Two Painted Leather Fire Buckets, Rhode Island, early 19th century, tapered cylindrical form, both painted black with red painted collars, one with a red heart motif and painted "No. 28," over white lettering "G.W. Ellery 1824," the other with white lettering "No. 2 Wm Ellery 1800," leather- covered rope handles (handles detached, wear), ht. 11 1/4, 10 5/8 in.
Provenance: The Francis family formerly of Newport, Rhode Island.
Note: The fire buckets have been in the Francis family since the early 20th century, and while it is not clear how they came to be the property of this family, research indicates that they appear to have originally belonged to the family of William Ellery, one of two Rhode Island signers of the Declaration of Independence. Since the dates painted on the buckets are 1800 and 1824, it would indicate that the buckets belonged to either William Ellery(1727-1820) the signer or his sons , William Ellery (1761-1836) and George Wanton Ellery (1789-1867), all of Newport, Rhode Island. In the early 19th century Newport, Rhode Island had many "bucket brigades" and during this time Newport's Company No. 2 was known as the "Rough and Ready." It appears one of these buckets is from this company. Photocopied information relating to the history of William Ellery and his family is included in this lot.