February 24, 2011

The Rev. Manasseh Cutler Visits Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia



     A Dr. Clarkson and The Rev. Manasseh Cutler, a key player in arranging the 1787 Scioto Land Grant in Southeast Ohio (a sub-grant of the Ohio Land Grant), later visited a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

     The museum, started as a private enterprise by Charles Wilson Peale, opened in 1784 at his residence on the corner of Third and Lombard Streets. During The Rev. Cutler’s visit, Mr. Peale demonstrated that he had a sense of humor. We have the following story because The Rev. Cutler was diligent in keeping a journal.


     Immediately after dinner we called on Mr. Peale to see his collections of paintings and natural curiosities. We were conducted into a room by a boy, who told us Mr. Peale would wait on us in a minute or two. He desired us, however, to walk into the room where the curiosities were, and showed us a long, narrow entry which led into the room.

     I observed, through a glass window at my right hand, a gentleman close to me, standing with a pencil in one hand and a small sheet of ivory in the other, and his eyes directed to the opposite side of the room, as though he was taking some object on his ivory sheet.

     Dr. Clarkson did not see this man until he stepped into the room, but instantly turned about, and came back, saying “Mr. Peale is very busy taking the picture of something with his pencil. We will step back into the other room and wait till he is at leisure.”

     We returned through the entry, but as we entered the room we met Mr. Peale coming to us. The doctor started back in astonishment and cried out, ‘Mr. Peale, how is it possible you should get out of the other room to meet us here?’

     Mr. Peale smiled and said, ‘I have not been in the other room for some time.’

     ‘No!’ said Dr. Clarkson. ‘Did I not see you there this moment with your pencil and ivory?’

     ‘Why do you think you did?’ asked Peale.

     ‘Why do I think I did?’ replied Dr. Clarkson. ‘I saw you there if I ever saw you in my life.’

     ‘Well,’ says Peale, ‘let us go and see.’

     “When we returned we found the man standing as before. It was a piece of waxwork which Mr. Peal had just finished, in which he had taken a likeness of himself.”


     Just a historical story I discovered, and wanted to share with my readers.




March days to celebrate

Dock Creek in Philadelphia, PA

Doing Historical Research in Philadelphia

MADAME ROSALIE BACLER de la VAL: A Character Sketch





(to subscribe see upper right hand post on this site—

Notification will begin after you confirm your subscription

on the e-mail you will receive from )

1 Comment »

  1. How Fun! It is not often that such humor was recorded.

    Comment by Carolyn Stearns — February 25, 2011 @ 12:12 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: