Description

    "Alexander Hamilton 1773"

    Scrimshaw Carved American Powder Horn with Intriguing ID, Dated 1773. 12" overall, with "Alexander Hamilton 1773" carved in ¼" high letters across the front of the horn. The implications of the name are obvious; however, a firm ID to the great American patriot is only circumstantial. Horn utilizes a high dome walnut butt with chip carving, reminiscent of south central Pennsylvania. The spout has a heavy, threaded brass collar, possibly implying its use as an artillery priming horn. Interestingly, Hamilton immigrated to this country in 1773 and, in 1775, joined a New York militia company. At the opening of hostilities he led a successful raid to capture British cannon at the Battery, after which the unit became an artillery company. Hamilton subsequently raised the New York Provincial Company of Artillery in 1776. "ALEXANDER" is also carved in 1/8" high letters along the bottom of the horn near the spout. There are several geometric designs also carved on the horn, along with what appears to be a representation of a blockhouse inside a fort with a river leading to it. On the underside of the horn, beneath the name and date, there is a unicorn, behind which is the legend "First When When (sic) Came To Ohio" and some additional letters that are illegible due to wear. The 1773 date is also a significant point in the westward expansion into Ohio, where Hamilton would eventually own large tracts of land. The back side of the horn shows heavy smooth wear from being carried and used, and there are three holes, the largest of which is ½". There are heavy iron staples for suspension on the butt and at the spout. The staple at the spout actually ties the brass collar to the horn. The butt is held in place with five square cut nails, two of which are placed on either side of an old crack, indicating that long ago the horn was probably slightly trimmed and the butt reinserted.

    As a further note- on the 250th anniversary of Hamilton's birth, January 11, 2007, this horn was examined by Douglas Hamilton, the family historian. Included with the horn is a statement from him stating that "...this is the powder horn which was carved, owned and used by my ancestor Alexander Hamilton....". There is a substantial amount of additional research and documentation that the horn did indeed belong to Hamilton; however, all of the research/ documentation is from secondary sources and, although far from "iron clad," it does present a very convincing argument. A great carved 18th century American powder horn with strong implications of ownership and use by one of America's most important "founding fathers."


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    Auction Dates
    July, 2009
    25th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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