Tommy Jemmy (Soo-nong-gize), A Seneca Indian Chief

William John Wilgus, American, 1819 - 1853


about 1849

Oil on canvas

Overall: 29 1/2 × 24 1/2 in. (74.9 × 62.2 cm)

Frame: 39 1/4 × 34 3/8 in. (99.7 × 87.3 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Mary Beardsley Fenn, in memory of Francis T. Fenn, Jr., Class of 1937



Place Made: United States, North America


19th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Stamped on backing: THIS PAINTING / WAS TREATED BY / GUSTAV D. KLIMANN; stamped below: Nov 66; stamped below date: THERMO-PNEUMATIC / LINING PROCESS; numbered on frame reverse, lower member, in crayon [?]: 3 [5?] 78:46; numbered, in graphite, on top stretcher member: 2 [?]; scratched into top stretcher member: X [?]

Publication History

Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf. Life and Works of William John Wilgus. Buffalo, 1864 [revised by author, 1910; reprinted for private circulation, 1912].

"Indian Justice Being Recalled in Art Exhibit." Buffalo Courier Express, October 27, 1946.

Conlin, John H. "Historian's Notebook: Tommy Jemmy." Western New York Heritage Magazine 11, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 28.

Published References

Stone, William L. Life and Times of Red-Jacket, or Sa-go-ye-wat-ha. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1841. Wilgus, William John. "An Account of the Recovery in 1910, by the artist's nephew, of the portrait of the Seneca Indian chief So-on-on-gise (Long Horns) or Tommy Jemmy," August 3, 1938. Viele, Chase. "Four Artists of Mid-Nineteenth Century Buffalo." New York History 43, no. 1 (January 1962): 53-56. Dennis, Matthew. Seneca Possessed: Indians, Witchcraft, and Power in the Early American Republic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.


The artist; to Lavinia Wheelock Wilgus (1797-1878) (mother of the artist), in trust for his daughter; purchased by Eugene Robinson (1847-1889); to Mary Stowe, née Robinson (c. 1842-1918) (ex-wife and possible first cousin of Eugene Robinson); sold to Col. William J. Wilgus (1865-1949) (nephew of the artist), 1910; bequeathed to Gertrude Bernadette Tobin Wilgus (1873-1959) (Col. William J. Wilgus' wife) upon the colonel's death, 1949; to Anna Hartness Beardsley (1889-1966); bequeathed to Mary Beardsley Fenn (daughter of Anna Hartness Beardsley) (1917-2015) upon Beardsley's death, 1966; donated to present collection, 2015.

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