Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1759 "Anaplus Rial" Powder Hown - Part 1

This probably is not the big reveal for our new artifact which I had planned but, tonight has been a busy night and I am quickly moving toward sleepy. On top of that, I am trying diligently to pay attention to the score in the Canada vs Russia hockey game on a computer feed so I may be a bit distracted. Despite sleepiness and distraction, I figured that I should probably write a post about the artifact which has caused such great excitement around the O'Dell House Museum.

So, when Nathan and I opened the box from New Hampshire on Monday morning what we unpacked was this beautifully decorated powder horn from 1759. This may have been the first time this horn was seen in Annapolis Royal in 250 years. When I removed the wrapping I slowly turned the horn looking for the text which I knew was written on it. There it was, scratched onto the length of the horn, the words "Anaplus Rial" or Annapolis Royal. The thought that we had returned a unique piece of provincial history to the place of its creation was a very rewarding one. We have seen so much of our material culture sold or taken to different parts of the world that it is nice to reclaim a piece.

The horn was originally the property of a gentleman named Nathaniel Horten. In most references his name is found as Horton but he did write it as Horten on the horn. At this point, we are still trying to trace much of the story of Horten's life. We have discovered that he was born in Eastham, Massachusetts around 1722. We also know that he married a woman named Eunice Snow whose name also appears on the horn. At this point we do not know why Horten was in Annapolis Royal in 1759 although we assume that he was either attached to the military or fishing. The fact that the horn is decorated with images of ships and a halibut may lend credibility to the idea he was fishing. We have also not yet established a firm date of death for Nathaniel Horten but we do know that Eunice remarried in 1771 so he was probably dead by that time. Since we are actively researching this piece, what we know is developing and changing by the day. We have already developed a family connection between Eunice and the migration of New England Planters to Granville in the 1760s. I will make additional posts as we continue to learn about this extraordinary artifact. This will also give me the opportunity to discuss the bizarre way in which we came to purchase the powder horn in the first place.

All for now,

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