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Author Archives: Joel Bohy

244 Years Later: The Willard Buttrick Powder Horn

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

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. “TEMPELS FARM” is actually Ten Hills Farm, owned by Robert Temple on the southern bank of the Mystic River right next to Winter Hill.… Read More

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

Richmond Depot Type II Jacket

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.

One of his most prized possessions was the Richmond Depot Type II jacket he tracked down. Passed down through the family of the original owner for generations until he acquired it, it is the only known Stonewall Brigade jacket in private hands.… 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?

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. Our teacher told us that these pieces of wood were remnants of the North Bridge.… Read More

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

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). As soon as she opened the box, I realized it was not a belt, but a Royal Artillery cartridge pouch flap and strap, missing the leather pouch, wooden cartridge block, and brass insignia.… Read More

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

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! Not only could this be a rare painting by the famed engraver Paul Revere, but it could also be the only known period image of Major Pitcairn.… 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

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.

The box looked like a presentation sword case to me, but the great-granddaughter had never looked inside – she didn’t have a key.… Read More

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