MERRIAM, William Rush

Head and shoulders. Oil on canvas, 26.3/4” x 21.1/2”.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, RI, U.S.A.

The artist; Jessica Dragonette; her husband Nicholas M. Turner; his gift to the University of Wyoming, 1987; their gift to the Preservation Society of Newport County 2008.

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William Rush Merriam was born on July 26, 1849 at Wadham’s Mills, New York, the son of Colonel John Lafayette Merriam (1825-1895) and Mahala Kimpton DeLano (1831-1857), and died in Port Sewall, Florida, to where he had retired, on February 18, 1931. He started work in 1871 as a clerk at the Merchants National Bank in St. Paul, and from 1883 to 1887 he served in, and in 1887 became speaker of, the Minnesota House of Representatives; he eventually became the eleventh Governor of Minnesota in 1889 and held office until 1893.

A portrait of this subject is mentioned in the St. Paul Dispatch, October 26, 1892, and may have been painted in that year.