Dodge, John Wood - portrait of Eliza Jane Moffit Budd

This miniature portrait is signed on the reverse by John Wood Dodge (1807-1893). It reads "Painted by John W Dodge from New York City, Nashville Tennessee, September 8th 1840, Likeness of Mrs Eliza Budd, wife of Thos L Budd". This is the typical manner in which he signed the miniatures, and it is great pity that more artists did not sign so fully and clearly.

Dodge was born in New York and was exhibiting by 1829. However, frail health required him to move south to Nashville in 1841.

From the 1840 date of this miniature, it seems he painted some portraits in Nashville, before moving from New York in 1841. Presumably he went on a preliminary visit to see whether there was likely to be sufficient demand for his services. He painted over eleven hundred miniatures, which are recorded in a detailed account book he kept from 1828-1864. Beginning in the 1850's he also took up photography. He returned to New York when the Civil War broke out. He then went to Chicago in 1870 and returned to his Tennessee home in 1889.

Johnson comments on his work, "His carefully detailed portraits are direct, sprightly, and highly accomplished. The backgrounds are finely stippled, either of light brown or with striations of high-key pink, green and blue to resemble sky. Characteristic of Dodge's technique is thumbprint-shaped shadow which often appears to the right of the subject."

However, as can be seen with this miniature and the adjacent one, the thumbprint-shaped shadow is often absent.

As shown here, the case is engraved on the reverse "Eliza J Budd - July 31 1840". Possibly the portrait was commissioned on that date, perhaps as a 21st birthday present as it appears below that she was born in 1819 and was married in 1839. Thus perhaps Eliza sat for it in July 1840, but the miniature was then completed in New York by Dodge on Sep 8, 1840 and delivered to her on a subsequent visit by Dodge to Nashville.

Also shown is the title page of her hymn book which is engraved on the front cover in gilt letters "ELIZA J BUDD". The hymn book was sold by David Clark in Philadelphia in 1838.

Research has located a Eliza Jane Moffit who married Thomas L Budd on Nov 9, 1839 at Davidson, Tennesee. It therefore seems likely that the hymn book was a wedding present and the portrait a later present.

In trying to identify the Moffitt family more precisely, the following has emerged from research. A genealogy website records a Henry Moffitt (1794-1866), born in NC, whose wife was Mary and who had the following children and approximate birth dates; Brooks Moffitt 1815, Nancy Moffitt 1817, Liza Moffitt 1819, William Moffitt 1822, James Moffitt (15 Sep 1825-16 Feb 1890), John Moffitt 1828, Julia Ann Moffitt 1831, and Robert Moffitt (1833-1910).

This can be compared with the 1850 census record for Henry Moffitt and his family. In the 1850 census, Brooks, James, Julia Ann, and Robert are still living at home in Henderson Tennessee, but the other children are not there. This timing therefore fits with Liza (Eliza Jane) marrying Thomas L Budd in 1839 and thus no longer being at her parent's home in 1850.

Inside the hymn book is written another name which may read, "Lillie Budd Chamberlain Penn." This may be a later descendant.

There is also one other indistinct name inside the hymn book.

There is an excellent article about John Wood Dodge by Raymond White at Magazine Antiques: John Wood Dodge: and the portrait miniature 1025

Later - A kind visitor has provided some more information about Eliza which appears to correct some misinformation in my earlier post. The visitor advises;
Eliza Maffitt Budd was the daughter of the Rev. John Newland Maffitt (1794-1850), a very famous Methodist Episcopal preacher in the pre-Civil War years. I am looking for portraits of Rev. Maffitt for a book I'm writing on antebellum America and came across this one. I recognized it immediately. It's his daughter. There is a biography of Rev. Maffitt in the American National Biography Online, see American national biography - Volume 14 - Page 314. I believe it was written by a Prof. Robert E. Cray of Montclair State University. He was involved in many scandals. One allegation against him was that Eliza slept in the same bed with him and took her clothes off in front of him.
A summary of the biography by Professor Cray is as follows;
Maffitt, John Newland (28 Dec. 1794‐28 May 1850), Methodist preacher, was born in Dublin, Ireland, to a middle‐class family. He married Ann Carnic at age twenty. They had seven children; the oldest son, John Newland Maffitt, Jr., attained notoriety as a Confederate blockade runner during the Civil War. The would‐be preacher floundered financially. Maffitt's autobiography, Tears of Contrition (1821), at no point mentions his profession as a tailor. Business reversals in 1819 left the Maffitts in straitened circumstances and prompted Maffitt to go to America that year. Unable to gain the confidence of Manhattan Methodists, Maffitt worked briefly as a tailor in New York before heading to Connecticut in 1819 to speak at a camp meeting. He established himself as a charismatic preacher of the first order. His musical voice and poetic phrases produced large turnouts and increased membership in Methodist churches during the next few years. 

Maffitt's behavior in and away from the pulpit, however, attracted criticism, much of which focused on his foppish behavior, unusual gallantries to female admirers, contradictory statements about his tailoring past, and meager intellectual attainments. Attacks against Maffitt on these grounds in the New England Galaxy, a Boston newspaper edited by Joseph T. Buckingham, a newsman known for barbed commentary, led to a slander suit by Maffitt in 1822. Buckingham highlighted the preacher's denial and later admission of his tailoring background, reported that he plagiarized a sermon, and suggested that he enticed young women to his bedchamber during a "pretended" sickness. The ensuing trial in Boston redefined the course of libel law in the United States when the judge, Josiah Quincy, Jr., permitted the truth as a basis for the newspaper's defense.

Maffitt remained a popular speaker but his personal life suffered from marital discord, and the Maffitts separated and divorced. As a freelance revivalist during the 1830s and 1840s paid speaking engagements provided him with a constant source of revenue. Described by one admirer as the "Beau Brummel of preachers", the nattily attired, unusually handsome minister captivated audiences much as before. An 1838 camp meeting near Nashville, Tennessee, where Maffitt preached for two weeks, had one observer recall how "grey‐headed men might be seen trembling like leaves in a rushing wind; and beautiful maidens, with jewelled hair, were heard to shriek as if in the presence of a ghost from eternity". 

Maffitt's preaching career fell apart in the Northeast during the mid‐1840s, while accusations of unprofessional behavior centered on drinking and womanizing increasingly clung to Maffitt. Complaints in 1846 against the revivalist by a Methodist family in New York City led to an ecclesiastical investigation. Although Maffitt dismissed the complaint as involving no more than a young black servant girl seeing him respond to a call of nature in the bedroom, the Methodist authorities, who never publicly detailed the incident, obviously thought it a serious breach of professional etiquette. Maffitt refused to appear before his colleagues, so the conference stripped him of his preaching license, for nonattendance. Maffitt's marriage to Frances Pierce, a seventeen‐year‐old woman, added to negative publicity. New York City tabloids spun exaggerated stories about the couple when Fanny left her husband in late 1847. Stories about an attempted drunken seduction by the minister and an abortion performed on Fanny appeared in the Police Gazette. Maffitt was unable to refute the charges. His subsequent southern career, more modest than before, ended with his death in Mobile, Alabama, due to heart trouble.
Another kind visitor has sent me some further information including; Eliza J. Maffit - The recording of her marriage to Thomas Budd is perplexing. Maryland records show that they were married in Baltimore, while Tennessee records show their marriage to have been in Davidson County, Tennessee. - Maryland marriages1655 to 1850: Married T.L. Budd 9 November 1839 in Baltimore, Maryland. - The Baltimore Sun recorded the marriage of T.L. Budd to Eliza J. Maffitt daughter of John N on 29 November 1839 - The Tennessee Marriage and Bible records show a recording of the 9 November 1839 marriage on page 2. A paper titled "Bible Records - Tombstone Inscriptions records "Marriages Solemnized by Robt. Boyte C. Howell From 1834 through December, 1849, in Nashville, Tennessee" It shows under the year 1839, "Nov 9, T.L. Budd to Miss Eliza Jane Maffitt" - "State of Tennessee, Davidson County - Record of Marriages for1839" "Budd, Thos L. to Eliza Jane Maffitt, Signed November 9, 1839, Solemnized the 9th. day of November A.D. 1839 by R. B. C. Howell Pastor Baptist Church"

Although I have not yet been able to confirm it absolutely, it appears Eliza was a sister of the Confederate privateer, John Newland Maffitt (1819-1886)  Captain John Newland Maffitt - Cape Fear Historical Institute As Wikipedia kindly comments;

In May 1861, with the coming of the U.S. Civil War, Maffitt resigned his U.S. Navy commission and became a First Lieutenant in the Confederate States Navy. He served as a naval aide to general Robert E. Lee while preparations for the defense of Savannah were in progress.

In early 1862, Maffitt was ordered to the civilian steamer Cecile to run the blockade with supplies for the Confederacy. On August 17, 1862, he became the first commanding officer of the cruiser CSS Florida, taking her through a difficult outfitting period during which most of the ship's company was stricken with yellow fever. While in port in Cuba, Commander Maffitt himself contracted the disease. In this condition, Maffitt sailed Florida from Cárdenas, Cuba to Mobile, Alabama. With the way into Mobile Bay blocked by Union warships, Florida braved a hail of projectiles from the blockaders and raced through them to anchor beneath the guns of Fort Morgan. The bombardment from the blockaders was severe and the damage to Florida was so great that Maffitt did not return to sea for more than three months. To prevent his escape, the Union Navy increased the blockading force near Mobile.

Having taken stores and gun accessories the ship lacked, along with added crew members, Maffitt waited for a violent storm before setting out on January 16, 1863. He used trickery to lose six pursuing blockaders. After coaling at Nassau, Bahamas, Florida spent 6 months off North and South America and in the West Indies, with calls at neutral ports, all the while making captures and eluding the large Federal squadron pursuing her. It was during this period that he acquired the nickname "Prince of Privateers" (which was somewhat inaccurate, since he was a naval officer and not an actual privateer.) Maffitt was promoted to the rank of Commander in May 1863 "for gallant and meritorious conduct in command of the steam sloop Florida." Ill health due to the lingering effects of yellow fever forced him to relinquish command of Florida at Brest, France on February 12, 1864. In the summer of 1864, after returning to the Confederate States, Maffit was given command of the ironclad ram CSS Albemarle. Under Maffit's command, Albemarle dominated the Roanoke River and the approaches to Plymouth, North Carolina throughout the summer.

In September, he was given command of the blockade runner CSS Owl. On October 3, Owl escaped to sea from Wilmington; the blockaders wounded her captain and several crewmen but 9 shots failed to stop them, and Owl arrived in Bermuda on October 24 with a large and valuable cargo of cotton. Maffit made several more successful runs through the Union blockade in Owl before the war ended. During his service to the Confederacy, Maffitt repeatedly ran the blockade to carry needed supplies and captured and destroyed more than seventy prizes worth $10 to $15 million.


Dr. Tiger said...

Eliza Jane Moffitt Budd is my 2nd great grand aunt. Her brother, John A. Moffitt of Henderson Co., TN, is my direct ancestor. It was great to see her portrait! Do you own the miniature? Also, I was curious how you managed to locate her personal hymn book?

Thanks again for posting this portrait!

-- Mike Moffitt (Austin, TX)

Don Shelton said...

Hi Mike,
I am glad you found the miniature. Yes, it is now part of the collection. It and the hymn book were purchased separately on eBay in early 2005. Although the hymn book was outside the focus of the collection, it seemed too sad to allow them to be separated.

Anonymous said...


Don't know if you ever found any of the family history on Eliza Budd, but I am a direct descendant of one of her brothers, Frederick Maffitt. I could give you lots of info.

Ben Maffitt

Don Shelton said...

Hi Ben,
My own research is limited to identifying a sitter, the artist, or adding interesting anecdotes, to help other researchers find the information. However, I am very happy for you to add similar anecdotal or interesting research about Eliza via the comments section if you wish. Preferably information that cannot readily be found elsewhere.