Allison-Antrim Museum

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Exhibition is closed, but will remain online.

An exhibition of portraits by the 19th century local artist

Dr. William D. Lechler (1809 to 1889.)

October 14 to November 27, 2015

 

More Lechler History and Information

Nancy Funk Lechler (February 6, 1811 – July 28, 1890)

 

Nancy Funk married Dr. William David Lechler

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

On loan: Smithsburg Historical Society

Donated to the Smithsburg Historical

Society by Mr. & Mrs. Lee E. Stine Jr.

December 16, 2003

 

Frederick Ziegler (January 19, 1778 – May 30, 1857)

 

Frederick Ziegler was born in Lancaster County, PA, the son of Frederick and Magdalena Hochlander Ziegler.  The family immigrated to the Leitersburg district, Washington County, MD.   Frederick was a farmer, miller, and distiller who became one of the wealthiest men in Washington County, MD.  He was a Lutheran and an “ardent Whig.”  Frederick was the father of George W. Ziegler, the first Ziegler to come to Greencastle, PA, in 1833.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

Back of Canvas: Signed W D Lechler & Dated 1841

 

        Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.

        A gift from John Ziegler Nicodemus

        November 25, 2004

 

 

Maria Ayres Fatzinger Ziegler (March 17, 1847)

 

Maria Fatzinger was the daughter of George and Catharine Ayres Fatzinger, of Greencastle, PA.  Maria married George W. Ziegler in 1842.  They had issue: George Frederick Ziegler I, Maria Elizabeth Ziegler (died in 1864 at age 17, on the anniversary of her mother’s death, March 17), & Theodore F. Ziegler (died about the age of three or four).

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

        Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.

        A gift from Martha Ziegler and her son, G. Fred Ziegler IV

        November 12, 2006

 

George W. Ziegler (April 30, 1810 – November 16, 1897)

 

George W. was born near Leitersburg, MD, the son of Frederick and Rose Ann Elizabeth Lantz Ziegler.  He was the first Ziegler to come to Greencastle in 1833.  Only six years after George W. arrived in town, the era of the great iron horse began in Greencastle.  He understood the opportunities that daily train service offered, and capitalized on it by purchasing his own train car.  George W. owned and operated a general mercantile business for 64 years and purchased property within and without the borough.  He was an incorporator of the Waynesboro, Greencastle, & Mercersburg Turnpike Co., and was one of the founders of the First National Bank.  G. W. was an abolitionist and he participated in the founding of the Republican party and attended the 1856 Republican National Convention, which nominated Freemont.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

        Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.

        A gift from Martha Ziegler and her son G. Fred Ziegler IV

        November 12, 2006

Nancy Baechtel Snively (1795 – June 13, 1853

 

Nancy Baechtel married Joseph Snively on May 28, 1811.  They had issue: Isaac, Mary, Benjamin, Christiana, Joseph, Samuel B., David, Nancy, and Emma.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 x 25 inches, unsigned

 

        When restoration is completed,

        this portrait will be donated to

        Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.

        by a friend of the museum.

 

 

Joseph Snively (December 12, 1786 – August 22, 1872)

 

Joseph Snively was the son of Joseph and Magdalena Stoner Snively.  Joseph, the younger (in the portrait), inherited the family’s “Mansion House,” of over a 1,000 acres.  It still stands today along Route 16, west of Shady Grove, across from Green Grove Gardens.   He was a surveyor throughout his whole life, was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1838, was a member of the Whig party, and served as Franklin County’s auditor from 1847 to 1850.  Joseph married Nancy Baechtel on May 28, 1811.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

        When restoration is completed, this portrait

        will be donated to Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc.

        by a friend of the museum.

 

Joseph Gabby (April 25, 1779 – November 30, 1856)

 

Joseph Gabby was the son of John Gabby and was born in the Leitersburg district.  After his father’s death, Joseph purchased the family homestead in Leitersburg, residing there until his death.  Joseph operated a distillery on his farm, was an incorporator of the Hagerstown and Waynesboro Turnpike Co.  He was active in public service in the county levy court, served as a member of the Governor’s Council, of the House of Delegates, and was a supporter of the Whig party, to which he belonged.  Joseph was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Hagerstown.  As he advanced in age, Joseph lost his hearing and during church he sat in a “high chair” near the pulpit and used a “hearing trumpet” to hear the sermon.  He married Ann Cummins in 1805.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 x 25 inches,

signed on the back, dated 1841

 

        On loan from P. Sean Guy

 

Ann Cummins Gabby (April 25, 1779 – January 6, 1852)

 

Ann married Joseph Gabby and they had issue: Elizabeth, Jane, Emily, and John and William, who both died in infancy.  Ann and Joseph shared the same date of birth.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 x 25 inches

 

        On loan from P. Sean Guy

 

Zeigler or Ziegler, “White Bush” estate, Martinsburg, WV

 

The given names of this couple are not known but what is known about them comes from the sizeable, folded document, with a red seal, in the husband’s hands.  The document is most likely a land deed, which indicates that they were wealthy and owned a considerable amount of land.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Signed on back W D Lechler, 1841

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

Original Frames: OD 34 ¼ inches x 40inches

 

        On loan from Vicki and Gregory Sullivan

        Hudson House, Funkstown, MD

 

John Gehr

 

John Gehr was a landowner in Washington Township, Franklin County, PA.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

        On loan: Waynesboro Historical Society

        Donated to the Waynesboro Historical

        Society by Mrs. J. Garvin Hager and her

        son, Jacques Garvin Hager (g-g-nephew of John Gehr)

 

Subjects Unknown

 

Although the names of this couple are not known, the red leather bound book in the gentleman’s hand is meant to convey that he is educated.  The small book in his wife’s hand is most likely a pocket testament and says to the viewer that she is woman of great faith and belief in God.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 25 inches

 

        On loan from friends of Allison-Antrim Museum

 

Allegorical Painting

 

This is a rare Lechler painting.  The fine art image in the framed print, displayed in the glass case, inspired Dr. William D. Lechler to step outside of his “signature” style of painting.

 

Dr. William D. Lechler, artist

Oil on Canvas

 

        On loan from friends of Allison-Antrim Museum

        Zeigler or Ziegler, “White Bush” estate, Martinsburg, WV

 

More Lechler History and Information

 

William David Lechler was born in 1809, the son of Henry Lechler, gunsmith, in Carlisle, PA.   The gifted, young Lechler, not unlike many young people of college age today, appears to have been unsure of his “calling,” as he first followed in the footsteps of his father as a gunsmith but then also worked as a goldsmith and silversmith.  When he arrived in the small town of Waynesboro, PA in 1846, he hung out a shingle as Dr. William D. Lechler, dentist.

 

Lechler’s dental office was located in his residence, on the southeast corner of the diamond in Waynesboro.  An advertisement in the local newspaper, Village Record, revealed that he was also a photographer.  The ad touted that his photographic images were superior because of the ‘skylight’ in his studio, as compared to the side-lit photographs of his competitors.

 

Later, Lechler and his wife Nancy Funk Lechler moved to 19 South Church Street in Waynesboro.  In a May 29, 1851 article written by one of the Village Record correspondents, Lechler’s talent as a portrait painter was espoused thusly, “If any of our friends are desirous of having a large and life-like portrait of themselves or friends, we take pleasure in commending these specimens of the beautiful art to their especial notice.”  Art, specifically portraiture, became his passion for the rest of his life, as confirmed by the number of extant portraits of family members of well-to-do families in Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Maryland.

 

The Lechlers remained in Waynesboro for about 24 years, which included the Civil War and all its challenges and hardships.   In about 1870, for unknown reasons, at this point in time, the Lechlers moved to Smithsburg, MD where they lived on Main Street.  Lechler continued practicing dentistry and continued to paint portraits, into his later years.  It was noted in an 1882 newspaper article that as much as Lechler enjoyed painting, his profession was always dentistry. Although Lechler rarely signed his name on his paintings, his distinctive style of portraiture has become his signature.  Only a few of his portraits are signed in script on the back of the canvas. On the John Gehr portrait, Gehr is holding a letter on which Lechler discreetly wrote, “Mr. John Gehr…..  Yours truly, W D Lechler.”  Lechler painted many of his subjects seated in a red chair, which has become another characteristic point of identification.

 

This exhibition would not have been possible without the assistance of P. Sean Guy, Vicki and Greg Sullivan, the Waynesboro Historical Society, the Smithsburg Historical Society, and numerous friends of Allison-Antrim museum, who wish to remain anonymous.  Portraits from the Ziegler family of Leitersburg, MD and Greencastle, PA; John Gehr of Washington Township; Joseph and Ann Gabby, Leitersburg; William Lechler’s wife Nancy Funk Lechler; the wife of Daniel Hughes, owner of the Mont Alto Iron Works and Furnace; Joseph and Nancy Baechtel Snively, Shady Grove; and others, some not yet identified, are part of the exhibition.  An allegorical painting of a black slave woman bathing a white baby is also part of the exhibition.  It’s an example of how Lechler challenged himself, later in life, to go beyond his signature portrait style.  Complementing the exhibit is the rocking chair of Joseph Gabby and his hearing horn and Mrs. Gabby’s spectacles, which she wore for her portrait.

 

The first Lechler exhibition was done by the Washington County Museum of Fine Art, 33 years ago in 1982.    It was not long before this that Lechler portraits began appearing in various estate sales, bringing to the forefront Dr. William D. Lechler’s artistic talent and making his works coveted pieces in private collections in the region.

 

 

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