There had been a photograph of Adam Artis, cousin Daisy told me, but it was stored with other things in an old barn, and rain ruined it. She recalled an image of a tall, brown-skinned man — or the suggestion of brown skin, anyway, in the soft sepia and charcoal tones of portraits of that day — but not what he actually looked like.
If no photograph of Adam exists, however, there is one of his youngest brother. This image, in fact, is the only one known of any of Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams‘ children.
Richard Artis was born in 1850 in Greene County, very near Wayne. He spent his youth out of sight of censustakers, but in 1873, he married Susanna Yelverton (also known as Susanna Hall,) the daughter of free woman of color Nicey (or Caroline) Hall and a white Yelverton. Their children included: Lucinda Artis Shearod, Emma Artis Reid, Ivory L. Artis, Loumiza Artis Grantham, Richard Artis Jr., Susan Artis Cooper, Jonah Artis, Charity Artis Coley, Frances Artis Newsome, John Henry Artis and Walter Clinton Artis.
Richard Artis farmed in northern Wayne County all his life. He died of apoplexy on 12 February 1923 in Great Swamp township and was buried the next day by his sister’s son, Adam Wilson.
Photo courtesy of Teresa C. Artis.