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Martha (Galphin) Milledge

Peale, James (attributed)
Place Made:
Washington District of Columbia United States of America
Date Made:
gold, ivory, glass, hair –brass
HOA 3 5/8; WOA 2 1/2
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Oval pendant framed miniature of a woman with brown hair and brown eyes facing slightly to the right (three quarters sinister); wearing a white lace-trimmed bonnet and dress with lace fichu, three strands of pearls around her neck, a diamond shaped earring visible on left ear, and a blue belt with pearl bow-shaped buckle; sky background. Gold pendant frame with pierced ring at top and beveled glass inset in back over woven brown hair inset.
SITTER: Martha (Galphin) Milledge (1764-1811) was the daughter of a well-known Indian trader, George Galphin (1709-1780) and his wife Rachel Dupree. A native of Ireland, Galphin established a trading post at Silver Bluff, South Carolina about 1752, and there he built the first brick house in that region in 1767. Silver Bluff borders the Savannah River, slightly downriver from Augusta. During the Revolutionary War his house was used as a fort and came to be known as Fort Galphin.

Martha Galphin married John Milledge (1757-1818), whose father had been one of the original settlers of Georgia in 1733. Milledge served as a U.S. congressman from Georgia from 1792-1802, governor of Georgia from 1802-1806, and in 1803 the city of Milledgeville was created and named in his honor as the new capitol city of Georgia. John and Martha lived at Overton, their plantation near Augusta. From 1806-1809, John served as a U.S. Senator, but records indicate that Martha’s illness forced his retirement from public life in 1809. They are buried in the Milledge family cemetery outside Augusta.

Martha’s portrait was probably painted by the famous miniaturist James Peale (1749-1831) during her husband’s congressional service in the nation’s capitol.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund