Civil War Soldier & Artist


July 24, 1825 - February 16, 1908

Western Pennsylvania resident was a Civil War artist,
a West Virginia soldier and a renowned landscape artist.

By Linda Cunningham Fluharty


© July, 2001 Linda Cunningham Fluharty.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used
or reproduced without written permission of the author.



     "E. Bott, Artist" is written in the lower left corner of a pencil drawing, a copy of which was sent to me earlier this year by Bob Moore of Idaho.

     The original drawing has been in Moore's family for about eighty-five years. He said the drawing of six First West Virginia Infantry Civil War soldiers, as well as a book about that regiment, were obtained by his grandfather, Charles Dague, from C. J. Rawling, the author of the First West Virginia Infantry regimental history, and one of the subjects in the drawing.


(Click Here For Story)

     I was immediately intrigued by the drawing and I asked Bob if he would be willing to sell it to me. He was not inclined to do so. Rather, he had sent the drawing for Internet publication, with the hope that descendants of the soldiers would contact him and he could provide them with a nice copy of the drawing.

     The names of the soldiers, as well as that of the artist, appear on the drawing. In a short time, I compiled some interesting biographical information about the men, all from the Wheeling, W. Va. area. - And since that time, I have come to possess a First Infantry regimental book, as well as the West Virginia Civil War medal of one of the soldiers in the picture. - But who was the artist?


     The investigation into the identity of the artist might never have progressed, had it not been for an encounter with the name, "Emile Botte," with "Bott" written above, on a microfilm of Civil War information obtained from the West Virginia State Archives.

     At the bottom of a page about Mountain Howitzers was, "Memoranda. Recruits in 1st W.Va. Light Artillery, Battery not known." A list of twelve names is given, as well as the usual information about enlistment. This was out of place; not with other information about the 1st W. Va. Light Artillery regiment.

     Continuing on the next page, "In the 1st Regiment West Virginia Light Artillery no record has been found of any Field and Staff. The following memoranda is taken from the order book on file in the Adjutant General's Office together with miscellaneous and is made a part of this record."

     The third name in the list of 13 men is Emile Botte. "Commissioned as 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant, Feb. 5, 1862, to rank same date. (Order Book #7) Also Order book #1. To be detached as Adjutant to Col. Daum's Command."

     But the name of Emil Bott does not appear in other records of the 1st West Virginia Light Artillery.

     Research reveals that some aspects of the life Emil Bott are known and have been written about, but they are often very vague and unsupported by the facts. A few references are on the Internet. However, no biography found reflects the scope of information presented here. Particularly, there is no known mention of his Civil War service from the state of West Virginia or of the many years he resided in Canton, Ohio.

Commission Document
Discovered by Terry Lowry, West Virginia State Archives, 6/2002.


     Emil von Bott, born in Wuerttemberg, Germany, July 24, 1825*, came to America with his father, Adolph, in 1848. By 1850, he was married to Emma Bocking and they were residing in Phillipsburgh Borough, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

     Invariably, Emil Bott's occupation is listed as that of "artist" and one of his early works, a lithograph, is dated 1851. His celebrated painting of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania was done in 1854.

     Most biographies offer that Bott returned to Germany at some point and studied at the Dusseldorf Academy. If this occurred, the time cannot be discerned because it is a fact that Emil Bott appears in every federal census of Beaver County from 1850 until his death. It seems more likely that any study at Dusseldorf was undertaken prior to his immigration to the U.S. at the age of 23. Furthermore, while Bott apparently had resided in or had studios in a number of areas around Pittsburgh during his lifetime, the family apparently stayed in Beaver County.

     Beyond this publication, nothing has been found that describes Emil Bott's whereabouts during the time of the Civil War but, as stated above, he did, indeed, serve in the war from the state of West Virginia. It is known that a number of Emil's pencil drawings were done in the Wheeling, W. Va. area and his brother-in-law, Edmond Bocking, was a pharmacist in Wheeling.

     Following the war, it appears that the Bott family, still residents of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was sustained by Emil's work as an artist.


1850 Federal Census, Phillipsburgh Borough, Beaver County, Pa.:
#46-50 - Emmel Bott, 25, Painter, born Germany; Emma, 23, born Germany.

1860 Federal Census, Phillipsburgh Borough, Beaver County, Pa.:
#631 - Amil Bott, 34, Artist, $700, born Frankfurt on Main(?); Emma, 32; Clara 9; Atilla(?), 4; Gusto(?), 1.

1870 Federal Census, Phillipsburgh Borough, Beaver County, Pa.:
Page 5 - Emil Bott - 45, Artist, born Prussia; Emma, 42, born Prussia; Clara, 19, born Pa.; Tillie, 14, born Pa.; Ammy, 8, born Pa.; Osker, 4, born Pa.

1880 Federal Census, 1st Ward, Rochester, Beaver County, Pa.:
Page 401B - Emil Bott, 54, born Frankfort; occupation, artist; father born Germany; mother born France. Emma Bott, wife, 52, born France; occupation, keeping house; parents born Germany. Emma Bott, dau, 18, born Pa. Oscar Bott, son, 14.

1900 Federal Census, 1st Ward, Rochester, Beaver County, Pa.:
Emil F. E. Bott, hoh, born July 1824 in Germany, age 75, widower. Father born Holland; mother born Germany. Immigrated 1848; been here 52 years; not naturalized. Landscape artist; can read and write; rents house.

     Sometime between 1880 and 1899, Emil lived for twelve years** in Canton, Ohio, working as both a portrait artist and an artist for the Diebold Safe Works Company.


1888-1889 - Emil Bott; Diebold Safe Works; Artist; 74 E. Third St., Canton, Ohio.
1889-1890 - Emil Bott; Portrait Artist in oil painting; 74 E. Third St., Canton, Ohio.
1892-1892 - Emil Bott; Safe Works; works; 296 N. Cleveland Ave., Canton, Ohio.

     But by 1891, still in Canton, he was facing indigency and applied to the Federal Government for a pension, based on his service in the Civil War. However, the sparse records of his service were in conflict with his own version of events and no pension was awarded. In short, he had no proof that he had served at least ninety days.

     The pleas of a desperate man, contained in his file at the National Archives, are presented here.

Pension File

     Emil Bott has long been regarded as one of Pittsburgh's most important artists of the mid-1800s. However, his life was a struggle, particularly toward the end. In 1906 he was again living in Canton, probably with his daughter, but later that year he was a resident of the Beaver County Home, also known as "the poor house." He died there on February 16, 1908. The cause of death was, "Old age and general debility."

     Emil Bott's grave in St. Peter's Church Cemetery, Monaca, Pa., was unmarked for many decades until Monaca funeral director, Alvin Batchelor, with a long-time interest in the life of Emil Bott, placed a marker on the grave. The Batchelor Funeral Home had buried Emil to the left of his wife, Emma. The inscription reads, "Emil Bott, The Painter."

     Of course Emil Bott was more than a painter. He was a renowned artist, a Civil War soldier and, in combination, a Civil War artist. Although he served for only a few months as a soldier, his many drawings have memorialized scenes of the Civil War.

     After gathering together these facts about the life of Emil Bott, it seemed appropriate to finally recognize Emil Bott's Civil War Service. On December 9, 2001, a goverment marker, mounted on granite, was placed on the grave by this writer, Linda Fluharty, with the assistance of David Aeberli of McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home, Mars, Pa.

St. Peter's German Lutheran Church Cemetery, Monaca, Pa.

Emma Bott's Tombstone

Linda Fluharty At Grave

(Photos by David Aeberli.)

Also buried at the cemetery are the sons of Emil & Emma:

Guido M. T. BOTT - B Sept. 27, 1858 - D Aug. 16, 1861
Ernst C. A. BOTT - B Mar. 14, 1864 - D June 26, 1864


Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette - January 25, 1899
Beaver, Pa. - January 24 - Mrs. Emil Bott, wife of the well-known landscape artist, is dead at Monaca, aged 73. She was the mother of four children, as follows: Oscar of Pittsburgh, Mrs. L. Le Goullon of Monaca, Mrs. Frank Powell of Monaca, and Mrs. Alfred Hamilton of Canton, O. She was the sister of the late Capt. Adolph Bocking of Allegheny.

Daily Times, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania - February 17, 1908
Died At County Home
Emil Bott, Distinguished Artist, Has Passed Away
     Emil Bott, aged eighty-three years, passed away Sunday at the County Home. Mr. Bott was quite an artist and a number of his pictures are on exhibition at the Carnegie Library, Beaver Falls.
     He is survived by one son and two daughters, Mrs. Frank Powers, of Rochester, and Mrs. Emma Hamilton, of Canton, O. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons Lodge of Pittsburgh.
     The remains will be brought to the home of his grandson, Edward Legoullon, of Pennsylvania avenue, Monaca, and the service will take place from his home on Tuesday afternoon.

Daily Times, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania - February 19, 1908
Services For Emil Bott
     Funeral services over the remains of Emil Bott were held Tuesday afternoon at two o'clock at the home of his grandson, Edward Legoullon, in Pennsylvania avenue, Monaca. The services were conducted by the Rev. L. H. Steller, pastor of the English Lutheran Church. The singing was by Mrs. A. D. Starret, Miss Carrie Ramer, Miss Leonia Rosenbaum and Mr. Himler J. Siegel. The interment was made in the old Monaca cemetery. Quite a number of the members of the Pittsburgh Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of which the deceased was a member, attended the funeral.

The Pittsburgh Press - February 18, 1908
Emil Bott
     After a short illness, Emil Bott, aged 83 years, a former Pittsburgh resident and a well-known scenic artist, is dead at the home of his grandson, Edward Le Goullon, in Monaca, Pa. He is survived by one son, Oscar Bott, of Pittsburgh, and two daughters.


(Provided by Gerald Hobson.)

Extraction from a List of Immigrants
Who Applied For Naturalization Papers in
The District Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Compiled by members of
The Western Reserve Genealogical Society
4338 Bigelow Boulevard
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213
p. 8

BOTT, Emil (1868) Res: Pgh.; Bn: Prussia, Frankfort; (SA) En: 22 Feb 1862, 1st Reg., W. Va. Light Artillery; Dis: 1 Mar 1863; Nat: 8 Oct 1868; Sp. H. P. MUELLER.


(Provided by Gerald Hobson)

Transcription of Soldier's Application
From the Files of the Prothonotary's Office
Allegheny County, PA

To The Honorable
The Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County,
The Petition of Emil Bott

RESPECTFULLY SHEWETH, That your Petitioner is a native of Prussia formerly from City of Frankfort and heretofore a subject of the King of Prussia that he has resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States of America one year; and that on the 9th day of February in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-two your petitioner enlisted in the Regiment 1st W. Virginia Light Artillery U.S. Army; and that on the 1st day of March 1863 he was honorably discharged from the United States Army; as appears by his discharge. Your petitioner, therefore, prays that he may be admitted a citizen of the Unites States, upon his taking the oath and producing the testimony required by Law; and he will pray, &c.

I, Emil Bott do swear that the facts set forth in this, my petition, are true; that I will support the Constitution of the United States; I do absolutely and entirely renounce and forever abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatever, and particularly I do hereby renounce and abjure forever all allegiences and fidelity to the King of Prussia of whom I was heretofore a subject.

Sworn and Subscribed in open Court, this 8th day of Oct. 1868

/SS/Emil Bott
(plus two other illegible signatures)

I, H. P. Mueller, A Citizen of the United States, do hereby swear that the Petitioner, Emil Bott he resided within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States of America one year last past, to wit: in Pittsburgh which place is within and under the Constitution of the United States; and that he is the same person who enlisted in and discharged from Regiment 1st, W. V. L. Artlly and that during his residence within the United States he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.

Sworn and Subscribed in open Court, this 8th day of October 1868
/SS/ H. P. Mueller
(plus two other illegible signatures)


From Southwestern Pennsylvania Painters - Collection of Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 1989.
BOTT, Emil
b. 1827, Wurtenburg, Germany
d. 1908, Phillipsburg (Monaca), Pennsylvania

     Emil Bott was one of Pittsburgh's principal artists of the mid-1800s. He was born in Wurtenburg, Germany and brought to America by his father Adolph Bott as members of an aristocratic religious cult organized by a certain Count de Leon. The younger Bott lived in Phillipsburg and went to school there until he traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany to study painting. In Dusseldorf, Bott developed a style that was deft, accurate and of high quality in the realistic technique popular at the time. This is the same painting tradition which influenced the art of one of Bott's contemporaries, George Hetzel.
     When Bott returned from Dusseldorf, he taught at a private school in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, which was operated by Miss Augusta Curtis. It has been speculated that around this time Bott married Emma, the daughter of another artist, Adolph Bocking. Their daughter was the first student at Thiel College.
     Before the Civil War, Bott moved to Pittsburgh where he lived on Fifth Avenue near where Mercy Hospital now stands. He exhibited in 1859 at the first show of the Pittsburgh Art Association. In 1865 Bott moved to Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, although he maintained a studio in downtown Pittsburgh for two more years. It was soon after the move in 1865 that Bott is said to have ridden the packet boats, doing decorations. This is supported by the discovery in 1946 by John O'Conner, Jr., Assistant Director, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, of a painting done on a door of a steamboat. O'Conner also noted that Earl Crawford, former president of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, was restoring a canvas of steamboats painted by Bott. This may have been profitable work, as many of those boats contained paintings by the very best artists available.
     The upper Beaver river appears to have been one of Bott's favorite subjects. Several views of the river have been found, including our painting of Beaver Falls, Pa. These images are of a documentary nature and have been reproduced in publications such as "History of Beaver County" and the Rochester Semi-Centennial souvenir book of 1899.
     Bott remained active until 1880, and then returned to Phillipsburg to live. From his home he could watch the rivers and paint. Bott, his wife Emma, and their sons Grodo and Oscar, are buried in St. Peter's Church Cemetery in Monaca, Pennsylvania.

17. Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, 1854
Oil on canvas; 25 1/4 x 38 1/4 in.
Signed and dated lower left: E Bott
Thomas Lynch Fund.

18. Pittsburgh, Pa., 1851, Hand painted lithograph; 6 x 8 inches.
Not signed: dated 1851; verso label
Signed in stone lower right: E Bott Lith Pittsburgh Pa; Onken's Lith. Cin. O
Director's Discretionary Fund.

19. Sheet I (three scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Residence of R. S. Caldwell, Esq.
     Signed in stone lower left: E. Bott
     B. Group of Spanish Merinos
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     C. Buffalo Post Office, Hopewell Twp., Wash. Co., Pa.
     Signed in stone lower right: E. Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 12 x 14 1/2 inches
Gift of Dr. Paul A. Chew, Greensburg, PA.

20. Sheet II (two scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Buffalo Sheep Farm, S. C. Work, Proprietor, Washington County, Pa.
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     B. Three Rams
     Signed in stone lower right: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 14 1/2 X 12 inches
Gift of Dr. Paul A. Chew, Greensburg, PA.

21. Sheet III (two scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Peters Creek, U. P. Church, Peters Tp.
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     B. Residence of J. S. Shaffer, Morganza Station, Washington Co., Pa.
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 14 1/2 X 12 inches
Gift of Dr. Paul A. Chew, Greensburg, PA.

22. Sheet IV (one scene), ca. 1855
     Locust Grove Farm, J. C. Gist
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 12 x 14 1/2 inches

     Verso (two scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Robert Perrine's Homestead, Cross Creek Twp. Washington Co., Pa.
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     B. Sheepfold
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 12 x 14 1/2 inches
Gift of Dr. Paul A. Chew, Greensburg, PA

23. Sheet V (two scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Mt. Pleasant Valley Farm, Mt. Pleasant Twp., Andrew Russell, Prop.
     Signed in stone lower right: E Bott
     B. Peace & Plenty, Stock Farm, Hickory, Washington Co., Pa., John M. Miller
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 14 1/2 x 12 inches

     Verso (three scenes), ca. 1855
     A. Homestead
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     B. Residence
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
     C. Sheepfold, Bellvedere Farm, Brook Co. West-Va, Col. C. H. G. Beall, Propt.
     Signed in stone lower left: E Bott
Lithograph printed by Otto Krebs, lith, Pittsburgh, 12 x 14 1/2 inches
Gift of Dr. Paul A. Chew, Greensburg, PA.

Milestones: Journal of Beaver County History - "Emil Bott, Wurtemburg, Germany, Beaver County, Pa."; Vol. 10 #4 (Fall 1985). The text in this publication is similar to the biography above. It is taken from an earlier catalog (1981) by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Painters.

Included are the following:

18. Beaver Falls, Pa., 1854
Oil on canvas, 25-1/4 x 38-1/4 inches
signed and and dated lower left: E. Bott 1854
Collection of the Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Thos. Lynch Fund

19. Moonlight Landscape, 1884
Oil on canvas, 38-1/2 x 28-1/2 inches
Signed and dated lower left: E. Bott 1884
Collection of Merrick Art Gallery, New Brighton, Pa.

20. Scene on the Monongahela
Door panel for steamboat
Oil on board (oval) 29-1/2 x 12-1/4 inches
Not dated
Signed lower left: E. Bott
Collection of Michael M. Rea, New York

Official and Illustrated War Record - Written by General Marcus J. Wright, 1898. Copy found in East Baton Rouge (LA) Public Library. (1.) - Store Room At Wheeling; (2.) - Fourth Ohio, Near Romney; (3.) - Hanging Rock Gap, Near Romney.

"Caldwell's Illustrated, Historical, Centennial Atlas of Washington County, Pennsylvania," 1876. From Actual Surveys by & under the directions of J. A. Caldwell, Assisted by C. T. Arms, Sr. C. E., J. A. Underwood, C. E., etc. E. Bott, Artist. Published by J. A. Caldwell, Condit, Ohio. Engraved. Lithographed & Printed by Otto Krebs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shows: Maps of Towns; Villages & Townships; Township Directories; Views & Vignettes; History; Pennsylvania Population; Presidential elections; Plot Names; Roads; Rail Roads; Detail of Villages; Churches & Cemeteries; Schools; Railway Maps of Pennsylvania & United States, 1876; Wharfs; Map of Pittsburg(h), Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad: Business Directories; Detail: Washington. 228 pp., 14 1/2 x 17 each. Printed in color.

"Emil Bott Living In County Home"
Daily Times, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
May 2, 1906

     Word comes to Beaver Falls from the Beaver County Home that Emil Bott the artist who painted the celebrated picture of Beaver Falls in 1854, is at present living at the County Home. A telephone message from there yesterday stated that he has been there since last October and had come there from Monaca.
     Mr. Bott is seventy-nine years old and tells a very interesting story of his early life, especially that along about the fifties, when the Philadelphia and New York capitalists got him to paint the picture of the Patterson estate, now Beaver Falls, where they intended to build a town to rival Pittsburgh.
     The matron of the County Home was asked by the Times reporter whether Mr. Bott retained any of his artistic ability and she replied that he did, and that he had with him a number of very pretty pictures. The matter has been brought to the attention of the Art and Decoration committee of the Carnegie Library and they are making arrangements for the old painter to attend the exhibit so that he can see the picture he painted in his early days, and it is likely they will have him put some of his other pictures in the exhibit. The picture referred to above belongs to a Mr. Hayes, of Pittsburgh, and is valued at some hundred of dollars. Many Beaver Falls people have expressed themselves of the opinion that Beaver Falls should own the picture and should have it hung in the library so that now and in future times it will be there to compare with the present busy and growing city.

American Art In Colorado Collections, Rosenstock Arts, 1983:
"EMIL BOTT (unknown) - Little is known about Emil Bott except that he worked as a landscape painter in Cincinnati for 1853 through 1859 and was listed in the Pittsburgh business directory in 1864 and 1868 as a painter. In the intervening years he worked around Civil War battlefields. One can guess that Bott was largely self-taught, but the lyrical, pastoral rendering of Southern Ohio Farm Country (Shown in black & white) suggests a familiarity with the Hudson River School style, and reveals a talent wonderfully sensitive to particularities of local scene.

For Sale at the Charleston Renaissance Gallery, Charleston, SC - Title: The Idlewild Year, 1881. Artist: Emil Bott, 1827-1908. Medium: Oil on canvas; size: 16 x 31 1/4 inches; signed lower left. Price, $38,000.

For Sale at the Tri-Maple Studios & New Growth Gallery, Oil On Canvas. Artist: Emil Bott, Pittsburgh. Price, $23,000.

Collection of Edward Dempster Merrick (1852-1911), Biographical Sketch.
Provided by Merrick Art Gallery Associates, P.O. Box 312, New Brighton, PA 15066.
August, 1998
(Provided by Gerald Hobson.)

Bott, Emil. b. 1827, Wurtemberg, Germany: 9. 1908, Monaca, Pa.

36. Moonlight Landscape, 1884
Oil on canvas, 37 x 28 in. (94 x 71 cm.)
Signed: E. Bott/1884 (lower left)
Provenance: EDM 1903 Catalogue, Gallery A, No. 68

157. Landscape
Oil on wood. 17 x 18 in. (43 x 46 cm.)
Signed: E. Bott (lower left)
Provenance: EDM 1903 Catalogue, Gallery A, no. 121, "Sunset."

Among the artists represented in the Merrick Collection, Emil Bott has the distinction of having lived and worked in Beaver County. His family immigrated to Phillipsburg (now Monaca) when he was a child. After his schooling, he returned to Germany to study painting at Dusseldorf. Dating of his professional activity begins in 1848, when records show him as a teacher of drawing at Miss Curtiss' School in New Brighton, where he remained until 1856. During that period he is known to have been commissioned to paint a picture of Beaver Falls (1854).

Bott's work attracted attention in Pittsburgh as early as 1849, when a newspaper critic made favorable comments about a painting he had seen in a downtown shop window. Bott moved to Pittsburgh in 1859. He did well enough to maintain a downtown studio, 1865-67, and to move into a Lawrenceville home. After that, information is sparse. He seems to have become an itinerant, riding on steam packets where he painted decorative panels and sold paintings at stops along the way.

"Moonlight Landscape" takes the viewer into the heart of a dense, mountainous terrain under the clouded light of a full moon. A solitary ranger makes his way along the rocky bank of a stream, almost hidden by the enveloping darkness. The textures of rocks and trees are insistently delineated, but color and light are suppressed by a somber gray tonality covering the earth. On the left, the silhouettes of two great pines break the skyline in an arching movement toward the lunar focus of the composition. The lively pattern of illumination in the sky transcends the oppressive quality of the darkened earth below.

The few extant comments on Bott's work suggest that a somber mood was typical of his work, but the smaller, nearly square "Landscape" gives us a brighter view of the world. In this work, colorful hues are given their way in a scene which shows us a mountain rising against the sky across a body of water. Tall evergreens set the scale and frame the view on the left, leading us into a distance on a diagonal.

Bott's period of artistic activity seems to have ended after 1884. He is known to have done a "bird's-eye" view of Hazelton, Pa. in 1878, and an oil sketch of Dutchman's Run near Freedom, Pa., is dated 1879. The Merrick's "Moonlight Landscape" dates from 1884. After that, the only records relate to death. His wife, the former Emma Bocking, died in 1899. Her gravestone in a Monaca cemetery identifies her as the wife of Emil Bott. He died in 1908, and funeral records indicate that he is buried beside her.

(Ed. Note: Also, handwritten on the copy of the above from Merrick Art Gallery Associates is: "We also have an oil sketch of a wooded area of Freedom, PA and on view a small landscape (oil, 5" x 8" approx.) belonging to the New Brighton Historical Society.")

Oakland - This is the Christening portrait of the famous towboat built in 1872 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Signed lower left, Emil Bott, 1872. Owned by collector in Sewickley, Pa. - Towboat "Oakland".

Pittsylvania's Lost Artist
The Pittsburgh Press - Sunday, February 3, 1974
By George Swetnam

Time And The Fickleness of Critical Tastes Have Left Us With Few Clues To The Life Of Emil Bott

Emil Bott was one of Pittsburgh's principal artists a century ago, and with good reason. He had studied at Dusseldorf, and his work was deft, accurate and of high quality in the photographic style popular at that time.

But somehow, even before that school had become anathema to critics - however dear still to many viewers - Bott had been so completely forgotten that researchers today are having great difficulty finding either his works or much information about his life.

Bott first swims into our ken in a Pittsburgh newspaper item of Oct. 12, 1849, which reads:

THE FINE ARTS. We observed a very pretty little oil painting, representing a church yard as it appears by moonlight, in the window of a picture framer on Wood Street, yesterday. It is painted by Mons. Emil Botts (sic) a young German artist of considerable promise. The light and shade are admirably managed, and we tho't as we gazed on it, that the artist had been happy in his idea of painting a churchyard with the "Cold Moonshine" faintly lighting up the sad and solemn scene, instead of the brightness of day, so suggestive of life and not of death.

He has well carried out the beautiful thought of Sir Walter Scott, as expressed in those lines, descriptive of a similar scene:

"If thou wouldst view
fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the
pale moonlight;
For the gay beams
of lightsome day
Gild but to flout
those ruins gray."

The gray noted by the critic was always characteristic of Bott's work. He specialized in misty shades of gray as Vermeer did with yellows.

Bott's ability was quickly recognized by Marcus Gould, who was planning a new town to include the whole area from Beaver to the falls of that river. He hired Bott to make paintings of the sites. According to Robert Bonnage of Beaver Falls, who has done much research on the subject, the promotion fell through, and the artist never got his money.

He apparently fancied the area, and took a job teaching art in a private school in New Brighton, operated by Miss Augusta Curtis, according to a 1910 history of the town's educational institutions.

It may have been at this time that he married a daughter of another artist, Adolph Bocking. They apparently had several children.

Before the Civil War, Bott moved to Pittsburgh, where he exhibited in 1859 at the first show of the Pittsburgh Art Association. He first lived on Wylie Avenue and soon afterward on Logan and Pennsylvania (now Fifth) Avenue near where Mercy Hospital now stands. He must have been doing well, for from 1865-67 he had a downtown studio and moved to a home in Lawrenceville.

In 1946 John O'Connor, Jr., of the Fine Arts Department of Carnegie Museum, did some research on Bott. He noted that a Park Mansion resident had a Bott painting, done on the door of a steamboat, and that Earl Crawford, former president of the Associated Artists, was restoring a Bott canvas of steamboats in the harbor at Cincinnati.

This might seem to bear out the tradition that for a while Bott became a drifter, riding on the packet boats and doing decorations. This may have been profitable work, as many of those boats bore paintings by the best artists available.

In 1878 Bott sketched a bird's eye map of Hazelton, Pa., and he seems to have been active until 1880.

The Merrick Art Gallery at New Brighton has a typical Bott painting, of a man walking in the moonlight, secured (perhaps from the artist) by Dempster Merrick, who founded the gallery.

That seems to be about the extent of our knowledge of one of Pittsburgh's early painters.

He has some great-grandchildren living in Monaca, but they could provide no information about when or where Bott died, or where he is buried.

Mrs. L. L. LeGoullon, widow of a grandson, has some of Bott's pencil sketches, and recalls hearing her mother-in-law say the artist was crippled in old age, and walked with difficulty, even when using a cane.

"The boys used to tease him a lot, which made him very angry and frustrated," she recalls being told.

That seems to fit the saga of a man who had great talent, but for whom even the brightest prospects often came out badly.

An Old Painting To Be Purchased
The Beaver Times
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Saturday, February 17, 1906
(Provided by Gerald Hobson.)

Landscape Painting of Beaver Falls in Gillespie Art Building

The following clipping from yesterday's Pittsburg Dispatch will be of interest to the citizens of Beaver Falls:

An oil painting of Beaver Falls in 1854, which is now on exhibition at the Gillespie art gallery, attracts considerable attention, on account of the fact that it was painted by Emil Bott for a party of men who intended to purchase a large tract of land which was known as the Patterson property, and there build a city to rival Pittsburg.

The painting is a landscape showing the falls, an old mill and the surrounding country covered with trees. The artist was secured to paint the picture as the land then appeared and it was the intention of the founders of the proposed city to have a picture painted in later years showing the vast change they anticipated. The party, which consisted of Horace Greeley and General Hiram Walbridge, of New York, Marcus T. C. Gould and John Thompson, of Rhode Island; Stephen DeLay and Judge Robinson, of Boston, and a number of other Eastern as well as some Pittsburg capitalists met in the office of John L. Nebold, in the fall of 1853, and while a number agreed to invest $70,000 each, the others subscribed sufficient to make $800,000 to develop the rival of Pittsburg.

Mr. DeLay gave the order to Emil Bott, who was connected with Paul Webber and was a noted landscape artist. He painted the picture in the summer of 1854. Newbold and Walbridge paid their shares, but the time for the payment expired and when Delay found that the others did not contribute he refused to accept the picture, and as the artist was in need of money, Mr. Newbold purchased it from him. The painting is now the property of James Hay who allowed it to be placed on exhibition.

Attorney H. H. Patterson, of Fifth avenue, Beaver Falls, who has his office in Pittsburg, when he learned of this valuable picture, went at once to Gillespie's store and made arrangements to purchase it. It was his grandfather who owned this tract of land and resided in the Mansion House, which stood on the site of the Union Drawn Steel Company's office at Seventh avenue and Third street. This picture takes in nearly the whole of the present town and was probably painted from a point on the hill side below the present residence of D. O. C. Patterson. The comparison with the present busy city is most interesting and Mr. Patterson feels that the picture should belong to Beaver Falls and especially to the Patterson family. A year or so ago, parties in Philadelphia wrote to Beaver Falls council and offered to sell it to the town and suggested that the Carnegie Library would be an appropriate place to hang it. Council turned down the proposition.

(Newsletter of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen)
(Provided by Gerald Hobson.)

The Old Magic Lingers
Vol. II, No. 2, p. 43-44
June, 1974
Marietta, Ohio

(with photo, captioned: CABIN OF THE SCOTIA Emil Bott painted scenes on the doors.)

Pittsburgh is blessed with an historian whose ability to report fascinating facts is uncanny. George Swetnam's old-time delvings appear in the Sunday editions of the "Press."

On Feb. 3rd last George took on the old steamboat artist Emil Bott with this admission: "Bott has been so completely forgotten that researchers today are having great difficulty finding either his works or much information about his life."

The missing facts include where or when Emil Bott was born, where and when he died, where he is buried, and the names of any offspring who may have survived him. Which does not leave much.

The name Emil Bott became implanted in our consciousness some years ago in an account which credited him with doing the interior decorative work in the cabin of the packet SCOTIA built at Harmar, O. 1880 for the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati trade. A photograph accompanying this article depicts this work.

Next we read in old newspapers that he had decorated the cabin of the packet BUCKEYE STATE built in 1878, also in the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati trade.

When the nationally celebrated muralist Dean Cornwell visited at 121 River Ave. working on a commission from TRUE Magazine to do a gatefold of the LEE-NATCHEZ race, he knew of Emil Bott. Dean's boyhood was spent in Louisville, Ky. and as a youth (too young to imbibe) he frequented a saloon to feast his eyes on a framed original oil painting of the towboat JOSEPH B. WILLIAMS signed by Emil Bott. Dean's art career, so he said, commenced with the impact this picture made on him.

Then in 1946 at the University of Pittsburgh there was an art exhibit prepared by Walter Hovey and Virginia Lewis oriented to feature the local rivers. One of the inclusions was this oil of the JOS. B. WILLIAMS. Virginia Lewis told us that she had borrowed it from Matt Cavanaugh's saloon, which was in business in a rather tough part of the city down near the Point. Just how Matt acquired it we never learned.

And - and -- at this same exhibit was a steamboat stateroom door with a center oval panel done in oils, signed by Emil Bott. It was said to have come from one of the Gray's Iron Line towboats, the IRON AGE, if memory serves right.

So fine. Several years later we were thumbing through old correspondence of James Rees & Sons Co. and came upon two receipts for art work done by Bott, both of which are reproduced here.

And since then more evidence of Bott's steamboat artistry has surfaced. He is known to have decorated the cabin of the packet JOSIE HARRY, for one. He is known to have painted a picture of boats in the Cincinnati harbor.

S & D's C. V. Starrett remembers Bott. C. V. was raised in Monaca, Pa. and in that olden-time a principal "character" of the town was this tall old gentleman donned in silk hat, frock coat, long white beard and cane. The kids tormented him by cupping hands to lips and calling, "Ho BOTT!" The infuriated Mr. Bott thereupon would harmlessly brandish his cane.

James H. Welch who in his youth lived at "Welchmont" on Monaca Heights (Mr. Welch's father ran a brick works at the river near the P&LE bridge in Monaca) also recalls Emil Bott. His impression is much the same as recalled by C. V. Starrett, save that the old gentleman carried a "green-mit-age" umbrella. James Welch played with four of Bott's grandchildren with the fascinating nicknames of Ick, Yick, Niggie and Fink.

Mr. Bott's wife, according to the findings of George Swetnam, was the daughter of another artist named Adolph Bocking.

We recall in some wonderment an original oil by Emil Bott which somebody brought to S&D several years back. In all of the hub-bub of the meeting we neglected to scribble a note, and now cannot recall who brought the painting or even the subject of it.

Also George Swetnam found a newspaper item from a Pittsburgh newspaper dated Oct. 12, 1849 in which a Bott painting exhibited in the window of a picture framer was highly praised. Mr. Swetnam says, "Bott first swims into our ken" with this meager notice. Bott is known to have exhibited in the first show of the Pittsburgh Art Association in 1859.

Bit by bit, the artist who decorated steamboats slowly emerges.

Reproduced with this article are two receipts, handwritten, which are transcribed in captions:

(First receipt)
Pittsburgh 1st December 1865: Mr. James Rees to Emil Bott, artist: - For painting one large picture view of Porter's Island on the Allegheny River, and side view of Mr. James Rees' factory and machine shop in the ladies' cabin of the fine little steamer IDA REES, $75.00. Received in full, Emil Bott, artist." The attached cancelled stamp is marked U. S. INTERNAL REVENUE - BANK CHECK 2 cents.

Porter's Island, now known as Four Mile Island, is below Franklin, Pa. at Ajax. The IDA REES was built to operate between Pittsburgh and Oil City on the Alleghney River.

(Second receipt)
"Emil Bott artist for large landscape view of steamer NATCHEZ and ROBT. E. LEE and (?) scrolling and coat of arms on the C post and landscape."

Dated May 22, 1880, this invoice to James Rees & Sons Co. was for artistry on the side-wheel DEAN ADAMS then being completed at Pittsburgh.

Letter to S & D Reflector, reprinted in the September, 1974 issue, p. 45

Sirs: Emil Bott is the artist who did a drawing in Leslie's "Illustrated Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War." It depicts the river movement of U. S. troops with the shoreline of Benwood, West Va. in the foreground and an extensive view of Bellaire, O. across the river. Six steamboats are in sight, three of them loaded with troops. See Picture

I used this scene as the dust jacket of my new book "Through One Man's Eye."

The article about Bott in the last issue made me most happy, for I had known nothing about him previously.

Paul E. Rieger
5031 Westminster Road
Sylvania, Ohio 43560

Paul Rieger, native of Belmont, County, O., based his new book on numerous letters written by a Belmont County U. S. soldier, James G. Theaker, who spent three years in Civil War service. Copies are available from the author at the above address, $6.95 postpaid. Mr. Rieger is a CPA and associate V. P. for finance at the University of Toledo. -Ed.

Article from S & D Reflector, December, 1977, p. 17

(With photo, caption: "This portrait is the only known likeness.")

EMIL BOTT, before and after the Civil War, devoted much of his artistic talent to decorating steamboat cabins with original scenes he painted in oils on stateroom doors and bulkheads. As a pastime he occasionally did oil portraits of famous Pittsburgh-built packets and towboats.

S & D member Dr. C. V. Starrett remembers Emil Bott. The old gentleman was living in Monaca, Pa. where C. V. was brought up. In fact, it was Dr. Starrett who was instrumental in finding for us the above portrait. The picture was taken by Frank Javens, a photographer who had studios in Pittsburgh and Beaver Falls, Pa. The photographer's daughter Mrs. Donald R. (June) Hughes today resides at 126 Oak St., Vanport, Beaver, Pa. 15009 and the Bott portrait was in her family's collection, identified by her mother some years ago. Mrs. Hughes kindly granted permission for the use of the portrait in this issue of S & D REFLECTOR, and we are further indebted to Mrs. John Maples Horter, 1480 Corporation St., Beaver, Pa. 15009 who passed it along to William Pardini, Sr., Mt. Lebanon, who had it copied for Dr. Starrett.

Emil Bott was noticed in our June '74 issue after Pittsburgh historian George Swetnam had deplored almost total lack of information and facts about the celebrated steamboat artist. Following this, Paul Rieger, Sylvania, O., brought to our attention (Sept. '74 issue, page 45) the fact that Bott had contributed to Leslie's "Illustrated Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War" a view of six troop-laden packets at Benwood, W. Va. in Civil War service. Capt. and Mrs. William S. Pollock visited at the Merrick Art Gallery, New Brighton, Pa. (Dec. '74 issue, page 25) where an original Bott painting is hung, and there learned that the artist is buried in the old cemetery at Monaca, Pa., having died in 1908.


     EMIL BOTT did the pencil drawing of the 6 soldiers of the First West Virginia Infantry in December, 1861.

     The capacity in which Emil Bott was serving at the time he did the drawing is not known. However, the following records seem to show that both the First West Virginia Light Artillery and the First West Virginia Infantry were in Romney, Va. (W. Va.) in December, 1861, the date shown on the drawing.


[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]

First Light Artillery - SERVICE.- At Elkwater till October, 1861. Operations on Cheat Mountain September 11-17. Action at Cheat Mountain September 11. Cheat Mountain Pass September 12. Point Mountain Turnpike and Elkwater September 12. Greenbrier River October 3-4. At Romney till January, 1862.

From Loyal West Virginia, by Theodore Lang - Battery A was organized and mustered into the service September 26, 1861, with Philip Daum, captain; John Jenk, first lieutenant, William Derose, second lieutenant. But as early as July 3d, we find Daum with a section of his battery at Wheeling, W. Va. On the 20th of July this section was at Oakland and New Creek. October 4th, the battery was engaged at the battle of Greenbrier River and Elkwater, near Alleghany Mountains. October 28th, the battery was at Romney, Va. About February 1st, 1862, Captain Daum was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the First W. Va. Light Artillery Regiment, and was made chief of artillery.


[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]

Organized at Wheeling, W. Va., October 30, 1861. Companies "A," "B," "D" and "E" moved from Wheeling to Little Kanawha, Wirt County, W. Va., October 13, and duty there till November 2, when rejoined Regiment at Romney. Regiment left Wheeling for Romney, W. Va., November 9, 1861, and duty there till January 10, 1862. Attached to Railroad District, West Virginia, to January, 1862.

West Virginia Adjutant General' Report, 1864: "This organization was perfected on the 14th day of November, 1861. During the period of recruiting and reorganizing the regiment, four (4) companies were sent to Burning Springs, Va., and thence to Romney, Va., where they were joined by the remainder of the regiment on the 9th of November, 1861. The regiment participated in the action at Blue's Gap, Va., January 7th, 1862, and was with the command of General Lander at the evacuation of Romney, January 10th, and continued under his command until his death at Paw-paw Tunnel, Va., in February, 1862......"

* Per Bott's statement in pension file. Death certificate says 1824.
** Per Bott's statement in pension file.

Thanks to Brooks Hill for providing the National Archives pension file.