Double Portrait (American, 19th century) Francina Elizabeth Cox Greer (1810-1885) and Her Son, John Thomas "Stump" Greer (1842-1880), circa 1845, Chalky Level Plantation, Clarke County, Georgia, unsigned, oil on canvas, 30 x 25-1/2 in.; modern parcel gilt frame,
laid on Masonite, scattered retouch throughout affecting approximately 15 percent of surface, craquelure
Lot Notes: A rare documented Georgia portrait, family tradition says this is Francina Elizabeth Cox Greer with son Stump (John Thomas Greer). Francina Elizabeth Cox Greer (1810) sits proudly with her son “Stump” (John Thomas Greer). A woman of tremendous energy and capacity, she bore 15 children in the course of her first 19 years of marriage and Stump was one of only three to survive to adulthood. The lively discourse that she sustained in the form of letters to friends, neighbors and family is housed in the Hargett Library at the University of Georgia. This correspondence, along with her detailed diary give significant insight into the life of this young woman. Her parents came to Clarke County, Georgia from Virginia. Her father, Richard Cox and Thomas Green, came to Athens to help build the Old College, the first permanent structure on the campus of Franklin College which is now the University of Georgia. The building still stands and remains in use. Elizabeth Cox married John Greer in 1826. Their farm holdings, slave ownership and tax records confirm their placement among the affluent planter class. They prospered in the decades preceding the Civil War. Elizabeth’s letters discuss her children’s health, the maintenance of the house, crop production and the evolution of Athens and Watkinsville. The Greers called their home Chalky Level because of the limestone deposits that were prevelant there. This home remained in the family, occupied by Norma Grant Greer and her children until 1932. At that time they removed five family portraits including the one offered here. These paintings have descended in the Greer family. It is possible, and there is some family history that suggests this portrait may be Mentoria Bushrod Cox, the sister of Francina Cox Greer. While we are unable to confirm either attribution, it seems more likely that it is Francina, as this picture descended in the house with four other Greer portraits.