EXTRAORDINARILY RARE AND HISTORIC REVOLUTIONARY WAR POWDER HORN USED BY MINUTEMAN OLIVER BUTTRICK AT BATTLE OF CONCORD, APRIL 19, 1775.
In untouched, original condition and inscribed “Oliver Buttrick, OCT. 1774”, this important powder horn was carried at the first battle of the American Revolution. Early in April, 1775 word was passed on to the British command that rebel colonists had amassed arms and powder now hidden in Concord, MA. Lt. Col. Francis Smith was commander of about 700 British army regulars in Boston and on the morning of April 19th an expedition would march from Boston to Concord to capture and destroy these arms. Word of this action was discovered by the colonists and immediately spread to local militias. One of those individuals responsible for the alarm was Paul Revere who was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”. The British arrived at Lexington first, however the minuteman militia had not had ample time to assemble in force and fell back. The British regulars then moved on to Concord. Concord however, was a different story. Enough time had passed so that a large contingent of minutemen had been alerted and a formidable force held the North Bridge in Concord defying the British regulars. The confrontation eventually erupted into gun fire which became known as “the shot heard round the world”. This historic battle is known as the first true major military engagement of defiance from the colonists with the British Empire. As such some consider it the most important military engagement in the annals of the evolution of the United States. Young Oliver Buttrick was one of seven Buttrick family members to join with other minutemen in this historic conflict. Oliver’s uncle, Major John Buttrick led the advance at the Old North Bridge that day. As referenced in his detailed pension application of 1834, Oliver was in David Brown’s Company and served alongside his brother William, who was killed three weeks later at Bunker Hill. Fellow Minutemen that day included Abiel Buttrick, Daniel Buttrick, Tilly Buttrick, Willard Buttrick and John Buttrick, Jr. (the 14-year old fifer). In 1901, George Tolman read his paper “The Concord Minutemen” to the Concord Antiquarian Society, listing the above named Buttrick family members in his account. Oliver Buttrick would serve under the command of three of the very same men with whom he fought shoulder to shoulder on April 19th; notably, Sgt. Abishai Brown, Capt. James Barrett and Capt. George Minot. As stated in the 1896 publication, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Oliver Buttrick fought in such celebrated arenas as Point Shirley, Bennington, Ticonderoga, Fishkills, and Soldiers Fortune (near West Point). He also performed guard duty on a prison ship in Boston Harbor. The date on the horn is significant. Unrest among the Patriots started years before this first skirmish. In the summer and fall of 1774, rebellion was at fever pitch. In fact, on October 4, 1774, the recently formed Massachusetts Provincial Congress issued what amounted to its own declaration of independence and on October 24, 1774, that same angry and determined Congress authorized the procurement or armaments. 18th Century American soldiers and militiamen identified their horns with their name and often the date it was made. The use of inked vellum under glass lens was a rare form of decoration and seen on only a few other 18th Century examples. This powder horn is among the few existing objects that can be directly associated with the first Battle for American Independence and to our knowledge this powder horn is the only Colonial horn used at this historic confrontation to ever be offered for sale. In fact, to our knowledge, nothing used by a minuteman at the Concord engagement has been sold at auction in many years. This is indeed a truly extraordinarily rare and historic artifact and presents a once in a lifetime opportunity. Oliver Buttrick’s Historical and Biographical Information: Oliver descended from one of the oldest Concord families, dating back to William Buttrick, who arrived from England in 1635. (In difference sources, the family name is also spelled Buttrike and Butterick). According to Concord Registers, Book II, Oliver was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1757. He was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Buttrick. His siblings were William (b. July 13, 1754), Marcy Buttrick (b. October 10, 1775), Amos (b. April 27, 1758), and a child who was born and who died on January 22, 1761. His parents, Samuel Buttrick and Elizabeth Blood were married October 2, 1750, by Rev. Daniel Bliss of Concord. Oliver’s father, Samuel, was born in Concord on November 16, 1718, and died there January 14, 1814, at the age of 96. Oliver’s Grandfather, Deacon Jonathan Buttrick, was born on April 4, 1690 and died March 23, 1767. On December 19, 1718, he married Elizabeth Wooley, who was born April 8, 1700 and, after giving birth to 14 children, died January 26, 1772. Deacon Jonathan’s father, Samuel Buttrick, was born January 12, 1654 and died August 8, 1726. On June 21, 1677, in Concord, this Samuel Buttrick married another Elizabeth Blood, born in 1656 and died on March 7, 1733. Samuel Buttrick’s father was Wiliam Buttrick, mentioned above as the first of the family in North America. Most of these ancestors are buried in the Old Hill Burying Ground in Concord. On March 30, 1786, Oliver Buttrick married Sarah Hall from Ashby, Massachusetts, which is 28 miles from Concord. Their marriage was recorded in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Their children were: Asa b?; Eli b. 1887; Sarah b. Ashburnham, Nov. 2, 1791; Sarah m. May 18, 1825, to Ebenezer Ellenwood of Pelham, N.H.; Jonas b. July 5, 1797 d., Jan 13, 1814 and another Jonas Buttrick d. 1865 Pelham, N.H., Nathan b. Mar. 6, 1799. Ephraim, b?; Betsy b. 1801 (or, 1805,) d. Bedford, Oct. 1, 1889, m. in Pelham, N.H. on Mar 31, 1825, to David Fitch of Billerica. Fitch was b. Feb 20, 1802, d. May 19, 1851; Asanath, b. Pelham, N.H. abt. 1807, m. April 5, 1827, to Jesse Robinson, Jr. of Bedford. After the war, Oliver and Sarah lived much of their lives in Pelham, N.H., where their children were born and raised and where most of them died. At 77 years old, Oliver filed for his Revolutionary War pension. In his pension, he states that when he officially entered into the service of his country he was 5′ 11″, age 21, and that he was living in Concord. Oliver encountered difficulty having his claim for a pension processed through the War Department. But with testimony from numerous parties, the application was finally approved in December of 1834. One individual, Thaddeus Blood, (presumably his cousin as his mother’s maiden name was Blood) the last member of his company living in Concord, wrote and affidavit on behalf of Oliver stating that they had served and fought together during many battles of the Revolutionary War. Interesting Note: The history of Windham, New Hampshire, (Morrison, Leonard Allison, The History of Windham in New Hampshire [Rockingham County] 1719-1883; Boston, Mass.: Cupples, Upham & Co. 1883) page 192 states: “Jams P. Hughes has an old powder horn marked October 1774. It was the property of Oliver Buttrick of Pelham.” We may never know how James P. Hughes came into possession of the powder horn. However, we do know that he was a contemporary and neighbor of several of Oliver’s children in Pelham, N.H. and an important and influential citizen of that town. This powder horn is among the few existing objects that can be directly associated with the first Battle for American Independence and to our knowledge this powder horn is the only Colonial horn used at this historic confrontation to ever be offered for sale. In fact, to our knowledge nothing used by a minuteman at the Concord engagement has been sold at auction in many years. This is indeed a truly extraordinarily rare and historic artifact and presents a once in a lifetime opportunity. This horn was on display at the Concord Museum in an exhibition of items from this most important of American events. The exhibit spanned from April to September 2014. PROVENANCE: Oliver Buttrick, 1774, James P. Hughes, Windham, NH before 1883, Robert Thayer, 1994. Exhibited at the Concord Historical Society Museum, 2014 at the “Shot Heard Round the World” Exhibition. CONDITION: Very good with original surface, minor cracking and chipping near lip. Wood bezel has two chips which are well patinated as can be seen in photos and glass cover lens has a vertical crack. Original bailing wire loops are still present with smooth iron patina. 49789-5 (20,000-50,000) – Lot 2026Click here to view provenance
Auction: Fine Art, Asian & Antiques - Winter 2016
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