Frederick Moss Prewitt (called Moss), depicted in this 1834-35 portrait when he was a young Columbia merchant, went on to become one of the earliest bankers in Missouri, a founder of the University of Missouri, and a man of great wealth.
Prewitt was again painted by Bingham some twenty years later in 1855-56 (Bloch #285), along with his wife Nancy (Bloch #286). Nancy Johnson Prewitt (1807-1871) was coincidentally the aunt of Bingham’s second wife Eliza K. Thomas Bingham.
Moss Prewitt established in 1857—with his son-in-law R. B. Price (1832-1924)—what was to become Boone County National Bank, the first national bank organized in Missouri and the third west of the Mississippi (a bank that has lasted to the present day, although it is now part of Central Bancompany). Price and his wife, Prewitt’s daughter Emma (1837-1859) were both painted by Bingham in 1862 (Bloch #334 & #335), although Emma had died by then and Bingham’s painting was no doubt based on a photograph. Emma was one of ten children born into the Prewitt family.
Moss Prewitt, one of Bingham's earliest patrons, referred many family portraits over the years to Bingham and on a number of occasions loaned the artist financial support, as noted in several of Bingham's letters to his closest friend Major James Rollins. In one letter (August 10, 1856), as Bingham was poised to embark with his family to Paris on the 14th, he wrote in a P.S. at the end of the letter a request to Rollins to kindly see to it that Prewitt was repaid for a substantial loan of $1,080 in the event of his death during his sojourn in Europe.