Up on eBay as we speak, at $1,500, an 1877 oil portrait said to be, per a helpful note on the canvas reverse, "Wyatt Earp from life," said note written it what is possibly a modern attempt at 19th century cursive. The artist signature reads W. A. Hildreth, probably William A. Hildreth, the little-known New England artist (ca. 1854--1914), who spent most of his life in Maine, retiring to California in the early 1910s. (His obit appears in the 5 September 1914 Los Angeles Herald.) In 1877 Hildreth was a young painter in Maine, and Earp was a young lawman on the move in where, Kansas and Texas?
It did strike me that perhaps we had a coincidence, that Maine counted among its young men a Wyatt Earp namesake, a store-keeper, lawyer, or some-such, who sat for Hildreth there in 1877, but Ancestry-com offered no one. We will assume the note was written years later, perhaps in the 21st century, by an enterprising scapegrace.
Daniel, I know nothing about the painting or W.A. Hildreth. Do you know if he was any relation to Samuel Clay Hildreth. Sam was born in Independence,Mo . His father owned a stable of race horses and S... more
interesting. I had never heard of the surname Hildreth before, but once I began truffling on Ancestry, newspapers.com, I found it more often than I would have imagined. Unfortunately, there... more
Dan, Sam Hildreth had a family member named William Hildreth, 1844-1925. By 1870, William was living in Illinois. I'm not sure if he painted .
Best I can determine, the painter & stage actor William A. Hildreth was born ca. 1854 in Eastport or Gardiner, Maine, and died 5 September 1914 in Santa Monica, California. He married Jennie... more
Dan,I think the reason you didn't find a family tree on Ancestry for W.A. Hildreth is because the person who posted the tree listed his birth year at 1855.
Robert, many thanks.
Ancestry's software works in mysterious ways: my search for William A. Hildreth, born in Maine ca. 1854 had turned up nothing. The tree is quite helpful, and indicates that ... more
Turned out the search fail was my error, not Ancestry's: I searched for exact first and last name "William A. Hildreth," which failed to match the family tree for "William Albert Hildreth."
Live a... more
Speaking of the Earps, JRESIN has up on eBay for a bargain $375,000 -- free shipping!! -- a tintype of the Earp brothers.