John William (Will) Vawter
- Hancock County
- Brown County
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John William Vawter was born on April 13, 1871 in Boone County, West Virginia. He moved with his family to Greenfield, Indiana when he was six years old. Talented and self-taught, he was hired as an illustrator for the Indianapolis Sentinel in 1891. Soon his work began to appear in other newspapers and periodicals. Vawter became the illustrator for his friend, James Whitcomb Riley, and for many years his work appeared in Riley’s books.
In 1908 he and his wife bought a fifty-seven acre farm in Brown County on Town Hill, overlooking the Peaceful Valley, a half mile south of Nashville. He used the people of Brown County as models for his illustrations for the Riley books as well as brochures, calendars and articles. In 1923 Vawter divorced his wife and rented an apartment in Nashville. He turned his attention to oil painting, using heavy paint and broad strokes to distinguish his works. He exhibited at the Hoosier Salon and the Brown County Art Gallery Association and won prizes in 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932 and 1935
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