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    George Washington's Night Cap

    [George Washington] A Remnant Cut from George Washington's Night Cap Given as a Gift to Captain Robert F. Stockton. Together with a copy of the Journals of Congress and of the United States in Congress Assembled, for the year 1781. New York: Printed by John Patterson; 1787. 8vo, 522pp, [17pp] Appendix, and Index (xxxix pages). Signed "R[ichar]d Stockton 1797" on the title page, and twice signed "John P. Stockton" on the front endpaper and first page of text.

    The cream colored knit fabric measures 6" x 2.25", with age discoloration. It is accompanied by a transmittal letter by William H. Horstmann, from Philadelphia and dated May 16, 1844. Horstmann explains the circumstances under which he obtained the fabric:

    "My friend Mr Bartling having told me that you expressed a wish to have a piece of Washington's Night Cap, I herewith enclose it, and beg your acceptance... A short time after the Revolution, Washington often went out to Germantown and spent an afternoon, and occasionally staid [sic] over night at his friends Mr McClanagan, after one of this [sic] visits, the Chamber maid found that he had forgotten his night Cap, which was a very large double cap. My Mother in Law, residing in Germantown, happened to go to Mrs McClanagan that morning, was shown the night Cap, and got half of it, which was in itself a whole cap. On General Lafayette's visit here in 1824, my Mother in Law cut off the top, large enough for a Cap, and presented it to him, which he received with emotions of great pleasure. The remainder of the half cap was given to my wife by her mother, and the enclosed is a piece of it."

    Horstmann was the founder of William H. Horstmann & Sons, Manufacturers of Dress Trimmings and Military Goods. In 1844, Robert F. Stockton served as commander of the USS Princeton, designed by John Ericsson. The ship was armed with two 225 pound wrought iron guns, one of which exploded resulting in several deaths. Although the construction of the guns was under the supervision of Captain Stockton, he was absolved of any wrong-doing. Horstmann's gift was likely presented to Stockton during this difficult time. Stockton would later serve with distinction in the Mexican War.

    Our consignor obtained the cap remnant (with letter) and Journal together; the relics were handed down through multiple generations of the Stockton family. Richard Stockton, whose signature appears on the Journal, was a US Senator and Representative of New Jersey. He was the son of Declaration Signer Richard Stockton, and the father of Robert F. Stockton, recipient of the fabric from George Washington's cap. The Journal is in fragile condition; only the top board is present, the spine is absent, and numerous dis-bound pages. Pages are untrimmed and uncut. The letter has a few separations at folds and small tears. This small group is rich in association and tradition; linking two founding fathers and a Mexican War hero.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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