Saint Charles artist paints distant relative Captain James Callaway
Artist Ron Hauser is also passionate about history and genealogy. During the coronavirus pandemic, Hauser decided to dig into his family tree with the help of Ancestry.com.
Hauser – in the process of adoption – delved into the story of his birth name, Ron Pennington. He started with his father, Adrian Pennington, and worked his way back.
After extensive research, Hauser, 78, claims Captain James Callaway – the namesake for Callaway County – is his fourth great-great-grand-nephew. James Callaway was also the grandson of Daniel Boone. He was killed in action in 1815 in what is now Montgomery County and was buried there.
“I’m his great-great-uncle,” Hauser said of Callaway. “I mean, that sounds silly. And my kids fought me day and night, tooth and nail on it. They said ‘Daddy, you can’t be his uncle’ and I said ‘Yeah, it works like that. ‘”
The more Hauser learned about his connection to James Callaway, the more he wanted to know more about his distant relative. During his research, he discovered that there was no actual photo of Callaway. That’s when he created his portrayal of what Callaway might have looked like.
“This man, he would have had similar characteristics to these, I think,” Hauser said. “It would have been winter – he would have had a beard.”
In the early spring of last year, Hauser took a photo of a mechanic named Dale Chaney. At the time, he wasn’t sure what to do with Chaney’s photo, but he knew he wanted to paint it. But it wasn’t until the middle of his genealogical research that Hauser decided that Chaney’s face would be used in his painting of Callaway.
“Dale generally has this pretty little beard,” Hauser said. “And he’s only got one of those faces, his face was just perfect. And that’s all Dale did was the face. I put on the body makeup and found a horse. that looked like this one.
“I invented the background and I paint in all kinds of things,” he said. “I think that’s a great representation of him.”
Hauser started the painting process last November. He first created a mini version of what he wanted to illustrate, using Photoshop, then moved on to the actual painting and finally added details, like snow. It took about four months for Hauser to fully complete “Captain James Callaway: ‘Mountain Man'”.
Although Hauser is from St. Charles, he and his family have a property in Callaway County – it is their escape from the city.
Hauser would like to donate his painting by James Callaway to Callaway County for everyone’s enjoyment.
“I want to give that away,” Hauser said. “I don’t always do that, but I want it put in the courthouse. I want it put where everyone can see it and I will have the story engraved on a plaque as well.”
For more information on his paintings or to contact Hauser, visit ronhauserartist.com.