b. 13 Jun 1837 in Utica, NY - d. 15 Jun 1919 in Rome, NY; buried in Rome Cemetery; daughter of Rev. Henry Vogell, Baptist pastor at various times in Utica and Rome, NY; on 4 December 1860 married Dr. Willey J.P. Kingsley with whom she had three sons, the eldest died in infancy and the other two followed in their father's medical doctor footsteps; involved with many charitable causes in the Rome, NY area, including aid to needy children, and in 1961 a descendent continued the Kingsley legacy by willing $1 billion to the city of Rome, money, which even today continues to support many community organizations. In the latter part of 1879, Cook mentioned in several letters that his portrait of Dr. Kingsley had been delayed and that he would be painting Dr. Kingsley’s wife in several weeks’ time. As noted by Cook’s inscription on the back of this portrait, the rendering of this particular sitter was done in 1880. While a bit speculative, Cook’s portrait of Mrs. Kingsley may very well have been delayed until 1880 and she may have resurfaced in a most unlikely location far from her original, long-ago sitting in front of Cook’s easel. In December 2018 the Aragón Subastas de Arte auction house in Zaragoza, Spain sold a painting for $342 US of an unidentified young woman entitled "Retrato de Dama" ("Portrait of a Lady"). On the back was written "Painted by Nelson Cook, Rome, NY, 1880" and the woman pictured looks to be about Mrs. Kingsley's early 40s age. Although it's quite possible Cook painted other women in Rome, NY during 1880, in the absence of any other known portraits that meet these criteria, for the time being the caretakers of this site are comfortable assigning Mrs. Kingsley's identity to the Spain portrait.
b. Jan 1829 in Ballston Spa, NY - d. 13 Oct 1907 in Rome, NY; a brief article in the July 4, 1881 Utica (NY) Morning Herald Newspaper mentioned that Cook's portrait of Rev. Dr. Taylor was being exhibited at the James & Armstrong Bookstore in Rome, NY; graduated from Bowdoin College in 1856 and from Union College Seminary in 1859; for three years pastor of the Presbyterian Church in New Rochelle, NY where his son Robert L. Taylor was born in 1861; also served congregations in Eastport, Maine and Orange, NJ before moving to Lake Forest, IL in 1869; in 1876 relocated to Rome, NY to become pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and remained there until his 1899 retirement; edited/published two books: “Home Worship and the Use of the Bible in the Home” (1882) “Historical Discourse” (1888).
b. 4 Oct 1837 - d. 14 Dec 1904; born in Pirmasens (Bavaria) Germany; immigrated to New York City in 1852 and entered the bakery trade; moved to West Leyden (Lewis County), NY in 1854 where he was a merchant for 20 years and postmaster for two; moved to Rome, NY in 1874 where he purchased the Armstrong Block and ran a wholesale and retail flour and feed business until 1878 at which time he and his brother-in-law built the Glesmann-Hower Business Block in Rome; involved with several Rome civic organizations and was a director of the Farmers' National Bank in Rome; married twice: first to Rosa Hower from 1866 to 1891 (one son, Louis), then to Amelia Hammann; a brief mention in the October 18, 1882 Utica (NY) Observer Newspaper stated that Cook's portrait of Louis Gleasman [sic] was being exhibited in one of Wilson & Greenfield's show windows in Rome, NY.
b. 14 Dec 1795, Huntington, NY - d. 12 Jan 1885, Rome, NY; well-known American civil engineer after whom Port Jervis, NY is named; among his many engineering feats: became lead engineer on the Erie Canal's center section in 1819, named chief engineer for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company in 1827, designed the famed Stourbridge Lion railroad steam locomotive, which was the first locomotive to be operated in US in 1829, appointed chief engineer for the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad in 1831, designed the first 4-2-0 steam locomotive, which was called the Jervis type in his honor, named chief engineer for construction of the Croton Aqueduct (1842-1965), which provided fresh water for NYC, built the Boston Aqueduct in 1846, and was the lead engineer with many other railroading concerns before retiring in 1864, when he devoted his time to writing. Upon his death, he willed his personal residence to Rome, NY to be used as a public library, which is still utilized today as the repository for all of Jervis's designs and papers. Cook's portrait was commissioned by Jervis just before the engineer's death in January 1885, and the painting wasn't completed until some months later. The portrait was a life-size bust, which an undated newspaper article described in this way: "And it is not only life size, but lifelike as well. The blending of the colors in the light and shade is exquisite, but better even than this is the expression, without which the best work of art would be a failure. When we reflect that the artist years ago passed 'the allotted age of man,' we can but wonder at the keenness of sight and delicacy of touch which enable him to accomplish such a work as this."
b. 15 Aug 1836, New Hartford, NY - d. 23 Oct 1902, Rome, NY; buried in Sauquoit Valley Cemetery near Clayville, NY; graduated Utica Free Academy and studied law in Utica and Rome; admitted to Oneida County, NY Bar 1859; practiced law in Rome 1860-1865; traveled the south and west US 1865-1866. married Eliza Fidelia Cady 26 Jun 1867 and fathered 7 children; spent one year in NYC as a financial clerk for a wholesale company before returning to Rome 1868 to practice law once again as an attorney for the NY Central Railroad Company for the next 30+ years; served on the Rome Board of Alderman 1874-1876 and in the NY State Assembly 1878; served two terms as a Republican in the US Congress 1879 -1883, and chose not to seek a third term. An 1885 newspaper article describes Prescott's portrait as follows: "The execution is excellent. The canvass is 25x30 inches and gives ample room for a life-size portrait above the waist. The painting represents Mr. Prescott in a sitting posture. At his right a portion of a crimson velvet seat protrudes, while at his left there is a small cylindrical pillar. Mr. Cook has spent considerable time upon the work, and it is one of his best efforts. The softness of the shadings and the exquisite blending of colors are beautiful. Mr. Cook is [78 years old], and although he has long since passed the meridian of life, his hand lacks none of its grace and skillfulness in touching, and his taste has even improved. It is valued at $500. Mr. Cook has won considerable renown as a portrait artist."
b. 12 Jul 1805 in Boston, MA - d. 10 May 1884 in Rome, NY; buried Rome Cemetery, Rome, NY; son of Edward G. and Lucy Chamberlain Stevens; in 1827 married Elizabeth Tibbits (1810-1896), with whom he had eight children; studied shoemaking in Boston and in 1826 moved to Rome where he practiced shoemaking for two years; then formed a partnership with Thomas Dugan and Alva Whedon and operated a general merchandise store as Stevens, Dugan, and Co.; served as Justice of the Peace in Rome 1841-1845; partnered with John Whittemore in a shoe and leather firm consisting of a store in downtown Rome and three tanneries located in the surrounding area - an 1846 fire destroyed the store, which was rebuilt, but in 1851 the store was closed for lack of profitability as the tanneries continued to flourish; went to California in 1852 where his son, Edward, was employed and spent 15 years in the state in a number of different capacities: worked in the delivery express and banking industries, held municipal office, including District Judge and California legislature representative, and in 1856 was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which nominated James Buchanan for President; returned to Rome in 1867 and in 1868 helped start Rome's Merchant Iron Mill and became its president; in 1870 named president of the newly-formed Oneida County Savings Bank and in 1875 became president of Rome's Central National Bank, a post he held for the rest of his life; served as Rome's third mayor for two terms 1875-1877. An interesting aside...son Edward met with an untimely death at the hands of ambushing Apaches in the Arizona Territory in December 1863. An article in the 21 Sep 1887 Rome Daily Sentinel newspaper said the Rome city council had approved a $75 payment to Cook for Stevens's posthumous portrait, but it is unknown if the painting still exists today.
b. 7 Apr 1820 Fort Ann [Washington County], NY - d. 23 Aug 1905, Saratoga, NY; well-respected attorney from Saratoga County, NY.; son of Matthias A. and Sarah [Bush] Pike; who at various times held such positions as Justice of the Peace for Saratoga Springs [1853 - at least 1855], Saratoga Springs Postmaster [5 Oct 1866 - 8 Mar 1867], and Saratoga County District Attorney; Pike apparently was an avid sportsman --- not only was he a champion angler, who often fished the St. Lawrence River, Pike also was a charter director of the Interlaken Golf and Country Club of Interlaken Park, NY.; married Mary Elizabeth Bottum on 27 Jan 1859 in Orwell, VT and had two children --- William L. Pike and Emma Clark Pike. The portrait is signed and dated on reverse. Its 1890 date is especially significant in that it represents the most recent work known to have been painted by Cook, who obviously was very proud that he was still producing portraits of prominent Saratoga locals at the age of 81. And proud he should have been, as this painting is a fine example of a mature Mr. Cook at his very best. Portrait Dimensions 25.5"x30.5"; Frame Dimensions 36"x40". Purchased at an antique store in May 2013 for $1250.
b. 4 Apr 1849, Bethel, VT - d. 9 Dec 1901, Glens Falls, NY; son of Enoch and Abigail (Bugbee) Bemis; in 1872 married Marion E. French of Burlington, VT and had six children; initially became an optician, and then studied eye diseases in New York City with Dr. Rowland B. Gray, nationally-known president of the Long Island Medical Society; settled in Glens Falls in 1872 and became quite successful treating diseases of the eye in Glens Falls, Utica, and by 1887 at branch offices in Boston and New York City; in 1893 started construction of the Bemis Eye Sanitarium in Glens Falls, which by 1896 was a multi-building complex providing over 58,000 treatments for cataracts, glaucoma, eye scars, detached retinas, and a wide variety of other eye disorders using Bemis's patented "Magnetic Vaporizer" to administer the "absorption method" of treatment; died in late 1901 and shortly thereafter the Bemis Eye Sanitarium closed its doors.
Shown right is a photo-engraving of what Dr. Bemis purported to be an "exact reproduction" of a portrait painted by Nelson Cook, who "was past 80 years of age" (i.e., sometime between late 1888 and Cook's death in mid-1892). Although this image was used in advertising for the Bemis Eye Sanitarium, the actual existence of Cook's original portrait cannot be authenticated. See Nelson Cook and Dr. Bemis
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