National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Tennessee

Out of State

Portrait #1794
Louisa Polk Neely Collier (?)
Artist: Hart, James
Date Created:ca. late 1839
Owner/Location:Private Collection
Frame Dimensions:35.5 x 30.5
Image Dimensions:26.5 x 21.5
Materials/Media:Oil on canvas
Date Documented:24 March 2009

Description:The subject is shown in middle age, turned slightly to her left. She is heavily bundled up against the cold and is wearing a distinctive white bonnet, perhaps indicative of her position as one of the pioneers in the settlement of Hardeman County, TN.
History of Work: This work was probably painted by James Hart in his studio at the Exchange Hotel in Memphis. It wound up for sale at a shop in Memphis, around 1953, and was bought by an unidentified man from Glendora, Mississippi (who kept it for fifty years). He eventually sold it to an antique shop in Greenwood, Mississippi, where the current owner bought it in 2004.

This work was restored/conserved in 2008 by S. Kaye Harrison of Coldwater, Mississippi.

Louisa Polk Neely Collier was the wife of Clinton Collier and formerly the wife of Charles Rufus Neely. Louisa Polk was a daughter of Ezekiel Polk, a Revolutionary War soldier, surveyor and pioneer. She was born in 1787 and died in 1869. She had four children by Charles Neely: General Rufus Polk Neely, Mary C. Neely, Adelia Clarisa Neely, and James Jackson Neely. She had only one child by Clinton Collier, Frances Collier, born in 1832 in Bolivar, TN. Ezekiel Polk was an early settler of Hardeman County. After 1820, when Charles Neely died in Alabama, Louisa moved to Hardeman County. In 1825 a house was built for her in Bolivar by her son Rufus Neely. She died in Bolivar and is buried in the Polk Cemetery there, although Mrs. Monita Jones Carlin (to whom the owner owes much of the above information) has been unable to find her burial site or a marker. She was apparently around 52 years old when her portrait was painted.

The subject was an aunt of James Knox Polk, the eleventh president of the United States.