Hutchison Powrie was born in Kinnoull, Perth in 1842 and emigrated with his
family to Waukesha County, Wisconsin when he was 12. He enlisted in the
Wisconsin 5th Regiment when the Civil War began, and 50 of his letters home,
include comments to cousins still in Scotland, are a mixture of the horror
and humanity of war. He was a fifer in the regimental band, but learned the
bugle and fiddle while serving. He also carried stretchers and fought. He
carved bone and wood, and drew his fellow officers, including Gen. Grant,
with pencil and charcoal. The bone he got from the cook, and even made a
fiddle with glue made by himself but later wrote home for some "real glue"!
His art, like his music, was self taught as he formal education ended when
he left Scotland. At war's end he began a monument business in Fond du Lac,
Wisconsin. His monument for Gen. John Gibbon of "Iron Brigade" fame resides
at Arlington National Cemetery. Among his art is an oil painting of
President Lincoln, whom he had met twice during the war. He embraced the new
art of photography, and his son John would work one day with Thomas Edison
in the West Orange, New Jersey Facility on the early color photography
process. His hand carved pipe, his monuments, and his glass slides of his
native and adopted land are a legacy along with the artistic touch, as his
first cousin, four times removed Jane Frees-Kluth is now a sculptor of
beautiful public art.
Mary Powrie Schacht for
sending this in.