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Historical Materials

Historical Materials  »  Fitz Henry Lane Biography  »  Biographical information

Biographical information

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (3) »

A biography of Lane appears in the "About the Artist" section, but  documents related to his life are contained in this table. 

Related tables: Chronology »  //  Davidson, Dr. Herman Elvas »

publication
1830 Gloucester Telegraph 9.18.1830
9.18.1830
Newspaper
"Distressing Fire" col. 1
Gloucester Telegraph
American Antiquarian Society

A great fire swept through Main St. in Gloucester:

“We have been called to witness the most distressing calamity which has ever visited our citizens. A considerable part of our town is in ruins. On Thursday morning, about 4 o’clock fire was discovered in the house owned and occupied by Samuel Gilbert, in Front Street, and is supposed to have commenced in a building in rear of said house, though the exact spot in which it originated is not accurately known, The flames spread with such rapidity, notwithstanding the calmness of the atmosphere, that no effectual check could be given, until they had destroyed upwards of 20 dwelling houses, together with about 40 stores, mechanic’s shops and other smaller buildings. These were mostly on the south side of the street, and between it and the water. Crossing the street, however, it destroyed several buildings, but was fortunately arrested at the store of Kimball & Hough, by demolishing two small buildings adjoining. It was finally checked by the arrival of assistance from Sandy Bay, Essex, Manchester and Ipswich, the engines from those places rendering the most important services, as without them the greater part of the village must have been consumed. We feel very grateful to the citizens of the above named places as well as to those of Salem, Beverly, Danvers & Marblehead. They set out very promptly at the first information of our distress, but in consequence of the general confusion & anxiety that prevailed, suitable measures were not taken to obtain seasonable aid from the most distant of these towns.

The disaster has fallen upon that part of our town in which the most business was transacted, and the sufferers are among our most active and enterprising citizens. No correct estimate of the losses sustained can, at present be made. – Great praise is due to the citizens generally for their intrepidity and vigorous exertions on this occasion . . . “

Lane was not mentioned by name, but he would have removed his furniture along with others.

publication
1831 Gloucester Telegraph 10.1.1831
10.1.1831
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph: List of Letters, p. 3, col. 4
American Antiquarian Society

"List of Letters Remaining at the Post Office at Gloucester"

Nathaniel B. [sic] Lane got mail on Oct. 1, 1831

publication
1844 Boston Almanac listing F. H. Lane as Marine Painter
S.N. Dickinson, printer
1844
The Boston Almanac for the Year 1844. By S.N. Dickinson. Boston: Published by Thomas Groom & Co., Stationers' Hall, 82 State Street.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

F.H. Lane is listed under Marine Painters at 28 Joy's building

Also filed under: Publications »

publication
1845 Boston Almanac listing F. H. Lane as Marine Painter
1845
The Boston Almanac for the Year 1845. By S.N. Dickinson. Boston: Published by Thomas Groom & Co., Stationers' Hall, 82 State Street.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

F.H. Lane is listed under Marine Painters at 16 Tremont Temple

Also filed under: Publications »

publication
1847 Boston Almanac listing F. H. Lane as Marine Painter
S.N. Dickinson, printer
1847
The Boston Almanac for the Year 1847. By S.N. Dickinson. Boston: Published by Thomas Groom & Co., Stationers' Hall, 82 State Street.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

F.H. Lane is listed under Marine Painters at 16 Tremont Temple

Also filed under: Publications »

publication
1849 Unknown Newspaper 7.4.1849
7.4.1849
Newspaper
Cape Ann Library and Archive

"To F.H. Lane Esq. whose Skill as a artist is so well known and appreciated, the Floral procession was indebted for much of its beauty, especially for the banners and paintings; his whole time for several days having been devoted with his usual liberality to the success of the undertaking."

manuscript
1852 Journal of John M. Stevens
John M. Stevens
September 1–November 18, 1852
Personal journal
Wilson Museum, Castine, Maine
Box 2, F1 (A00772)

John Stevens was the younger brother of Joseph Stevens, and acquainted with Lane, spending time with him in Gloucester and at the family home in Castine. His journal, quoted below, includes reference to hunting plover and teal, school, sailing, local events. Mentions Castine mill, lighthouse, and block house.

"Friday [September] 17th: Cloudy all day. Wind N. blowing quite hard. A British Rig loaded with salt from Liverpool came into port last night. She run way up by the Monument and got aground. They kedged her off this P.M. and came down. She came in with one of these old English charts as her guide. They have the town set down on the Brooksville side, two miles + three quarters from the lighthouse."

"Wednesday [September] 22. . .Went down to the Indians Camp on the Back Cove. There were five camps of them." 

Visits Gloucester from Castine:

"Wednesday [October] 27th. . .Left for Gloucester [from Boston] at 5 o'clock this P.M. arrived there safe + sound at 6 1/2 o'clock; went right down to the store and saw Joe. We then went up to his house and got supper.

"Thursday [October] 28th. At. Gloucester. Pleasant day. Went down to the "Cut" a gunning this morning before breakfast but saw no birds. Went out in the harbor this forenoon alone, had a fine sail but couldn't get a chance at any birds. Went out again this P.M. got down to East Point Light and the wind died all away, so I had to scull home."

"Friday 29th. Very pleasant day, went out in the harbor this morning with Joe. Took a walk this A.M. with "Lina", called on Mr. Lane + Doct. Hildreth. Joe + I went out in the harbor this P.M. I fired at some birds several times, but didn't get any. . . ."

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (1) »

Also filed under: Bird Hunting »   //  Castine »   //  Castine – School »   //  Chronology »   //  Cut, The (Stacy Blvd.) »   //  Diaries / Ledgers / Etc. »   //  Stevens, Joseph, Jr. »

publication
1865 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.18.1865
8.18.1865
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Lane's obituary:

"Death of the Artist Lane.


In our last issue we stated that Mr. Fitz H. Lane, the artist, was very dangerously sick and not expected to survive. He died on Sunday, about ten o'clock, and his funeral took place on Tuesday, from his residence on Locust street, Rev. Mr. Mountford, of Boston, officiating.

Mr. Lane was one of the finest marine artists in the country, and his pictures, for accuracy in delineation and beauty of coloring, were unsurpassed. In early life he had the misfortune to lose the use of his feet, from the effects of gettin poisoned, and was thus rendered incapable of engaging in any manual labor, but this did not discourage him, and having quite a taste for drawing and painting, he employed his time in perfecting himself in these branches. Being quite ambitious he subsequently went to Boston, to learn the art of lithography, in which business he continued for some time, and the views of Gloucester which he has taken at different periods are among his best efforts in that line. Marine subjects were his special forte, and after a few years spent in the lithographing business, he opened a studio in Boston, and devoted his time entirely to painting. Having natural talent, he soon made great proficiency in the art, and became quite noted for the superiority of his pictures. He frequently visited his native town for his paintings, and finally removed here, where he erected a handsome stone cottage, with a studio in one part of the building, where he continued to furnish the public with the creations of his pencil, until his death.

Mr. Lane will be much missed in our community. He was always ready to assist in any charitable enterprise, by contributing his paintings, which have always realized good prices, and the manner of disposing of them has placed his productions within the reach of many, who otherwise would have to forego such a luxury. Fortunate are they who are possessors of his works of art, for they will prove doubly dear to them now that he who executed them is no more with us. He did not confine himself strictly to his studio, but spent much of his time, in the summer season, to the cultivation and adornment of his grounds, which are very tastefully laid out and the admiration of all who visit them. A love for the beautiful in nature and art seemed to possess his sould, and the talent entrusted to him has not been hidden. For the past two or three years he has suffered greatly from disease, and has been gradually failing, although he has kept about his work most of the time, until last fall, when he was wholly prostrated and not expected to survive; but when spring came he rallied and was enabled to resume his pencil again. About a fortnight since he was taken with a sudden ill-turn, and rapidly grew worse until death relieved him of his sufferings. He was much beloved by all who knew him, and a large circle of acquaintances will mourn his loss."

publication
1865 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.8.1865
8.8.1865
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"ILLNESS OF ARTIST LANE.– We regret to learn of the dangerous illness of Mr. Fitz H. Lane, the artist, and it is feared that he will not survive. Mr. Lane was quite sick during last winter, but had so far recovered his health as to resume his pencil again, and has recently finished several paintings. Last Sabbath he was taken with a sudden ill turn and has gradually been failing until the present time, lying in an almost unconscious state. The possibilities of his recovery are very slight."

publication
1865 Gloucester Telegraph
1865
Newspaper

"Mr. Lane in his early youth exhibited uncommon proofs of capacity by drawings of wonderful vigor and truthfulness so that they attracted the notice of some of the best judges, among others of Mr. Pendleton, the pioneer of lithography. who took a genuine interest in the young artist and invited him to Boston where greater opportunity could be afforded him for study and improvement. This great promise of early life was fully redeemed in riper years when, self-taught, he mastered the difficulties of the art and took place in front rank of the marine painters of this country. An afflicting malady which crippled him for life prevented him taking extensive journeys for picturesque material but whenever it wass possible for him to reach striking and characteristic views of our coast he visited them and the number of fine works distributed throughout the country show with what judgement he selected his subjects and how happily he rendered them."

1867 Cape Ann Advertiser 10.25.1867
Procter Brothers
10.25.1867
Newspaper

Letter to the editor: "Fitz H. Lane's will and gift of the Old Fort painting in the Town Hall, sketched in 1859, from T. Sewell Lancaster and Joseph L. Stevens, executors."

Reply from Selectmen: "Mr. Lane was much esteemed by his townsmen not only for his skill as an artist, but also for his character, as a gentleman of Honor and Integrity."

publication
1892 Gloucester Daily Times 9.1.1892, Saville Letter
9.1.1892
Newspaper

"Fitz Lane has moved from Boston and lives on our street. I stepped into his room after dinner and found him painting a portrait of Eli F. Stacy's little daughter and her little dog by her side."

manuscript
Harbor East Ward Valuations 1820
City of Gloucester
1820
Harbour East Ward Valuations
Gloucester City Archives.

This tax record from 1820 indicates that his widowed mother was excused from paying taxes because she "supports a lame child."

Also filed under: Documents / Objects »

letter
Joseph L. Stevens to Joseph L. Stevens, Jr., 1856
Joseph L. Stevens
1856
Letter
Castine Historical Society, Maine

"[John] says Charles proposes to come down on Saturday—to return on Monday—so that may be so—I think of defering sending the pictures till then—it has been my intention to have sent them tomorrow. [??] went away on Monday last before I had time to have them boxed. Mr. Noyes will see to that. The have been, for a day or two, in Witherle & Co.'s store, where they were much admired—& a little remarkable, among the visitors there yesterday was Mr. King—the son of the Keeper of the Light—who was engaged in catching herring while you was at the Rock. He was very much pleased—thought it as natural as life—as it was to his recollection—having only left there a week since. He observed that he would not have believed Mr. Lane had so much in him. In case Charles does not come on Saturday how shall I direct the box—for I shall send it by express to Boston—I don't remember any thing was said about that. I hope you will come over to Owl's Head, as proposed—if so, you & Lane must come & spend one night at least. Our two teacher boarders came in the boat that took you away—but we can continue to accommodate some way or other. Mary is to leave on Monday next."

manuscript
Joseph L. Stevens, Sr. Diary 1857-
Joseph L. Stevens, Sr.
c. 1857
Personal diary
Wilson Museum, Castine, Maine

Monday, July 13, 1857: "Spent the Day in visiting round Gloucester - Mr. Lane's house, studio + garden, the cemetaries, Eastern Point, +c - the town has increased wonderfully since my youth."

Friday, December 12, 1862: "Went down to Rockport in co of Mr. Lane and Lancaster"

Thursday, August 27, 1863: "Joseph & Mr. Lane came today"

Tuesday, September 1, 1863: "Joseph & Mr. Lane went in stage to Bucksport, for home"

manuscript
Lane death certificates, August 1865
Dr. Herman Davidson, City of Gloucester
Gloucester City Archives.
PDF
view ]
manuscript
Record of the doings of Meetings Committees concerning the Celebration of the fourth of July A.D. 1853
May 30–June 11 1853
Manuscript
Meeting notes
Cape Ann Library & Archive

"The following Gentlemen were these chosen to arrange the Floral procession, viz: Thomas Baker / F. H. Lane / Joseph B Upton / C J Adams &  / Geo. E Marchant"

manuscript
Trask's Rock
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
c. 1855
Personal notebook
Wilson Museum, Castine, Maine

Note about historical importance of this Castine landmark: "On Saturday afternoon, August 11, 1855, with my friend the marine artist Fitz. H. Lane of Gloucester" visited Trask's Rock

Also filed under: Stevens, Joseph, Jr. »

PDF
view ]
manuscript
William Witherle Diary August 16–21, 1852
William Witherle
1852
Personal diary
Wilson Museum, Castine, Maine (A00060-1a-1h)

Description of an excursion taken by Joseph Stevens, Jr., Lane, Witherle, Samuel Adams, Jr., and George Tilden around the islands of Maine near Mt. Desert. The group hired the Sloop "Superior" which was owned by Pilot Getchell. In his diary, Witherle mentions multiple times that "Lane took a sketch" especially when the water was calm. Lane often stayed on board the boat, while the others went ashore.

 

Excerpts of the diary include:

August 16: "Lane has a knack for frying fish."

August 17: "leaving Lane to take a sketch, we took a climb."

August 19: "went to ascend one of the highest mountains. 3/4 the way up we had to wait – once in a while for Lane who with his crutches could not keep up with us – but got along faster than we thought possible . . .Lane got up about an hour after the rest of us."


The entire text is transcribed in an account published by the Wilson Museum.

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (6) »

Also filed under: "Superior" (Sloop) »   //  Adams, Samuel, Jr. »   //  Blue Hill »   //  Castine »   //  Chronology »   //  Diaries / Ledgers / Etc. »   //  Mount Desert Island & Rock »   //  Somes Sound »   //  Stevens, Joseph, Jr. »   //  Tilden, George »   //  Witherle, William Howe »

Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?section=Biographical+information (accessed December 18, 2017).
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