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Frank Blackwell Mayer
Independence (Squire Jack Porter)
1858
oil
12 x 15 7/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Harriet Lane Johnston Collection



Squire Jack Porter lounges on the porch of his farm, “Rose Meadows,” near Eckhart, Maryland. Seventy-five years old at the time, he was widely known for opening the first coal mines for domestic use in Allegheny County. Porter also served as a captain in the War of 1812. Titling the work Independence, the artist aptly evokes Porter's leisure years, financial well being, and strength of character.