Catalog of the Fine Arts Collection
Please note that the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum prohibits the use of images from its collection in public exhibition, broadcast, electronic reproduction or publication in any form without prior written permission from the institution. If you would like to reproduce any of the Art Gallery images in any form, contact us at 748-8291.
Margery Eva Lang Hamilton (1907/8-1997), American
Funded by a grant from the Public Works of Art Project of the Civil Works Administration
This mural is believed to portray the local legend of a St. Francis (Western Abenaki) Indian who was injured and therefore left behind by his tribe when they fled arriving settlers. Taken in by the settlers for the winter, Joe returned their kindness by warning them of impending danger, for which he was expelled from his tribe. Joe spent the rest of his days on an island in what came to be known as Joe's Pond in Danville, Vermont, until his death in 1819. In Lang's depiction, Joe and his squaw, Molly, look out from their island toward the setting sun, a common theme in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American art symbolizing the gradual demise of Native American civilization.
For more information on the commission of the mural, visit the Song of Hiawatha archive page.