Jarvis F. Hanks

From Ohio History Central

Jarvis Frary Hanks was a prominent Ohio artist during the 1820s, 1830s, and 1840s.

Born in Pitsford, New York in 1799, Hanks first studied painting with his uncle. His uncle was a local carpenter, who also painted houses and various types of furniture. While still a teenager, Hanks left home to serve as a drummer boy in the United States Army during the War of 1812. At the end of the war, Hanks moved with his family to what is now Wheeling, West Virginia. In 1818, after spending one year in Wheeling, Hanks moved to Gallipolis, Ohio. There he and a partner established a cabinet-making business.

Hanks soon left the cabinet business and began traveling throughout Ohio and Virginia, earning a living as an artist. He studied briefly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1820s. In 1825, he established a studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Hanks moved to New York City in 1827 where he established another studio. He also played an active role in politics and published two different political newspapers. .

Hanks returned to Cleveland in 1835, where he opened a new studio. He traveled across the Midwest, painting on commission. When his painting services were not needed, he supplemented his income by teaching music on the violin and other instruments. He also was a strong supporter of the abolition of slavery and served as the secretary of the Cleveland Anti-Slavery Society. Suffering from tuberculosis (sometimes reported as a brain tumor), Hanks died on June 27, 1853.