Brunk Auctions
Live Auction

Premier Auction - Session II

Sat, Mar 26, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 941

Important Revolutionary War Era Powder Horn

Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$100 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $200
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

late 18th century, of the influential Harrington and possibly Munroe family, fully intact horn body with walnut butt and integral button, tapered spout, engraved "Nehemiah M. Harrington's horn/given to him by S.H./in Lexington/Warren Harrington"? [final line intentionally obscured with scratches], decorated with intermittent flourishes throughout as well as buildings, windmills, church, harbor scene, liberty tree, masted ships bearing flags, feather, total length 12 in.

Note: The inscription ?Nehemiah M. Harrington? could possibly refer to Nehemiah Munroe Harrington born in 1808 to Joseph and Lucy Harrington (n‚e Russell) of Middlesex County.

It is important to note that this inscribed name appears to be on a smoothed portion of the horn as if another name previously occupied the space and ownership of the horn was duly reassigned to Nehemiah. The alteration appears to be centuries old and was likely from an elder Harrington, perhaps one who stood present at Lexington Green in April of 1775. Two members of the Harrington family, Jonathan and Caleb, were among the original eight martyred in that genesis to Revolutionary combat. Both slain men were first cousins to Abigail Harrington who was married to William Munroe. The horn itself by size and form is typical of horns used during the American Revolutionary War. The notation that it was gifted by ?S.H.? could be shorthand for Sarah Harrington, a biological aunt to Nehemiah. As for the scrimshawed iconography found on the horn, ships bearing indecipherable flags are depicted in a harbor scene, possibly Boston Harbor. Towards the thicker base of the horn, a large Liberty Tree casts shade over a Dutch-style windmill and adjoining steeple. Other unidentified buildings, including a second windmill, are also observed along a grassy coastline. Similar design motifs can be found in Bill Guthman?s book. Guthman, William H. Drums A?Beating, Trumpets Sounding: Artistically Carved Powder Horns in the Provincial Manner, 1746-1781. Hartford, Conn: Connecticut Historical Society, 1993.

Provenance: Private Collection, New York State


rich honey coloration throughout, shallow fissures as typical, single isolated wormhole, smoothed ground under script name (appears done long ago), area on neck fluoresces under black light of tape or other residue, integral button with some notching, stopper absent