and was one of the founders of the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina. His missionary journeys took him into Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He left a large number of descendants, many of whom were ministers, physicians, printers, and merchants. He married Elizabeth (Negeley) Henkel (1757-1843) on 20 November 1776 and they had nine children. Many of the family members were buried in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery near New Market, Virginia.
Solomon Henkel (1777-1847), son of Paul and Elizabeth Henkel, practiced medicine in New Market. He also served as postmaster and operated a printing press with his brother Ambrose (1786-1870), who was also a writer and Lutheran minister. Solomon married Rebecca Miller (1780-1854) on 9 September 1800. Their children included: Helena (1801-1823), Seorim (1803-1804), Sylvanus (1805-1830), Samuel Godfrey (1807-1863), Siram Peter (1809-1879), Simeon Socrates (1811-1812), Silon Amos (1813-1844), Solomon David (1815-1872), and Solon Paul Charles (1818-1882).
At various times the Henkel brothers were involved in the dry goods store in New Market and the mill at Plains Mills in Rockingham County. The store was known at different times as Silon A. Henkel and Company; Solomon D. Henkel and Brothers; J. H. Tinsinger and Henkel; Henkel, Koiner, and Company; D. S. Henkel and Brothers; and L. P. Henkel and Brothers.
Samuel Godfrey Henkel was a physician and married to Susan Koiner (1810-1905). Silon Amos Henkel was a physician and married Elizabeth Shaffer (1822-1894) on 18 August 1842. Solomon David Henkel (1815-1872) married Sarah Bowman (1816-1902) on 11 June 1840, daughter of John and Catherine Minnick Bowman. Solon Paul Charles Henkel was a physician and married Anna Maria Miller (1827-1911) on 25 November 1847. Both Silon Amos and Solon Paul Charles attended the University of Pennsylvania medical department.” Silon Amos Henkel is buried in Emmanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery in New Market, Virginia.
CONDITION: The image has three tears on the upper edge that have been mended but not reinforced on the back. The mending was done in February 2001. Tape adheres the image to a poster-board backing by the top edge. The rest of the image is not attached to the backing. In pencil on the back the number 8244 is written.