Born in England in 1823. Ryan was working in NYC in 1847 as a newspaper reporter. Bored with his existence there, he volunteered for service in the Mexican War in California. He enlisted in Colonel Jonathan Stevenson's First New York Volunteers. Arriving after the war was over, he was mustered out in Monterey in fall of 1848. Gold having just been discovered, he mined (unsuccessfully) in the Stanislaus River area where he made sketches of the mining activities and frontier towns. After coming to San Francisco, he worked as a house and ship painter while living in a tent in the outskirts of the city. During this time, he painted, sketched and faithfully kept a journal. Due to the rigors of the harsh living conditions, his health fail
Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"California on Stone
(Peters); New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America
(Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); First 100 Years of Painting in California
(J. Van Nostrand); Alta California, 11-15-1855 (obituary).Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here
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