“Landing of the Pioneers” painting depicting the arrival of The Ohio Company in 1788 (photo courtesy of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers)
Ohio Life

Ohio Finds: “Landing of the Pioneers” Painting

Artist Sala Bosworth’s work depicts the arrival of The Ohio Company in 1788. Samuel P. Hildreth, author of the 1848 book “Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley” commissioned the piece.

On April 7, 1788, a party of 48 settlers led by Rufus Putnam stepped onto the east bank of the Muskingum River, beginning a new era of expansion across the continent. The Ohio Company, as they were known, had left Ipswich, Massachusetts, the previous December, determined to start a new life. They succeeded, founding Marietta, which became Ohio’s first city and served as the capital of the Northwest Territory.

More than half a century later, Sala Bosworth, an American artist who initially specialized in portraits of prominent citizens, found himself wandering southeastern Ohio, painting the places as well as the people who resided there. His landscapes became an important marker of a quickly changing state. Among his most influential works was “Landing of the Pioneers,” an oil-on-canvas painting commissioned by Samuel P. Hildreth, author of the 1848 book, “Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley.”

Historical works like this painting are prized for the moments they capture, having been created in a day when those accounts were still fresh enough to be told firsthand by the people who participated.

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Richard Jeffers is the owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Columbus. garths.com