National Society of Colonial Dames of
America in Tennessee















Portrait #1894
Subject/Title: Moran, Mrs. John Williamson (Sophia Riley Gunn) (1853-1895)
Artist:Hankins, Cornelius Haly (1863-1946)
Date Created:1905
Owner/Location:Private Collection
Frame Dimensions:37 x 32
Image Dimensions:29.5 x 24.5
Materials/Media:Oil on Canvas
Date Documented:11 February 2014
Condition:Excellent

Description:Bust-length portrait of Sophia Riley Gunn Moran in early middle age. She is wearing a dark dress with an ornate white lace collar. Her hair is pulled back in a bun. The background is dark.
History: Work was done from a photograph taken between 1885-1895. The portrait was painted in conjunction with that of her husband John Williamson Moran to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death. In the lower right corner it's signed "Cornelius Hankins A.D. 1905"
Notes:The subject was born in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee in 1853. She was the daughter of Nashville dentist Dr. Lyman Taft Gunn and his first wife Caroline Matilda Morehead Gunn.

Being an accomplished musician, the young Sophia came to Dresden in about 1868 as an educator and music teacher. In 1868, when the Methodist Church South at Dresden erected a new building she was sent to Nashville to select the furniture and the organ. Appropriately, she became the church's first organist.

She soon caught the eye of John Williamson Moran and they were married in Dresden in 1871. The couple had five children: Fannie Lemira Moran, Charles Harrell Moran, Ida Morehead Moran, James Henderson Moran III, and Marion Agnes Moran.

Mrs. Moran was a religious woman, a very active member and patron of the Methodist Church in Dresden. In 1880, the church's first woman's organization was formed, the Ladies Aid Society. She was a charter member and its second president.

In 1895, her husband commissioned the building of a large George Barber Victorian home as a gift for her. She became ill in the fall of that year and died before it was completed. She is interred in the Moran Cemetery in Dresden,Tennessee.


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