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:
Magazine Illustrations; Youths Companion, McCLURE'S Magazine for June 1899,
Colliers, Woman’s Home Companion.
Calendars: Brown & Bigelow Co., Joliet, Illinois, Gerlach-Barklow Co., New York City, N.Y.
Commissioned by the Chicago & Midland & Illinois Railroad Company fourteen of these before his death. The majority of the Lincoln portraits are currently exhibited at the executive offices of the railroad in Springfield, Illinois.
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,
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.
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.
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.