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Accession Number 1900.001
Catalog Number 1900.001.017
Object Name Painting
Title Portrait Thomas W. Bartley
Description Portrait shows Ohio's seventeenth governor Thomas W. Bartley (1844) seated in a wooden chair with red upholstery. There is a table to the left with books on it. Bartley wears a black coat, a white shirt, and a black tie. There is a white handkerchief in his breast pocket. He is holding a book or folio of some sort in his hand. He has reddish brown hair and a beard.
Date ca.1868
Artist Unknown
Notes Thomas W. Bartley was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, on February 11, 1812. His father was Mordecai Bartley. After the War of 1812 ended, his father moved the family to a small farm near Mansfield. Thomas Bartley attended Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, before studying the law. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar at the age of twenty-one.

Bartley was interested in politics at a young age. His father served in the U.S. House of Representatives while he was growing up. Shortly after Thomas Bartley started practicing law, Richland County voters elected him prosecuting attorney. Between 1839 and 1845, aside from his brief stint as governor in 1844, Bartley served in the state legislature. He became the Speaker of the State Senate in 1843.

When Governor Wilson Shannon resigned in 1844 to become the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Bartley was appointed governor. He served as governor from April 15 to December 3, 1844. His father, Mordecai, was elected as governor in the 1844 election and replaced him. Interestingly, Thomas and Mordecai belonged to different political parties. Thomas Bartley was a Democrat, while Mordecai Bartley belonged to the Whig Party. He failed to be named the Democratic candidate for governor in 1844 or it would have been a contest between father and son.

After leaving office in 1845, Thomas Bartley became the U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio during President James Polk's administration. He then became a judge on the Ohio Supreme Court between 1852 and 1859, serving as chief justice for three years. He retired from the court in 1859 and returned to private legal practice. Bartley died on June 20, 1885, and was buried in Washington, DC.
People Bartley, Mordecai, 1783-1870
Bartley, Thomas Welles, 1812-1885
Smith, William Henry, 1833-1896
Signed Name Unsigned
Image size 36-1/2" x 30"
Frame size 41" x 35"
Frame desc Molded gilt frame
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."

Recorded in the 1869 Executive Documents and Annual Reports of Ohio: "The portrait of Thomas W. Bartley was received September 7th, accompanied by the following letter: Cincinnati, September 6, 1869
Dear Sir--I send a portrait of Judge Bartley to J.E. Miller, Esq., of Columbus, with a request that he will deliver the same to you. This portrait is presented to the State, that it may have its proper place among the portaits of Governors of our State now being collected. The subject of the portrait, the Hon. T.W. Bartley, succeeded the Hon. Wilson Shannon as Governor of Ohio in 1844. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C.W. Moulton."

[Charles William Moulton was Thomas Bartley's brother-in-law.]

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
Portrait paintings
Collection Statehouse Artwork Collection/Governors' Portraits