Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MILLS, Clark, sculptor, born in Onondaga county, New York, 1 December, 1815; died in Washington, D. C., 12 January, 1883. He was left an orphan at the age of five years, and then lived with a maternal uncle, but, becoming dissatisfied with his home, ran away in 1828. After a hard experience working on a farm, cutting cedar posts in a swamp, and learning the millwright's trade, he reached New Orleans, Louisiana, where he stayed a year and then went to Charleston, South Carolina Here he learned the stucco business, which he followed until 1835, when he discovered a new method of taking a cast from the living face, which enabled him to make busts so cheaply that he soon had as much work as he could do. He then resolved to try cutting in marble, and began a bust of John C. Calhoun, for which he was awarded a gold medal by the city council of Charleston, and it was placed by them in the city hall. Subsequently he executed busts of John Preston, Wade Hampton, and other eminent South Carolinians. He was invited in 1848 to furnish a design for an equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, to be erected in Washington. He completed his model in eight months, and it was accepted. Ills treatment was entirely original. The statue was unveiled on the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, in 1853. It stands on Lafayette square, and was cast from cannon taken from the British during the war of 1812. Later he obtained a second commission for a colossal equestrian statue of George Washington, and purchased ground in the vicinity of Washington, where he built a complete foundry. His statue of Washington represents a scene in the battle of Princeton. It was dedicated in Washington on 22 February, 1860. Meanwhile Mr. Mills also executed a replica of his Jackson statue for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana In 1860 he began his statue of "Freedom," after Thomas Crawford's designs, which was completed in 1863, and now stands above the dome of the capitol. The latter part of his life was spent in making busts, and he invented a method of put-ring plaster on the face of his subjects, thereby adding greatly to the truthfulness of his casts.
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