Portrait of David Witmer, Sr.
Companion to Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1970-254-2
Artist/maker unknown, American
In addition to his occupations as farmer, miller, stage coach operator, and innkeeper, David Witmer supervised the construction of a stretch of the Lancaster Turnpike, a paved road between Lancaster and Philadelphia that passed near the town where he lived. He later named the town Paradise and helped build the local school and the Mennonite meetinghouse, but was turned out of the congregation for having too fine a home and springs on his wagon. Literally depicting Witmer as a monumental figure in the community, the unidentified country portrait painter who rendered this image also captured the sitter’s force and intelligence.