Researcher takes advantage of area’s resources

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2010

Interesting things happen at the Lawrence County Historical Museum. Here is another one.

A couple of weeks ago, a lovely lady visited us. She was Dr. Marie Watkins, an associate professor of the art department at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. She had heard about Joseph Sharp, who lived in Ironton until he was 16 years old. While he was here, he painted portraits of several people. One was Mrs. Norton, the wife of the owner of the Norton nail company in Ironton.

She had somehow learned that a young man working for her husband had a special talent for art. He painted the beautiful portrait hanging in our living room at the museum.

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The portrait was first given to the bank, then on to the museum. Since Sharp was a poor working boy, Mrs. Norton supplied him with supplies to do his art work.

Several years ago, we sent the portrait to Cincinnati for repair and on to Charleston to repair the frame. That was very expensive.

Joseph studied and traveled in Europe and then went to the western part of the United States. He was an art teacher and with his wife moved to Crow Agency, Mont.

From there he moved around and painted pictures of the Wild West. At an antiques show, a picture of an Indian was shown and this was painted by Joseph Sharp.

I was privileged to view this. He was shown in the 1860 Census records at Bridgeport with his mother and father, W.H. and Elizabeth A. Sharp.

We believe he was buried in Pasadena, Calif.

Dr. Watkins is gathering material about Joseph Sharp’s life. She came to Ironton to collect what she could and was very impressed by what she found.

Marta Ramey, who works in the Hamner Room at the Briggs Library and with the help of Mary Kay Rader and Fondalene Alfrey made her trip here successful.

We may be hearing more about this later.

On June 19, the Ironton Garden Club will do a special program for the public at the museum entitled “How to Care for Your Garden.” Come by and gather information from the club.

A reminder that the museum will be closed Fridays temporarily until we can have more docents.

If you would like to help and enjoy history, come by and sign up. We would love to have you. You can still make appointments for Fridays.

Historical Facts: Concerning the facts of the unknown soldier who has rested in a place of honor since World War I.

Belgium places its unknown soldier in a tomb at the base of the Colonnade of the Congress in Brussels.

France buried its unknown soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in the center of Paris and keeps a perpetual flame burning over the grave.

Great Britain buried its unknown soldier in Westminster Abbey.

The unknown soldier of the U.S. was one of four unidentified war dead from American cemeteries in France.

An American soldier named Sgt. Edward Younger selected the soldier from these four. The remains were brought to the U.S. Capitol to lie in state.

(Information was taken from a column written by Dear Abby.)