The Incredible Patience Wright



In our look back at the American Family Portrait series, we’ve made it to Book 3 in the series, The Patriots. And in this episode, I describe how, while mining historical research about the Revolutionary War, I struck character gold. I discovered Patience Wright, America’s first sculptress of notoriety.

  • In the front of most novels is a disclaimer that the story is a work of fiction and that all names, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination.
  • Still, it’s well-known, that some fictional characters are based on living persons. Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly, and Becky Thatcher were based on persons Mark Twain knew while growing up.
  • In all of my novels, I have an Afterword in the back of the book where I describe what is fictional and what is historical, providing resources my readers can use to research the history for themselves.
  • In The Patriots, my character, Abigail Matteson was inspired by the historical Patience Wright.
  • As a young girl, Patience molded figures out of clay and bread, coloring them with pigments from herbs, and flowers, and tree sap.
  • Patience moved to Philadelphia, got married, and had five children. And when her husband died, she had to support her family on her own. She turned to her modeling talent.
  • Together with her sister and eldest daughter, Patience exhibited her work in Philadelphia, London, and Paris to great success.
  • Several amusing anecdotes of visitors to her house mistaking wax models for real people were the inspiration behind several of my scenes in The Patriots, including a dramatic escape scene.

 CLICK HERE to start reading the American Family Portrait series in minutes!

 Other episodes in this series: 


  1. Why I Write Christian Historical Fiction
  2. The Incredible Power of Historical Fiction
  3. The Making of The Puritans
  4. The Making of The Colonists
  5. The Making of The Patriots


  1. Sports on Sundays: Keeping the Sabbath in the Days of The Puritans
  2. My 13-year Odyssey to Getting Published
  3. John Winthrop: The Forgotten Founding Father
  4. A Middle-Aged Male Author Attempts to Write Poetry From a Teenage Character
  5. The Stolen 300-year-old Bible

Jack’s Next Post
VIDEO: The Making of The Adversaries



  1. Hi Jack,

    Your series sounding fascinating! I know my blog readers would enjoy learning more about you and your books. I’d love to do an interview, if you’re interested.

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