200@200 : August — World of Arts and Culture
c. 1840
Portraits by Horace Rockwell
Horace Rockwell, the first known itinerant artist to visit and make a living in Fort Wayne, painted several of Fort Wayne's powerful founding families. While he claimed that he was born in New York on July 7, 1808, very little is known of Horace Rockwell's early years. Rockwell settled in Fort Wayne in 1836 and is considered to be the city's first professional painter. Besides his talent in the fine arts, he was also considered an inventive genius. When not painting he devoted himself to the construction of a flying machine well before the time of the Wright Brothers.

These Rockwell portraits feature Aboite Township's first postmaster and canal inn proprietor, Jesse Vermilyea and his wife Maria. According to long—held oral traditions, the family's canal inn is purported to have been a safe haven along the Underground Railroad. The Vermilyea portraits, oil on canvas, were painted about 1840.
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Jesse Vermilyea portrait by Horace RockwellJesse Vermilyea portrait by Horace Rockwell
Portrait of Maria Vermilyea by Horace RockwellPortrait of Maria Vermilyea by Horace Rockwell