Portrait of Philetus Sawyer

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Record 231/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description Oil painting on canvas. Portrait of Philetus Sawyer in dark suit with white shirt and cravat standing by the desk and chair that he had used in

Philetus Sawyer was born in Rutland County, Vermont on September 22, 1816. His father was a farmer and blacksmith, but did not prosper. When Philetus was a year old his father moved the family to Crown Pointe in Essex County, New York where Philetus would spend his childhood. During this time it was a legal practice that a father was entitled to the services of his minor children, so at the age of 14 Philetus was hired out by his father to work at a neighbor's farm for $6.00 a month. At the age of 17 Philetus was able to arrange with his father to purchase the right to be the master of his own time and labor. Philetus would prosper on his own and in 1841 would married Melvina M. Hadley. In 1847 he came to the Wisconsin Territory with his wife, two sons and two thousand dollars he had saved while working 10 years as a millhand. After two years of unsuccessful farming, the Sawyers moved to Oshkosh where Philetus accepted a position running a sawmill. Within a few years he had not only mastered the business, but had purchased it. His prosperity grew rapidly. Philetus was elected assessor, alderman and mayor of Oshkosh; he served 10 years as a U.S. Congressman (1865-1875), followed by 12 years in the U.S. Senate (1881-1893). Philetus Sawyer died on March 29, 1900 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

Dimensions H-50.5 W-40 inches
Year Range from 1886
Year range to 1886
Made Magrath, William
Material Canvas
Makers mark Signed
Object ID 612-3
Object Name Painting
People Magrath, William
Sawyer, Philetus Horace
Related Publications Oshkosh Public Museum Newsletter, Winter 2005.
Title Portrait of Philetus Sawyer
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009