Issue 3-9-14 Website - page 12

Julia Joins Her Family In LeRoy
by Lynne Belluscio
This story has a happy ending
thanks to the generosity of
a lot of people who opened
their wallets to bring a piece
of history home to LeRoy.
And it wouldn’t have been
possible, but for the patience
and persistence of an art dealer
in Florida - - and the concern
of a woman in Florida for her
grandmother’s favorite painting
and a tenacious researcher in
Ohio who kept immaculate
Last year I received an email
from Victoria Golden, an art
dealer in Florida. She had a
portrait of Julia Ingham painted
by Phineas Stauton. She was
selling the painting for a client
in Florida. Many years ago, the
painting belonged to an Ingham
descendent, Julia Ingham Jones,
but for financial reasons, in
1960, she sold the portrait to
her good friend, Elva Morgan.
And when Elva took custody
of the portrait, she also assumed
the care of the story of her
friend’s ancestor. I’ve written
about Julia Ingham before. She
was the twin sister of Emily
Ingham, the founder of Ingham
University in LeRoy. They were
born in Saybrook, Connecticut
in 1811. The twin baby girls
were given to older sisters to
care for.
Emily was raised by her sister
Marietta. Julia by her sister
Anna. When Anna married
Benjamin Franklin Hayes, Julia
became his ward. Tragically,
Anna died when she was 26.
Julia was fifteen. A year later,
Julia married her brother-in-law,
Benjamin Hayes. They had a
son Julius in 1830 and it appears
that they lived in Chicago.
Benjamin Hayes died in 1850,
and Julia moved to LeRoy to
join her sisters, Marietta and
Emily at the university.
It is believed that at this
t ime , Ph i ne a s S t aun t on ,
her sister Emily’s husband,
painted the portrait. And it was
passed down through several
generations, until her namesake,
Julia Ingham Jones owned it.
After Elva Morgan bought
the portrait she
tried to learn
more about it
and even took it
to the Ringling
M u s e u m t o
show it to the art
curator. But then
h e r memo r y
began to fail
and the portrait
transferred to
her daughter,
Gloria Condo.
I n 1 9 9 8 ,
Gl o r i a wr o t e
to the curator
of the National
Portrait Gallery
in Washington,
D.C. and he put
her in contact
wi t h Anne t t e
Peck in Ohio.
Annette Peck
h a d ma r r i e d
i n t o t h e
Ingham family,
a n d b e c a m e
intrigued with her husband’s
ancestor and artist, Phineas
Staunton. She spent several
days in LeRoy searching
through our records. (It was
Annette’s research that brought
the Henry Clay painting to the
attention of Amy Burton in the
United States Senate.) Annette
provided a vast amount of
information to Gloria Condo
and visited her to see the portrait
of Julia Ingham.
In 2002, Gloria took the
portrait to an appraisal show
in Gainsville, Florida, and C.
Hugh Hildesley, of Southeby’s
gave her a verbal appraisal and
assured her that the painting
was indeed valuable, especially
since she had information
about the artist and Julia
Ingham. So Gloria treasured
the portrait of Julia Ingham and
stayed in contact with Annette
Peck in Ohio.
Just recently, Gloria died,
and the portrait was passed to
her daughter, Cheryl Slechta.
She remembered how much
her grandmother loved the
painting, and even remembered
her grandmother’s friend, Julia
Ingham Jones, who was related
to the woman in the portrait.
But it came time to find a
good home for the painting,
and Cheryl contacted Victoria
Golden, the art dealer.
I talkedwithVictoria recently,
and she told me that most art
dealers would have just sent
the portrait to auction, but
she believes that it is vital
to at least make the effort to
have paintings go to the best
possible place. She said, she
was honestly skeptical when
she emailed “jellodirector.”
As she said, “Why would
someone connected with Jell-O
be interested in Julia Ingham’s
portrait?” Of course I explained
all of that, and even told her
that we had all of Annette
Peck’s files. Tucked into the
file marked “Florida” were
copies of all the correspondence
Annette had with Gloria Condo
from 1997 and 1998. And again,
some letters from 2002, after
Gloria had taken the portrait
for appraisal. And surprisingly,
there was Victoria’s business
card, although she doesn’t
remember having contact with
Gloria twelve years ago.
So after many emails and
phone calls, we were able to
settle on a price that was OK
with Gloria Condo’s family.
They wanted the portrait of
Julia Ingham to be reunited
with the rest of her family. In
the meantime, several donors
came forward to help us bring
Julia home. Peter Nelson,
who had donated money for
a painting restoration, agreed
to let us transfer his money to
this project. Mary Chiafolo,
who lives in Ohio, and is a
descendent of the Ingham
family sent a check. Bob and
Sue Jones sent a check and
so did Bob and Beth Boyce.
So it was meant to be - - after
150 years, Julia Ingham was
reunited with her family. Her
portrait hangs on the wall facing
her two sisters. I think she is
faintly smiling.
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20
Powered by FlippingBook