“The woman at the left of our picture, the mother,” Mrs Adams explained when she showed me the picture, “is my great and Minna Mar’s great-great-grandmother. Her grave is at Pittsfield. She came to Illinois in 1830. Her name was Elizabeth Kennedy [1779-1850] and she married Kennedy Long [1763-1821] of Baltimore, a colonel in the War of 1812. The baby standing on the sofa next to his mother, the little fellow in the dress, is my great-granduncle George Long [1798-1815]. Next to him sits my great-grandaunt Elizabeth [1802-1870]. She’s the one extending her hand with proud, patronizing largess toward her brother, the little chap in the dark jacket helping himself to the cherries in the basket. His name was Andrew Kennedy Long [1804-1866] and he grew up to be a member of the antarctic exploring expedition led by Captain Charles Wilkes – the Wilkes who later almost caused a war between England and America when he insulted the British flag by snatching Mason and Slidell from the deck of an English packet.”

“Andrew Kennedy [Long] served also as a captain in the Mexican War,” Minna Mar reminder her mother. “And his son acted as secretary for Andrew Johnson.”

To bring this back to the Maryland Campaign of 1862, that son was Andrew Kennedy Long, Jr.

He enlisted in the 3-month 9th Pennsylvania Infantry in early 1861 at age 18, then in the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, and was in action with them at Antietam. He was appointed First Lieutenant in the 12th Tennessee Cavalry (US) in February 1864 and in 1865 commissioned Major and Assistant Adjutant General – a staff officer – in the US Volunteers. It was probably in that role that he was military secretary to President Johnson. He was an officer in the Regular Army after the war and was a Captain and Commissary of Subsistence at his death by suicide in 1878 at age 34.



The quotes above are from the painting’s owners in 1941, Minna Adams and her daughter Minna Margaret Adams of Jacksonville, IL, as published in Jay Monaghan’s Old Masterpieces Discovered in the Corn Belt in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Volume 34, Number 3 (September 1941).

I think Mrs Adams had the children George and Andrew confused. From their birth dates according to family genealogists, Andrew was the younger boy, with sister Eliza between them. In 1805, Andrew would have been a baby in a confirmation gown and George about 7 years old.

The painting is by the “earliest documented professional Afro-American painter”, Joshua Johnson/Johnston (c. 1765-1830) [National Gallery of Art bio sketch]

This copy of the painting was shared online to the FamilySearch database by Peggy T Robinson in 2014 (free membership required).

This work and others of Johnson were part of a 1976 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York [catalog pdf].

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