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Author Archives: Joel Bohy

244 Years Later: The Willard Buttrick Powder Horn

Willard Buttrick Powder Horn, made in 1774 and used in 1775

As a lifelong historian of the events of April 19th, 1775, I have been searching for related objects ever since I was quite young. One of those relics was the powder horn owned by Willard Buttrick, a member of Captain David Brown’s Concord Minute Company. I had read about the horn in a book published by the Town of Concord for the centennial celebration in 1875, although the printer had misspelled the name “William.” As a very important object from the fight that took place 100 years earlier, it was on display in the dinner tent for event visitors, the most distinguished being President Ulysses S.Read More

Archaeology at Minuteman Historical National Park: The Parker’s Revenge Project

As a child growing up in the town of Concord, Massachusetts, I have always had a passion for the history and material culture of the events leading up to the start of the American Revolution. Years ago, I began going to local historical societies trying to find new documentation, as well as objects with a solid provenance to this period. Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to look into the ground and see if we could find the location of the spot that the Lexington militia arrived on the Battle Road on April 19th 1775 to attack the retreating British column on their return from Concord.… Read More

Powder Horn Tells Story of Siege of Boston Soldier

Detail of Captain Peter Perit's Carved Powder Horn

Captain Peter Perit’s Carved Powder Horn, c. 1775 (Lot 114, Estimate $20,000-$24,000)

One of the wonderful Powder horns coming up in the next Historic Arms & Militaria auction today (2856M), and arguably one of the best extant Siege of Boston horns carved by craftsman Jacob Gay (Lot 114, Estimate $20,000-$25,000). It was owned by Peter Perit, a Captain of a company in Colonel Charles Webb’s Connecticut regiment. In September of 1775, Webb’s regiment was ordered to Winter Hill for the siege.… Read More

A Civil War Collector’s Prize: The Richmond Depot Type II Jacket

Richmond Depot Type II Jacket

Richmond Depot Type II Jacket from 2nd Lieutenant John James Haines, 2nd Virginia Infantry, c. 1862-63 (Lot 147, Estimate $30,000-$40,000)

One of the most interesting Civil War collectors I knew when I was young was the late Denis Reen. His antics are still talked about over campfires in the living history community, and I am proud to be offering his collection in Skinner’s upcoming, October 30th, Historic Arms & Militaria auction.… Read More

Revolutionary War History: The Musterfield Flints

At about 9:00 A.M. on the morning of April 19th, 1775, approximately 450 men from Concord and the neighboring towns of Acton, Lincoln, Bedford, and Westford congregated on a rising pasture above the North Bridge. Capt. David Brown, one of the captains of Concord’s two minute companies, happened to own the pasture, which had a good view of the bridge. In the nearby town of Lexington, 700 British grenadiers and light infantry had arrived to look for large quantities of hidden military supplies and arms.

American Revolutionary War History: What Happened to the Original North Bridge?

North Bridge, Concord, 1775. Painting by Don Troiani, Historical Art Prints. www.historicalartprints.com

On April 19, 1775, minutemen and militia faced off with British regulars at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. This day would turn out to be the “spark” that ignited the American Revolution.

Two hundred years later, I was a 9-year-old attending the Ripley School in Concord. During a bicentennial ceremony, I received a small block of wood, and so did all of the other students at the school.… Read More

The Puzzle of the Royal Artillery Pouch: A Relic of the Revolutionary War

Reproduction of a Royal Artillery Pouch by Joel Bohy

You never know what you will find while doing research. In November 2010, I was at the Arlington Historical Society, studying the events of April 19th, 1775 that sparked the Revolutionary war in America. The Museum Director asked me if I was interested in seeing a British belt which had purportedly been taken on April 19th during the British retreat through West Cambridge, MA (now the city of Arlington).… Read More

A Portrait Painted by Paul Revere and a Moment in American History

Paul Revere, Jr. (Boston, 1734-1818) Portrait of Major John Pitcairn on Horseback (Lot 76, Estimate $20,000-$30,000)

A few weeks ago, Stephen Fletcher, Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts at Skinner, handed me a small watercolor sketch. The two names written along the bottom caught my attention immediately: “Major John Pitcairn” and “Paul Revere, Del.” [delineavit]. I couldn’t believe what I was holding in my hands!… Read More

Gratitude and Honor to his Memory!

Skinner will offer a historic Colt revolver at auction 150 years after Capt. Thomas James Eubanks’ death

I have spent many hours walking the grounds of the Gettysburg battlefield, tracing the events that took place there in July 1863. Just a few weeks ago, I was at the site again, this time with a beautifully engraved pistol that had been presented to a Confederate soldier who fought in the battle: Capt. Thomas James Eubanks of the 48th Alabama Regiment.… Read More

The Heroic Admiral and the Box without a Key

The first clue to the mystery was this clipping from the Boston Journal, December 18, 1901

What could be more tantalizing to an antiques appraiser than a mysterious locked box? The great-granddaughter of Rear Admiral Frank Wildes, U.S.N. brought such a box to Skinner along with the admiral’s other belongings: a tin case with his chapeau bras, epaulettes, and an image of the admiral, his two-star flag, silver-plate items from his cabin, gloves, a few other related objects.… Read More

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