8/5/12

A merican sculptor By ron M . P ickett is memorialized : Daw n Roe

PORT BYRON

American sculptor Byron M. Pickett is memorialized
7 HOURS AGO • DAWN ROE, SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN

History will soon receive a final addendum in the chronicle of American sculptor Byron M. Pickett, a former resident of Port Byron, thanks to the steadfast determination of Ronald Hanley, of Rochester. Pickett, a selftaught artisan, created some of America's finest sculptures of the 19th century. What became of Byron Pickett would lead Hanley on a search that has lasted more than a decade. He sends the following details about his journey: It was the summer of 1998 when we decided to have our initial family reunion. Little did I know when I volunteered to gather names and dates that it was the beginning of the rest of my life in genealogy. My name is Ron Hanley, and I began a quest that day and every day since to uncover my ancestors. One man I truly began to admire was my Great Grand-Uncle Byron M. Pickett. Byron was an elusive relative in that I could never come up with a date of death or a place of burial. I felt his story needed to be completed and I enlisted Steve Marchwinski in New York City to help me. Byron sculpted many works, and was well-known during his lifetime as a man of talent and master of his art. One such work was the statue of Samuel F.B. Morse, which stands today at the Inventors' Gate at New York's Central Park. Other works include the statue “Patriotism” in Kingston, two monuments at Gettysburg, and a relief portrait of Abraham Lincoln used by the U.S. Post Office in 1911 on a two-cent postal card. In
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8/5/12

A merican sculptor By ron M . P ickett is memorialized : Daw n Roe

July 1871, there was a dedication for unveiling the Morse statue and newspaper articles tell of all the dignitaries who were present. Two governors and even William Jennings Bryant were amongst thousands of New Yorkers present. The information I was gifted by the N.Y. Metropolitan Museum of Art was his death record. My contact there was Catherine Mackay, administrative assistant. This record stated he had died in Tenafly, N.J., and was buried at Brookside Cemetery. Steve visited the plot only to discover there was no marker. Byron seemingly died in obscurity in retirement at the Mary Fisher Home. To honor Byron’s life, I have purchased a marker for him that was placed on his 179th birthday, which was Aug. 3. Rest in peace Byron; this concludes our quest. Thank you, Ron, for closing the final chapter on the life of this important artist. From the Morse statue that depicts Morse next to the telegraph holding the first strip of Morse code sent by wire, to the 66th N.Y. Infantry Regiment "Governor's Guard" monument that illustrates a Union soldier shaking hands and sharing his canteen with a wounded Confederate, titled "Peace and Unity," Byron M. Pickett has left a distinguishable legacy in American art; Port Byron is proud to be his former home.

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