02-15-2009 02-15-2009
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2444 Boston
February 15, 2009 11:00AMCalender

Engraved Powder Horn

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2444 Location: Boston Date / Time: February 15, 2009 11:00AM


Engraved Powder Horn, Fort No. 4, New Hampshire, c. 1757, the horn inscribed "Benjamin Bellows Jun'r/His Horn made at No. 4/August 30th 1757," below a verse reading: "Tis Beft abroad with for[ei]gn foes to fight/And not at Home to feel their Hatefull fpite/Where all our friends of e'ery fex and age/Would be Expof'd unto their cruel Rage," ornamented with stylized floral, scrolled foliate, and geometric designs with a recessed throat with raised ring near the tip, the pine plug centered with an iron staple is fastened to the horn with wooden pegs, lg. approx. 17 1/2 in.

Provenance: Family descent.

Note: This horn belonged to Benjamin Bellows, Jr., the son of Colonel Benjamin Bellows, who was born on May 26, 1712, in Lancaster, Massachusetts. He served in the British army in several of the wars against the French in North America. He was also a skilled surveyor and surveyed most of the towns on both sides of the Connecticut River granted by Massachusetts Governor Benning Wentworth. He was purported to have held title to some 9,000 acres in Vermont and New Hampshire at the time of his death in 1777. The town of Bellows Falls, Vermont, was named after him although he lived across the Connecticut River in Walpole, New Hampshire. Benjamin Bellows married Abigail Stearns on October 7, 1736, and together they had eight children.

Literature: This horn bears similar design elements to the Lake George School of horn decoration, executed during the French and Indian War (1755-1763). See Drums A'beating, Trumpets Sounding: Artistically Carved Powder Horns in the Provincial Manner 1746-1781, by William H. Guthman, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut, pp. 23, 90, 118, and color plate 8. The "No. 4" in the inscription refers to one of the frontier fortresses, Fort No. 4, which at the time was the northern outpost of colonial settlements of nine townships built along the Connecticut River. The Fort was completed in 1746. The area later became the site of Charlestown, New Hampshire. An incident at No. 4, occurred on August 30, the same day inscribed on the powder horn, was recorded in History of Keene New Hampshire, by Simon Goodell Griffin, p. 118. "On the 30th of August that place was again visited by the savages. Eleven of them went to the house of Capt. James Johnson, about 100 rods north of the fort, captured him and his wife, three children, a young sister of Mrs. Johnson, Ebenezer Farnsworth and Peter Larabee, and took them to Crown point and thence to Canada.
This and the outrages at Stevenstown were committed by the St. Francis Indians and their allies, the Schaghticokes and Squawkheags, who formerly inhabited this region."

Estimate $8,000-12,000

252 Please note that the owner of the powder horn, Benjamin Bellows, Jr., was the son of Colonel Benjamin Bellows, namesake of Bellows Falls, New Hampshire.
1/4 x 3/4 in. loss on tip, some old edge losses to horn on butt end.


Keene New Hampshire, New Hampshire, Benjamin Bellows, Fort No., Colonel, Benjamin Bellows , Jr., Connecticut River, Massachusetts, Lancaster, British army, skilled surveyor , Benning Wentworth, Vermont, Walpole, Abigail Stearns, Lake George School, William H. Guthman, Connecticut, Connecticut Historical Society, Charlestown, Simon Goodell Griffin, James Johnson, Ebenezer Farnsworth, Peter Larabee, Stevenstown