Family group portrait (?) allegedly done from "wretchedly colored" photographs provided to Cook in 1865. A Cook letter of 31 Oct 1870 suggests a vigorous dispute between him and Mr. Olmstead over payment of the fee; the outcome of the disagreement is unclear but may have resulted in an unfinished or undelivered work.
b. Alburgh, VT 13 Feb 1868 - d. St. Albans, VT 26 Apr 1950; buried Greenwood Cemetery, St. Albans, VT; Cook refers to "little Susan Sowles" in an undated letter; daughter of Edward Adams Sowles and Margaret Bellows Week Sowles, thereby related to Hiram Bellows (1798-1876), who made his fortune in railroads and left a bequest to fund Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans, VT. Apparently in a case reaching the Supreme Court of VT in 1903, Susan and her parents asserted a claim to a portion of Hiram's bequest through litigation. Susan is descended from Joseph Adams (1757-1835), who was a half-brother of American patriot Nathan Hale. There is no record of Susan ever marrying, and the 1940 census shows her as single. Unlike most of his inscriptions, located on the reverse of his portraits, Cook signed this one on the lower front right; only one of three portraits Cook is known to have signed on the front, the other two are Unidentified Gentleman (1867) and Portrait of a Girl. Cook was paid $110 for the Sowles painting, which has since disappeared. Portrait noted by Historical Society of Saratoga Springs.
b. 25 Feb 1812, Brooklyn, CT - d. 15 Apr 1884, Clinton, NY; buried Sunset Hills Cemetery, Kirkland, NY; one of 12 children of John Gallup and Lucy Clark; 1833 graduate of Berkshire Medical College in Pittsfield, MA; practiced medicine at various locations in the states of Michigan and New York 1834-1851; ceased the practice of medicine 1851 due to ill health and eventually taught at Ingham University in Le Roy, NY 1858 -1860 where he met and married Marilla Houghton 1859; with renewed good health purchased Home Cottage Seminary in Clinton, NY 1861 and changed the name to Houghton Seminary in honor of his wife and ran the school as its principal until retirement 1880; the seminary was considered "one of the best and most flourishing ladies schools in the State;" active in Presbyterian Church and devoted abolitionist and temperance reformer. Cook's introduction to Gallup was provided by the artist's son-in-law, Frank Ellenwood, who taught music at the school. A May 1, 1873 article in the Clinton [NY] Courier says Dr. Gallup presented Cook with a gold-headed cane in appreciation for painting his and Mrs. Gallup's portraits (according to Gallup, "magical manipulations of the brush"), during which time the artist lived with the couple for several weeks while completing the paintings.
b. 7 May 1825, Sutton, VT - d. 1 Nov 1894, Clinton, NY; buried Sunset Hills Cemetery, Kirkland, NY.; daughter of Captain William Houghton and Marilla Clay and sister of Henry O. Houghton of Houghton Mifflin Company publishing fame; 1846 graduate of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now College) in Massachusetts and then taught at Willoughby Female Seminary in Ohio 1854 and eventually Ingham University in Le Roy, NY 1855-1860; married fellow teacher Dr. John Chester Gallup 1859; worked with her husband as assistant principal of Houghton Seminary in Clinton, NY 1861-1880; very active in Presbyterian Church in Clinton and elected president of the Women's Board of Home Missionaries Committee for eight consecutive years; devoted abolitionist and temperance reformer.
b. ? - d. ?; Identity of sitter and attribution to Cook based entirely on a hand-written note on the reverse of the painting done by someone other than the artist. The note reads: "Portrait of the late C.D. English painted by Nelson Cook, Saratoga Springs, 1874," which suggests the painting was done posthumously. Although the portrait started out as a rectangle, at some point the canvas was changed to an oval and placed on a board. It probably was at this same time that the original information was copied from the reverse of the canvas and placed on the new backing support. C.D. English was the son of another 1845 Cook sitter, Susan English. Susan and husband David English of Saratoga Springs had two sons C.D. and R. (full first names unknown), who went into partnership together and formed the firm "C.D. & R. English Lumber" in Schuylerville, NY. The company had an extensive business as timber dealers and lumber forwarders based largely on government contract work on Lake Champlain. In the winter months the company focused on an ice business. C.D. also was involved in Schuylerville politics at least for a time in 1869. The portrait was listed for sale on eBay at an offering price US $1,495 in June 2014. The painting eventually sold in December 2015 for $625.
b. 1819 - d. 1874 in Saratoga Springs, NY; buried Greenridge Cemetery, Saratoga Springs; son of Jeremiah Coller; 20 Sep 1848 married Lydia Haynes, with whom he had three children, Anna, Augustus, and Francis; listed in 1850 Saratoga Springs census as a landlord and is known to have owned a tavern in the city from 1868 until at least 1874 when he paid $40 for a "store ale and beer license." Cook's recently-completed posthumous portrait of Theo M. Coller is mentioned in a 13 Jun 1876 Rome Sentinel newspaper article, which stated: "As a portrait it is perfect to nature, being a very reproduction of the original as he used to appear in his healthy and handsome strong and vigorous manhood. Mr. Cook has done himself much credit by the skill and correctness with which he has put Mr. Coller's portrait upon canvas, and it is a credit to Saratoga to have among her citizens an artist of such consummate ability." There is no record as to whether the portrait currently exists.
b. 2 July 1812 - d. 15 Oct 1876; taught school then attended Hamilton College, 1831-33; studied law and admitted to bar, 1836; practiced law in Rome, NY; appointed District Attorney for Oneida County and sat in the NY State Assembly (1845); also active newspaperman, serving as an editor of the Albany Argus in 1855 and a founder of the Rome Daily Sentinel; m. Eliza Mann Sill (1836), seven children; first mayor of incorporated Rome, NY; died of consumption. In a letter (8 Feb 1877) Cook mentions a commission he received to do a portrait of the late mayor, which was to be a posthumous rendering from photos. Cook also notes that a City committee must approve his submission, but he does not mention any such approval being granted in his letter. However, subsequent research by this site's caretaker has discovered two Rome newspaper articles, which confirm approval was in fact given and the portrait completed (The Rome Sentinel, 27 Feb 1877) and that Cook was paid a fee of $78.00 for same by the Rome city council (The Rome Citizen, 1 Feb 1878). The 1877 piece also stated, "The portrait hung in the council room last evening and was generally approved by those who saw it." Today, portraits of all the mayors of Rome hang in the City Hall, but that of Comstock is not an oil portrait and is probably not Cook's work; it is not known whether the portrait still exists today.
b. 8 Mar 1841 in Schenectady, NY - d. 17 Sep 1915 in Rome, NY; buried Rome Cemetery; son of Revolutionary War veteran Harlow Beers and Katherine M. Van Antwerp Beers; on 27 May 1863 married Rome native Frances Marion Abell (1843-1918), with whom he had four children; at the age of 14 in 1855 employed as an office boy by the Utica Observer newspaper; moved with his parents to Rome soon after and worked as a printing trade apprentice with publisher Alfred Sandford at the Rome Citizen newspaper for four years before becoming a journeyman at the same paper; in 1863 partnered with Charles W. Warren in buying the weekly Rome Sentinel newspaper from Calvert Comstock; one year later Augustus C. Kessinger bought out Warren's half to form the firm of Beers and Kessinger, a relationship which lasted until Beers's death; in late 1881 the paper became a daily publication with at least 1,000 subscribers; served in the Rome city government as an Alderman in 1875 and 1878 during the terms of Mayor Samuel B. Stevens. A bust of "Alderman Beers" is mentioned by Cook in a letter of 8 Feb 1877 from Rome, NY, however the portrait's existence today is doubtful.
b. 13 Nov 1820 in Slingerlands, Albany County, NY - d. 13 May 1910 in Slingerlands, NY; buried in family vault, Slingerlands, NY along with John I. Slingerland (1804 - 1861, and member of US House of Representatives from NY in 1843 & 1844), who was William Henry's older brother; son of John Albert and Leah (Britt) Slingerland; began as a surveyor and ultimately became a civil engineer working in both the private and public sectors; in 1841 founded and built the Delmar (NY) Reformed Dutch Church; in 1842 married first wife, Elizabeth Wayne (1818 - 1868), who produced 5 children, and in 1868 married second wife, Maria Whitbeck; in 1850 helped found the hamlet of Slingerlands, NY, an area his ancestors had developed for many years and where he served as Postmaster for over 20 years; in 1880 elected to NY state legislature as a Republican, but declined to run for subsequent terms. Separate portrait busts of Mr. and Mrs. Slingerland were mentioned in Cook letters from Rome, NY on 22 and 30 July 1877. Cook's letter noted his sitter's relation to John I. Slingerland.
b. 18 Oct 1832 - d. 1915; buried in Grove Cemetery, Albany, NY with her parents, Andrew and Charlotte Amelia (Bronck/Bronk) Whitbeck; married William Henry Slingerland on 25 Nov 1868.
b. 9 Jul 1824 in Frankfort, NY - d. ca 25 Jan 1912; son of Obadiah and Lovinia/Lavinia (Tucker) Kingsley; studied at Whitestone Seminary near Utica, Geneva Medical College, and New York Medical College where he received his M.D. Degree in March 1855; briefly set up practice in Utica, but moved permanently to Rome, NY in 1856 where for several years he practiced general family surgery; eventually turned his fulltime attention to cancer treatment and established a cancer hospital in Rome in 1859; married Georgeanna M. Vogel/Vogell on 4 Dec 1860 and had three boys, two of whom went to Yale and then Harvard Medical School; by 1896 had an international reputation with over 40,000 cancer treatments to his name; bred horses in his spare time and held a number of private and civil positions over the years, including president of the Bank of Rome and later the FarmersÃ National Bank; vice president of the Central New York Institution for Deaf Mutes in Rome from 1875-1895, when he was elected president, president of both the old Rome Iron Works and the Rome Brass and Copper Company, vice president of both the Rome Cemetery Association and the Jervis Literary Association, and Republican mayor of strongly Democratic Rome from 1895-1899; obtained a patent on 2 May 1899 for a condensation-free skylight; died in 1912 with an estate valued in excess of $350,000.
Special note re Dr. and the two Mrs. Kingsleys: Cook mentions his work on Dr. Kingley's portrait in several letters from Rome, NY (14 Sep 1879 and others undated). Progress was delayed on the painting as the artist worked on a copy of an earlier portrait of Rachel Cook, Ransom's wife. He eventually received $80 for Kingsley's portrait, which the doctor paid over time as Cook "needed it." The portrait was to go to the county fair, and Cook noted that he was planning to do one of Mrs. Kingsley in several weeks. While Cook's letter may have been referring to Dr. Kingsley's wife, a brief mention in the July 11, 1882 edition of the Utica, NY Morning Herald Newspaper notes: "Nelson Cook exhibits at the store of Wilson & Greenfield [Rome, NY] a fine portrait, in oil, of Mrs. Kingsley, mother of Dr. Kingsley." Due to the uncertainty of whether Cook also painted the doctor's wife, brief profiles of both women have been provided following Dr. Kingsley's biography.
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