I’ve been doing some work on my Baldwin and Hite ancestors and ran across an item of interest that I wanted help with.
If you have ever been to Belle Grove, in Frederick County, VA., you have probably seen the portraits of Major Isaac Hite, Nelly (Madison) Hite, James Madison Sr. and Nelly (Conway) Madison.What I recently found out was that these four portraits by Charles Peale Polk were actually a set of six – all painted at the same time.The fifth was a portrait of Frances Taylor (Madison) Rose and the sixth was of Nelly Conway Hite at age 10!You may know she married Dr. Cornelius E. Baldwin and was the mother of James Madison Baldwin - my great great grandfather.
All six of these portraits were in the estate listing of Major Hite at his death in 1836.These six portraits went to his son Madison Hite, except the picture of Nelly Hite that went to her son Dr. Isaac Hite Baldwin.Dr. I. H. Baldwin was James Madison Baldwin’s older brother.The two of them lived quite close to each other for their entire adult lives.
The whereabouts of this sixth portrait are now unknown.I have not read Dr. Isaac Hite Baldwin’s will yet or seen the inventory of his estate, but I have a copy of his widow’s will and the portrait was not in her estate inventory.Dr. Baldwin had no children of his own and his widow left everything to her nephew Harrison B. Keckley, the son of her brother, with the exception of $300 each to go to Mary B. Roe’s two children, Amos and Clara.Mary Briscoe (Baldwin) Roe was the sister of Isaac Hite Baldwin (nephew of the Dr. by the same name) who was my great grandfather.Isaac the Younger and his other sister Ann Eleanor (Baldwin) Roe (yep … the two sisters married brothers…) received nothing.
I am in contact with some Roe descendants as well as other Baldwin descendants, trying to find out if anyone knows anything about this portrait.My hope is that it is hanging in a family room somewhere and not disintegrating in some attic.As an original Charles Peale Polk portrait it is quite valuable, but I mostly want a glimpse of what my great great great grandmother looked like in her youth.