Lancaster’s Portrait Painter and Artist
City Directories and History: J.F.G. Mittag (1803-
1890), painted this self portrait. He was a medical doctor, teacher, lawyer and artist. He was born in Maryland and came to Lancasterville in 1827. The only occupation Mittag found profitable was ownership of the Mittag Inn, located across from the Courthouse.
For additional information on Mittag, see the Lancaster County Pictorial History Book, page 55, or below:
J. F. G. Mittag (1803-1890) painted this self-portrait. The medical doctor-lawyer- teacher-artist was horn in Maryland and came to Lancasterville in 1827 with a friend who had been appointed to the Franklin Academy. The only occupation Mittag found profitable was as owner of Mittag Inn across from the courthouse. He married the only child of Lancasterville’s richest man, Irish-born Roman Catholic William McKenna. McKenna was colorful and controversial from the day he set foot in Lancasterville in 1803. Still, no one was (prepared for the terms of his will when he died in 1851. He made no mention of his second wife and cut off Anna Mittag with only a life annuity of $50 and no provision for his four Mittag grandchildren. The Roman Catholic Church in Charleston and Ireland was made heir to over $300,000.)
The case was settled eight years later in a decree handed down by the Lancaster County ordinary, P. T. Hammond, which awarded the estate to Mrs. Mittag. The Lancaster Sax-Horn Band led a grand parade down Main Street to honor the Mittags and to celebrate the retention of the McKenna money in local hands. A splendid description of J. F. G. Mittag is given in Marion Sims’s Story of My Life. Sims has much to say about the duel that Mittag had with Herschell Massey and Mittag’s knowledge of the classics (he spoke nine languages). After describing Mittag as a “ripe scholar” and “one of the handsomest men I ever saw,” Sims added, “.. .in my early days, I loved him dearly. I was fond of him because he hail no friends and he was kind to me…. ” Photograph in Perry Belle Bennett Hough Collection, courtesy of the Lancaster County Library / Courtesy of the Lancaster County Pictorial History by Bishop and Pettus, 1984
The Rock Hill Herald reported on April 22, 1880 – “Dr. Mittag, formerly of Lancaster and now of Charlotte, claims to have invented the principal of which the telephone is constructed.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Aug. 21, 1884 – “Dr. J.F.G. Mittag, a gentlemen well known by many of our citizens in years past and an artist of no mean reputation, is now in Yorkville and will make his home here with his daughter Mrs. Craven.”
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