This miniature portrait is unsigned and was acquired together with the adjacent portrait of Mary Green Marshall and some other family memorabilia, including about a dozen family photographs, most of which are identified on their reverse as to the sitter.
Recently all the family photographs have been added into www.ancestry.com so that any family researchers can see the photographs. During this process, it has been possibly to make a fairly confident identification of the sitter in this miniature, who was the only person not identified by name.
Accordingly, the sitter is now believed to be Dr Otis Frederick Manson (10 Oct 1822-1888) who married Mary Ann Burwell (1825-1874) in 1843. Mary Ann Burwell was the daughter of John Spotswood Burwell and Mary Green Marshall who can be seen in the adjacent miniature.
Judging by his clothing, the portrait of Otis F Manson was painted around the time of his 1843 wedding, most likely in Richmond and possibly by Edward F Peticolas (1793->1853). There is some similarity of style between this portrait and another in the collection, that of Richard Guy, which has been attributed to Edward Peticolas.
In 1850 Otis Manson lived at Nut Bush, Granville, NC and described himself as a physician. However, the 1850 census of slaves records that he owned eleven slaves. Possibly they were household slaves, rather than plantation slaves, as they were mainly female and include several very young children. He lived next to his father-in-law Spotswood Burwell, a farmer with 42 slaves. For the 1860 census, Manson disclosed assets of $27,000, had 23 slaves, and thus was a wealthy man prior to the Civil War.
During the Civil War, Dr Otis Manson was commissioned as a surgeon in the Confederate Army and later was surgeon in charge at Moore's Hospital. This building was originally a tobacco factory, but was taken over by the NC government, firstly to house Union prisoners and then later as a hospital, see General Hospital #24
An identified photograph of the father of Dr Otis Frederick Manson, Otis Manson senior was with the family portraits and has been reproduced here. The family likeness is apparent.
In 1880 Dr Manson lived with his daughter Anne Manson and another daughter Sally Spotswood Hunt(t). She had married Albert Lee Hunt(t)(see below) of Maryland, who in 1880 was a commerical traveller.
Also living with the family group in 1880 was the freed slave "uncle" Lee Burwell (1835->1910) shown in the very bottom photograph below.
In 1880 Lee Burwell was the cook and his wife Anna Belle Burwell (1843->1910) was a servant. They had both been born as slaves in Virginia on the plantation owned by Spotswood Burwell. From the 1870 census records, it appears that Lee was a farmer immediately after the Civil War and later commenced, or perhaps resumed, although now as a free man, the role of cook with descendants of the Spotswood Burwell family.
After the Civil War, in 1882 Dr Manson wrote a well regarded medical text entitled "A treatise on the physiological and therapeutic action of the sulphate of quinine". By then he was Professor of Physiology and Pathology in the Medical College of Virginia.
Dr Manson was the son of Otis Manson (1790-1862), the first architect of Richmond Va. who designed a number of buildings including the first hospital, see General Hospital #10 Also the three story Bolingbroke Hotel, see VA-QA8 Bollingbrook Hotel and the group of houses known as Linden Row and featured in Style Weekly, see Style Weekly : Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and ...
There is a book about him titled Otis Manson's early years in Richmond (Architecture in Virginia) by Sarah Shields Driggs.
A photograph of Albert Lee Huntt is shown here, together with a picture of the black cameo ring he wore throughout his life and which was included among the family memorabilia. A grandson of Otis Manson and son of Albert Lee Huntt, Albert Frederick Huntt (1869-1920) was also an architect in Richmond.
As mentioned above, the bottom photograph is of Lee Burwell a freed slave who remained with the Huntt family even after he was freed, in both the 1880 and the 1900 census he was their cook. The reverse of his photograph states "Uncle Lee Burwell, Jun 12th 1902, [presumably the date of the photograph]. Cook in Huntt family for years, born a slave in Burwell family. A perfect colored gentleman. Many people, looking at this picture, said this man must be General Robert E Lee !". The latter comment on the photograph was written by Sallie Spotswood Huntt Allen (12 Nov 1890-17 Mar 1969), a granddaughter of Dr Manson.
In the 1910 census, Lee Burwell can be found living with his wife at his son's home, Nathan Burwell and his family, in Boydton, Mecklenburg, Va. but despite being aged 76 Lee still gave his occupation as "cook for private family".
A kind visitor to the collection has communicated and advised that she is descended from the brother of Lee Burwell (aka Leigh Burwell and Taswell Lee Burwell), who was Nathan Spotswood Burwell and who was also born a slave in 1832. Nathan and Lee were two of eight children of the slave Fanny and were slaves at Spotswood Burwell's plantation "Spring Grove" in Granvill Co, NC.
The visitor advises the original plantation was “Stoneland” near Boydton in Mecklenburg County, Va. This was owned by Lewis, Spotswood’s father, and burned to the ground on New Year’s Eve 1815. Lewis had died in 1800, but he had many children still in the area. Not all went south to Granville County, NC, which was the next county down.
There is understood to be a book about the Burwell family titled "The Burwells of Kingsmill and Stoneland, An Account of An American Family, 1633-1900" by Robert Parker, see Re: Burwells of Virginia 471a