Fletcher C. Ransom
October 23, 1870 - May 2, 1943

Fletcher Charles Ransom, the oldest of four children, had an unusual sense of humor that was shared by his siblings.  This seems to be a family trait and is reflected in photographs.  He received his early education in the Kalamazoo school system, and performed chores on the farm that was their home.  The farm has been the homestead of their grandparents, Farnsworth Fletcher Ransom and Elizabeth Frances Noyes.

His artistic ability was recognized early and paved the way for his education at the Art Institute of Chicago and thereafter, the Academy of Fine Art in New York City.  Living quarters were shared for a time with the notable Cy Young, in Greenwich Village.  Fletcher may be considered one of America’s finest artists and yet one of those least known.



Fletcher is listed in Who Was Who in American Art.   Some of his works include the following:

Some known locations of Fletcher’s work are Forest Lawn Cemetery, Los Angeles California; the “old” Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.; the Elks Club, Joliet, Illinois; the Greater Lafayette Museum of Art, Lafayette, Indiana; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Alamo Township Museum, Alamo, Michigan; Charles A. Ransom family members have examples of his work.  In the Columbus, Ohio area, some works are held by Suzanne Heatley Duffey, Karen Kuhlman Vaeth, and Charles Kuhlman.  In Berea, Kentucky, Martha Quick Schafer has the portrait that he painted of his mother, Caroline Hydorn Ransom.  In Clarkston, Michigan, William and Norma Heatley are in possession of fifteen to twenty examples of his work.

Fletcher and Jessamine lived in New York for a number of years before relocating to Joliet, Illinois.  After some years he removed to Plainwell, Michigan, living with his sister Fannie and continuing with his work, in addition to lending a hand at the old homestead, until his death.


Fletcher Charles Ransom, 72, well known magazine illustrator, died at his home here Sunday following ill health of the last few years. He was born in Alamo Oct. 23, 1870, the son of Kalamazoo County pioneers, John Noyes and Caroline Hydorn Ransom. He was educated in the Alamo and Kalamazoo public schools, the Art Institute of Chicago and Academy of Fine Arts, New York City.

Mr. Ransom’s first work as an illustrator was on the Youth’s Companion. He illustrated several books for David Graham Phillips and was with the Colliers magazine during the Spanish-American war. Later he worked in oil for calendar companies, with the Osborn Company 17 years in New York City, and 18 years with Gerlach Barklow Company of Joliet, Ill.  

Due to failing health, Mr. Ransom located in Plainwell eight years ago. During this time he has annually produced an oil painting of episodes in Abraham Lincoln’s life for the Chicago and Illinois and Midland Railroad Company’s Christmas calendar. He completed his final and best work of that type three years ago.  

Surviving are the widow; a daughter, Mrs. A. T. Davis, and grandson David Davis of Joliet, Ill., two brothers, John W. and Larkin Ransom of Kalamazoo, a sister, Mrs. Franklin J. Scott of Plainwell, and four nieces.  

Funeral services were held at the Johnson funeral home in Plainwell at 2 Tuesday afternoon with burial in the family lot in Alamo cemetery.