Portrait of James L. Abernathy

Portrait James L. Abernathy
Portrait of James L. Abernathy Didactics
Collection Number: 
Current Location: 
Kirk Hall
Object Description
Object Type: 
Chalk Portrait of James L. Abernathy
 - Glass
31 1/4 inches
2 1/2 inches
37 inches

Col. James L. Abernathy was born in Warren County, Ohio, March 20, 1833. Abernathy was famed for his business acumen, most notably Leavenworth, KS where he moved to in the year 1856. Abernathy helped stimulate the economic growth of Leavenworth, turning it into a veritable Midwest-Boomtown of the middle nineteenth century. Abernathy, with his brother, William, began in the retail furniture business, the rudiment of which was to later to become a furniture manufacture, and this was the outset of one of the largest of Leavenworth’s industries. Abernathy also had a successful military career. Abernathy was given the rank of captain of Company K Eighth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and was in charge of this company on its forced march from Fort Scott to the post of Fort Kearney, in Nebraska. Later Abernathy served through the Cumberland Valley campaign, and was a participant in the Battle of Chickamauga. When the war abated he continued his business pursuits in Leavenworth. In 1859 Abernathy was married to Elizabeth Martin, and they had six children. In 1886 Abernathy was one of the initial organizers of the First National Bank of Kansas City, of which he became director, vice president and president. This chalk rendering of Abernathy captures a centered seated figure in his mature years. Abernathy is attired in three piece black suit, with a white shirt and black bow tie. Abernathy leans back against the chair in which he occupies, a picture of stalwart success. Abernathy sits cross legged, in a posture that suggests a refined professionalism, with his head supported by his right hand, and his left arm lays on across his left shin. The back ground is muted in color, but gives the suggestion of a bookcase to Abernathy's right, a reddish curtain in the middle of the portrait and a globe positioned on a book to his left.

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