Shared Photo: Hugh Ely Image 1

+11 votes

Hugh Ely, III (1760-1822)

I wanted to share this photo of an oil-on canvas portrait of my great great great great grandfather Hugh Ely, III, with the community. The story goes that the repaired bullet hole in the lower right has nothing to do with the Revolutionary (or any other) War - although that would have made its own great narrative! My great grandfather had just given the portrait of Hugh Ely, III, to my grandparents, and was coming for a visit and to see where in their house they had hung it. Unfortunately, the week before his visit, my father - a teenager at the time - was out and about on their property and discharged his rifle, sending a bullet through the dining room window and into the just-hung portrait of his patriot ancestor. The story doesn’t specify what befell my father for this misdeed, but my grandparents somehow managed to have Philadelphia Museum of Art conservators repair the damage within a few days and barely in time for the impending visit. Evidently their family time together was happy, although my grandmother recounted that her father-in law, a retired bank president, was elderly, but definitely not blind! Evidently, he examined the portrait in some detail, but apparently didn’t utter a word about any repairs (a bank president as well as a diplomat). Once is definitely enough! The portrait hangs today in our dining room and our own formerly teenaged son - who thankfully caused no further damage to the portrait - is  now a thirty-year-old lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina.

Date: c. 1795
Click here for the image details page or here for the full-sized version (2448 x 3264).

WikiTree profile: Hugh Ely
in Photos by Duncan Ely G2G2 (2.9k points)
edited by Duncan Ely
Great tale! Loved it, Duncan.
Thank you Duncan. Great painting, and terrific you have the story to go along with it.

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
What a treasure!  You are fortunate to have inherited such a wonderful portrait of a direct ancestor.  Thanks for sharing the picture, and for sharing the story behind it. And congratulations to your Dad for keeping the story of his punishment a secret!
by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (547k points)
selected by Charlotte Shockey
+7 votes
Wow!!! What a story. What a treasure.
by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (253k points)
Thanks! Discovering the names and dates is great, but fleshing out the stories and putting people into their historical contexts with fun and interesting stories is what brings genealogy alive for me.
Thank you.
+4 votes
Wonderful portrait and story. Thanks for sharing!
by John Noel G2G6 Pilot (712k points)

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