Josh Tarbutton was believed to be 100 when the reference photo for this painting was made in the 1930s. Mr. Tarbutton lived in Walthall County, Miss., in the southwest part of the state. The county is named after Civil War general and Mississippi Senator Edward C. Walthall.
It is unclear if Mr. Tarbutton was interviewed or just photographed for the WPA project. In Mississippi and other Southern states, narratives were sometimes lost, stolen, hidden or destroyed if they didn’t reflect what the power structure wanted to convey, historians say.
Oil on hardboard, 16X20.