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David Hunter Strother (September 26, 1816 – March 8, 1888) was a magazine illustrator, popularly known by his pseudonym, "Porte Crayon".




Early life

Strother was born in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). He studied drawing under Pietro Aneora in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1829 to 1836 when he became a student of Samuel F. B. Morse in New York. Strother was an artist for The Crayon, the leading art journal of the United States at the time, and a frequent contributor to Harper's Monthly. Most of his early work was landscapes and other outdoor scenes. His art pertained mostly to Virginia and the Southern United States. Prior to the American Civil War, his art was published in books titled The Blackwater Chronicle (1853) and Virginia Illustrated (1857).

Civil War

During the Civil War, Strother was commissioned by the U.S. Army and assigned as a topographer due to his detailed knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley. During this time, Strother recorded his experiences in the war, which he would later publish in Harper's Monthly as "Personal Recollections of the War." His accounts are considered to be unique and are highly praised for their objective viewpoint. He was promoted colonel of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry and involved in 30 battles, though never wounded, and was appointed a brevet brigadier general by the end of the war.

Postbellum career

After the war, topics of Strother's pieces covered a wider range of subjects. He began to make works that commented on politics and race relations, including a sketched portrait of Chief Sitting Bull. Some of his drawings were merely of individuals and groups going about their daily lives.

Strother ended his career as an artist when he was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to be the General Consul to Mexico City in 1879. He returned to West Virginia in 1885 and died there three years later. The New York Times published an obituary in which it is stated that his name was a household one during his career. Strother is buried in Green Hill Cemetery in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Selected works



See also

External links


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