Daniel Buck
Wyatt Earp oil portrait, 1877, or so they say
Sat Jul 17, 13:08

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.


    • Samuel Clay HildrethRobert Buckley, Sat Jul 17 15:30
      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
      • Re: Samuel Clay HildrethDaniel Buck, Sat Jul 17 17:59
        Robert, 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
        • Re: Re: Samuel Clay HildrethRobert Buckley, Sat Jul 17 18:36
          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 . https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/9055... more
          • Re: Re: Re: Samuel Clay HildrethDaniel Buck, Sun Jul 18 3:25
            Robert, 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
            • William Albert HildrethRobert Buckley, Sun Jul 18 5:13
              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. https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/pe... more
              • Re: William Albert HildrethDaniel Buck, Sun Jul 18 5:54
                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
                • Re: Re: William Albert HildrethDaniel Buck, Sun Jul 18 9:06
                  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
                  • Relisted - Only $500Mel Graf, Sat Jul 24 18:37
                    The note looks absolutely clownish. As an aside, I see “The Lost Story” portrait of “Earp” hasn’t gained the once promised traction. It appears that one of the authors has passed.
                    • Earp phto -- $375,000, free shipping!!Daniel Buck, Wed Jul 28 0:51
                      Speaking of the Earps, JRESIN has up on eBay for a bargain $375,000 -- free shipping!! -- a tintype of the Earp brothers. https://www.ebay.com/itm/255068245867?hash=item3b63408f6b:g:w5wAAOSwdMRghJ... more
                    • Re: Relisted - Only $500Daniel Buck, Sun Jul 25 3:20
                      When the price drops to $50, for a 19th century oil of an anonymous man by the seriously obscure Maine portraitist W.A. Hildreth, it might be a fair price.
  • Click here to receive daily updates