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Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.018
Object Name Painting
Title Portrait of Mordecai Bartley
Description Mordecai Bartley, Ohio's eighteenth governor served from 1844-1846, is shown wearing a black jacket, black vest, white shirt and a black tie. He has medium-length gray hair and blue eyes.
Date 1868
Artist Clarke, Richard T., 1820-1885
Notes Mordecai Bartley was the eighteenth governor of Ohio. He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in 1783. He worked on the family farm and attended school when he was not needed at home. Bartley married Elizabeth Welles in 1804, and in 1809 he moved his family to Jefferson County, Ohio, where he continued to farm.

When the War of 1812 began, Bartley organized an infantry company and served as its captain. Later, General William Henry Harrison appointed Bartley adjutant of one of his regiments. Once the war ended, Bartley decided to move his family to a new farm near Mansfield, Ohio. In addition to farming, he became involved in merchant activity in the area. Ultimately, the Bartley family moved into the community of Mansfield in 1834.

In 1817 and 1818, Bartley served as a state senator, representing Licking, Knox, and Richland Counties. The state legislature appointed Bartley as register of the Virginia Military District's school lands in 1818, and he held the position until he resigned to reenter politics in 1822. In that year, he was elected as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and represented his district from 1823 until 1831. Bartley did not seek reelection in 1830, and he retired from politics, returning to his agricultural and business pursuits in Mansfield.

In 1844, Bartley once again turned to politics. The Whig Party chose Bartley as their candidate for governor, and he defeated Democrat David Tod to become Ohio's eighteenth governor. He was inaugurated on December 3, 1844, succeeding his own son, Thomas Bartley, who became Ohio's seventeenth governor upon Wilson Shannon's resignation from the office.

Although Mordecai Bartley only served one term as governor, his administration was active. The Whigs held the majority within the state legislature. As a result, they were able to pass the Kelley Bank Bill of 1845, which stabilized the state's banking system. They also reformed the state's taxation policy. Bartley also became known for his position on fugitive slave laws. Bartley not only opposed these laws but also advocated the repeal of Ohio laws that deprived African Americans of basic rights. Bartley was governor when the United States became involved in the U.S.-Mexican War. He personally opposed the war but felt that it was his duty as governor to provide Ohio troops for the war effort.

When his term as governor ended on December 12, 1846, Bartley declined to run for reelection. Instead, he returned to his home and his business interests in Mansfield. Bartley never again returned to politics, remaining in Mansfield until his death on October 10, 1870.
People Bartley, Mordecai, 1783-1870
Bartley, Thomas Welles, 1812-1885
Clarke, Richard T., 1820-1885
Smith, William Henry, 1833-1896
Signed Name R.T. Clarke 1868
Sig Loc Lower Right
Image size 30-1/4" x 24-1/4"
Frame size 34.25" x 29-1/4"
Frame desc Twentieth-century molded gilt frame with carved beaded liner
Material Oil Paint/Canvas/Wood
Provenance In 1867, the Ohio General Assembly passed a joint resolution relative to the governors of Ohio. The legislators resolved that "the secretary of state, on the first Monday of January next, whether the portraits of the governors of Ohio, state and territorial, can be procured, and if so, whether original portraits or copies, and the probable expense of procuring such portraits for the governor's office."

Ohio Secretary of State William H. Smith reported to the General Assembly, "There is a portrait of Gov. Mordecai Bartley in the possession of his son, Judge Bartley, of Cincinnati who writes: 'In response, I can say that the only good portrait of him, now existing, is one which I have, and which I had taken as a family painting a few years after he retired from the office of Governor. That is a photograph bust, life size, and painted and colored in oil. I will have a copy of this taken in proper style, and make a present of it to the State, if the measure proposed in the resolution of the General Assembly be carried out.'

The July 22, 1869 edition of the "Gallipolis Journal" states, "Hon. Thomas W. Bartley donates to the state a fine portrait of his father, the late ex-Governor Mordecai Bartley."

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board took over the care of the Statehouse and its collections in 1988.
Search Terms Ohio Governor
Ohio Governor's Portraits
Subjects Governors
Painting
Portrait paintings
Collection Statehouse Artwork Collection/Governors' Portraits