Monday, November 14, 2005

Marcus Mote ~ Quaker Artist







Marcus Mote house outside of Waynesville
standing in ruins.


Marcus Mote (1817 ~ 1898), son of David and Miriam Mendenhall Mote, was born June 19, 1817 near West Milton, Ohio. Marcus was a fifth generation birthright American Quaker. His parents were members of West Branch Monthly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends. Mote moved to the Waynesville, Ohio area in the late 1830s. He taught at the Turtle Creek School in Warren County, Ohio, just southeast of Waynesville in 1836 and 1837. At that time, he attended Miami Quarterly Meeting in Waynesville (Miami Monthly Meeting’s White Brick meetinghouse) where at one time he was clerk of the Meeting. Miami Monthly Meeting members protested his artwork. Quakers at that time were traditionally not schooled in the fine arts and suspicious of their frivolity. Such interest and vocations were considered “worldly” and “frivolous” and were not accepted by the religious group, which advocated plainness in all aspects of daily life. Mote’s talents and artwork almost got him disowned by the Meeting.



While teaching at Turtle Creek School, Mote was taken with Rhoda Steddan, one of his students, also a fifth generation birthright American Quaker. Marcus and Rhoda were married November 11, 1837 at the Orthodox Friends Meeting House at Waynesville (the Red Brick) before moving to West Milton where the first of their children were born.


Marcus MOTE married Rhoda STEDDOM, born the Eighth Month, 10th day, 1821. Their children were:
· Linus, born First Month, 28th day, 1840
· Samuel Steddom, born Ninth Month, 15th day, 1842
· Henry Davis, born Sixth Month, 24th day, 1847
· Susana Jane, born Seventh Month, 9th day, 1850
· Edwin L., born Twelfth Month, 31st day, 1855
· Edwin M., born Second Month, 18th day, 1857

The infants Edwin L. MOTE and his brother Edwin M. were buried in Turtle Creek Preparative Meetinghouse Cemetery a few miles south of Waynesville, Ohio on the dates given.



The couple returned to the Waynesville area with their family a few years later. They resided in a two-story brick home on the old Middletown Road near Turtle Creek Preparatiave Meeting House (see, Meetinghouses in Harveysburg: Grove & Harveysburg) in a neighborhood settled by Rhoda’s family. The house, which is in a dilapidated state, is located on the property of James Thornbury.


Marcus planned to use an unfinished room in the home for his studio and may have for a short period of time. However, most of his work centered in Lebanon, Ohio, Warren County seat, where he frequently painted portraits at The Golden Lamb Inn. He also painted in the surrounding villages while keeping Lebanon as a base for his artistic work. He also drew plans for buildings, made maps for Quaker Meetings in Ohio and Indiana (see, 1853 Map of Indiana Yearly Meeting by Marcus Mote), designed election posters and drew advertising pictures of plows, carriages and furniture for various businesses.



Marcus and Rhoda Mote moved their family from Waynesville to Richmond, Indiana December 26, 1866. They transferred their Quaker meeting certificates (Certificates of Removal) to Whitewater Friends Meeting. At Richmond, Mote opened an Academy of Design and continued painting portraits. Mote reopened his Lebanon, Ohio studio in May 1868. During his time in Warren County he painted at Waynesville, Lebanon, Springboro, Cincinnati, Miamisburg and Richmond, Indiana.



Marcus Mote died February 26, 1898 at Richmond, Indiana. His great-granddaughter, Mrs. Lena Irons, now deceased, was the last of his direct line to live in Warren County, Ohio.



Also see, http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/2aa/2aa478.htm (Mote’s Art: The Quaker and Richmond Heritage of Marcus Mote, Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, Indiana) and Marcus Mote and Eli Harvey: Two Quaker Artists from Southwest Ohio by Dr. Thomas Hamm, Dr. Mary Klei, Ms. Mickie Franer and Ms. Christine Hadley Snyder (Warren and Clinton County Historical Societies, 1992). There is also a large collection of Mote’s works at the Warren County Historical Society Museum in Lebanon, Ohio.



A large collection, "The Marcus Mote Collection. 1835-1970. FMS 5" is located in the Quaker Archive at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana. The Mote Collection consists of diaries, notebooks, correspondence, and works by Mote, as well as research material on Mote gathered by former Earlham College Archivist Opal Thornburg.

27 Comments:

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5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn more about
Marcus Mote
and view some of his art works on the "Artists of Wayne County, Indiana" web site.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a descendant of David Mote and Miriam Mendenhall. My records dated 25 Feb 1963 by Complier Alice Farquhar show Marcus Mote as being the son of Luke Smith Mote and brother to Elisha Jones Mote

1:04 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I too am a descendant of David Mote and Miriam Mendenhall. All of the records I have found show Marcus Mote being the son of David Mote Jr. and Miriam Mendenhall. This comes from the Hinshaw Quaker record books, census and numerous family histories found in Warren and Miami counties, Ohio and Richmond, Wayne, ID. Also I have one of his paintings from 1890 which is of his mother and signed and detailed on the reverse of the painting.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Opal Barrett said...

There is a direct descendant of Marcus Mote now living in Warren County. Judi Buckley, email: jwbuckley@cinci.rr.com.
Judi's grandmother, Clara Mote, was Marcus' granddaughter. Judy donated Clara's wedding dress to the Warren County Historical Society.

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Excellent and very serious blog. This is the kind of blog! I've been reading information about marcus Mote, and he was a great artist... most of my students knows about him. I think the West Branch Monthly Meeting of The Religious Society of Friends was the best institution in 1893.

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This is the best time I hear something about Marcus Mole, but I have to say his designs blew my mind. He is a fabulous artist.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diane Gagel pointed out in her book on Ohio Photographers that Mote, besides being a portrait painter, also was awarded an award for the best daguerreotype at the Wayne County Fair in 1850, and was also apparently a daguerreotypist and portrait painter in 1850, in both cases based in Lebanon. No doubt, his painting is what he found most lucrative, but his role as an early daguerrean dhouldn't be forgotten. Don

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