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 William Brenton Boggs  (1809 - 1875)

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Lived/Active: District Of Columbia/New York/New Brunswick/New Je      Known for: landscape and coastal view sketches, Pacific survey images

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Ad Code: 3
William Brenton Boggs
from Auction House Records.
Bridge crossing
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following are comments relative to the spelling of the artist's middle name, which sometimes is listed as Benton but which because of these entries has been changed to Brenton.

These comments are from Sandy Rowe:

I came across the name W. Brenton Boggs researching the name Ellen CARTER, and have noted the following conflicts:

# In the database "Washington, DC Marriages, 1826-50", she is listed as Ellen Williams Carter, and he is W. Brenton Boggs, m. 10/10/1842.

# In the database entitled, Encyclopedia of American Biography, another individual is listed, George BRENTON Boggs, again with the 'R' in the name - possibly a son or a nephew, given the middle name. Date of birth: Jan 8, 1844, in Somerville, NJ - less than a year and a half after the Boggs/Carter marriage. Reference to Herrinshaw's Encyclopedia of America Biography of the Nineteenth Century, page 126.

# In the database entitled, "Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI): 116776 William Brenton Boggs - again with the R - 1809 - 1875, references the New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564-1860, George C. Grove and David H. Wallace, New Haven, CT, etc.

#116777 Same reference as above, William Brenton Boggs, 1918 - many references to Canadian Who's Who and similar. Descendant?

# A Genealogy of Known Descendants of Robert Carter of Corotoman, by Florence Carlton, p 387 (last line) Ellen Carter m. W. Brenton Boggs (with the 'r') similar in the above book's predecessor, The Carter Tree, Channel Lithograph, p. 129. same entry.

My points are that while Miss Ellen may also have been known as Eleanor, in spite of the entry in the marriage register, her husband's, your subject's name appears to be William Brenton Boggs, and he may have used his middle name as a first name to the extent that spelling it correctly would seem to be important.

These comments are from Jackie King:
A followup to the notes from Sandy Rowe on the artist you identify as William Benton Boggs.

His middle name was indeed Brenton, as is evidenced by the Civil War pension (Certificate No. 2133), granted his wife, Ellen M. Williams Carter Boggs.  Ellen Moore Carter was the youngest daughter of Charles
Landon Carter and his wife Ann Steuart of Fauquier County, Virginia. 

Her parents were both dead before she reached adulthood and she was taken in by her aunt and uncle, Jeremiah Williams and Susan Katherine Stewart Williams - and at that time added Williams to her name. They had no natural children, and Ellen inherited their properties in Georgetown and surrounding areas.

The Brenton in William's name is carried throughout the Boggs' family.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William Brenton Boggs, a landscape painter who worked in oil, watercolor and pencil, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His family had strong military tradition, and he studied in Middletown, Connecticut at Captain Partridge's Military School. He spent much of his life in the Navy and had official duties as an artist during his naval employment.

After completing his education, he worked in New York City in the late 1830s and early 1840s for the Phoenix Bank and during this period painted landscapes of New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. His painting skills were recognized with his election as an associate to the National Academy of Design, and he exhibited there from 1839 to 1844.

In 1842, he became a civilian clerk in the Navy Department in Washington DC and that same year married Ellen Williams. From 1852 to 1864, he traveled with the Navy, first commissioned as a purser. From 1852 to 1856, he served with the Pacific Surveying Expedition on the U.S.S. Vincennes under the command of Commodore Cadwalader Ringgold and Commander John Rodgers. On this expedition, William Boggs was one of two artists, and he made pencil landscape drawings, two that are in the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC., and also watercolor sketches.

While on the Pacific survey expedition, he became friends with fellow artist Edward Meyer Kern, who gave him many of his drawings.

In 1864, he was injured in a fire on board the S.S. Mound City and returned to Washington where he lived until his retirement in 1873. He died there in 1875.

He was a member of the Washington DC Art Association and exhibited in their first annual exhibition in 1857. His work is in the Corcoran Gallery.

Sources include:
Peter Hasting Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
Groce and Wallace, Dictionary of Artists in America

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

William Boggs is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painted in Latin America
Artists who painted Hawaii

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