The Gathering took the Artist Lloyd Branson, 3 years to paint. His comprehension of famous events heightened his reputation of being a well of information, and his attention to detail revealed much about the importance of this event. His choice of subtle colors and use of light in the distance, perhaps places the observer on a nearby knoll during this early morning setting. Nothing is forgotten. Loved ones, and facial expressions of the people provide the mood show an added element of urgency as the troops prepare to march to battle.
Lloyd Branson's knowledge of history led him to create many paintings such as this. A spokesperson for the Tennessee State Museum said, "this painting is the most sought after for inclusion in many history books used in public and private education." This painting was of such significance to the art world and those who followed this fabulous artist that the painting was referenced on his headstone in the Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"THE TENNESSEE ARTIST WHOSE GENIUS CREATED THE PICTURE "SYCAMORE SHOALS" AND BY IT IMMORTALIZED THE TURNING POINT THAT MEANT LASTING VICTORY IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION A.D. 1780"
Perhaps one of his most treasured portraits of this time was a sentimental oil painting of Uncle Jerry Williams, a slave most of his life. He was born about 1800 on the plantation of the Colonel Joseph Williams family of Panther Creek, North Carolina, near present-day Winston-Salem. The plantation, built on the outskirts of western North Carolina, included huge tracts of land acquired by the family. Colonel Williams was a Revolutionary War soldier. Both he and his wife, Rebekah Lanier Williams, were originally from Virginia.
Around 1812 at age twelve, Uncle Jerry came west to the Knoxville home of Colonel John Williams (the son of Colonel Joseph and Rebekah Lanier Williams) and his wife, Melinda White Williams. Uncle Jerry served as Colonel Williams’ valet during the War of 1812 and during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. Always neatly dressed while working exclusively within the household, he served the family well and was considered their most beloved servant.
During the Civil War, he lived in the household of Colonel John (the son of Colonel John and Melinda White Williams) and Rhoda Campbell Morgan Williams, in a stately home known as “Marbledale” on Riverside Drive in Knoxville. Uncle Jerry was sixty-four years old at the time. Family correspondence between parents and children, who for safety reasons were attending college in the North, reveals much affection and discussion of Uncle Jerry and his health.
When President Lincoln freed the slaves, the Williamses voluntarily released their slaves (the family was sympathetic to the Union and organizers for that cause). Uncle Jerry refused to leave. He stated, “This is my home and my family.” Though trained for household service, he went to the fields voluntarily to help feed the family. For his devoted service and the mutual love they shared, the Williams family had his portrait painted so he would never be forgotten.
Uncle Jerry - no date
Oil on Board - 28 x 22 1/4"
The Branson Art Organization wishes to thank the owner of this painting for giving us permission to feature this painting on this site. Many paintings are from Private Collections and we are eternally thankful that they are willing to share their artwork.