INTERESTING RELICS IN BRUNSWICK, TOPSHAM, AND HARPSWELL.
The relics that will be mentioned in this chapter are of articles that originally belonged in this vicinity or that were brought here by the early settlers.
The christening basin of Robert Jordan, son of Reverend Robert Jordan who came to this country in 1640, was in the Jordan family in this town until 1854 or 1855, when it was sold to Honorable Seth Storer of Scarborough. This basin was made of finely wrought brass, and was probably purchased about the year 1640 or 1650.
A book entitled "Burkett's Commentary on the New Testament," which is said to have been brought over to this country in 1640 by Reverend Robert Jordan, is in the possession of Mrs. Narcissa Jordan, of Bath.
Honorable Charles J. Gilman has, in a fair state of preservation, a Bible once owned by Reverend Robert Dunlap. It was printed in 1698. He also has a silver mug, of about a quart in size, which was the property of Captain John Dunlap, and is now over a hundred years old. It is of solid silver and very heavy. It was used for drinking flip.
The late Doctor John D. Lincoln had the first silver dollar ever owned by his grandfather, Captain John Dunlap, who is said to have been at his death the richest man in Maine. The doctor had also a silver flagon with the arms of the Toppan family engraved upon it, which was the property of his grandmother Dunlap, and is upwards of one hundred years old. He had also a fire-fender which once belonged to General Knox, and which is an elegant article. The doctor had also a collection of coins which is one of the finest collections in the State.
There is in possession of the Woodside family a portrait of Rev-erend James Woodside, who preached in Brunswick in 1719. It bears date,"1726, by Gibson."
The hat-box of William Woodside and a brass warming-pan once owned by him are now in the possession of the Woodside family. The hat-box is triangular in shape, each side being eighteen inches long, and the depth of the box is six inches. The box is covered with a figured paper, and is lined with newspapers bearing the date 1761. It was made to contain the triangular hat which Woodside used to wear.
The church of the First Parish in Brunswick has in its possession nine pieces of sacramental plate, which were given to the church in 1737. Of these are two flagons, upon one of which is inscribed, "Gift of Benjamin Larrabee Esquire, 1737"; and upon the other, Gift of Capt. John Minot, Esq.
1737,To the Church of Christ in Brunswick.." The other pieces are three plates and four cups.
Two pewter plates, a part of the wedding outfit of William and Mary Sylvester, who were married in 1736, and who moved to Harpswell soon after, are now in the possession of Mrs. George E. Springer, of Brunswick, who is their great-granddaughter. Mrs. Springer has also a wooden candlestick, made by Mr. Sylvester with a jackknife. It consists of a wooden shaft about four feet high, an inch and a half in diameter at the bottom and for half its length, the upper half being about three fourths of an inch in diameter, and is cut like a screw. Upon this staff a cross-arm screws up and down. At each end of the cross-arm there is a socket for a candle, the screw allowing the can-dles to be raised or lowered as desired.
In possession of the Maine Historical Society is the gun which was captured from an Indian in 1725 by James Cochran.
Mr. Chapin Weston has a basket made by his great-grandfather, Jacob Weston, in 1775. It is what was called a bottle basket , being made of the right shape and size to carry a large bottle. The dimen-sions are twelve inches deep, and six inches square across the top, tapering slightly towards the bottom. It is made of white-oak strips, and the handle is made without a splice. It is a nice piece of work-manship, and must have been a convenient article in the days when a bott e, was carried wherever one went. It might also have served in the place of the modern canteen. Mr Weston also has a three-dollar bill, Continental money, dated 1777, it being a part of what was paid Jacob Weston for his services as a private in the Revolution.
Mr. Samuel Adams, of Bowdoinham, has in his possession a blank book which was used for arithmetical problems by Samuel Adams, who was a private in Captain White's company, of Brunswick, in Washington's army, while encamped at Valley Forge. The cover is
made of a piece of his tent cloth, and the strings were torn from a piece of cloth of which his breeches were made.
Theodore S. McLellan, of Brunswick, has an axe which was made by Thomas Stone about the year 1795.
T. M. Giveen, Esquire, has a very formidable club, which, it is said, was years ago taken from a "yagger"1 during a conflict with the students. It is of hard wood, sixteen inches in length and about an inch and a half in diameter. At one end is a huge knot, into which a hole was bored and filled with lead. Nails were also driven into this end of the club and filed off, leaving sharp points about half an inch in length. There are four of these iron points. At the opposite end a groove was cut, to which a cord was tied. In the hands of a strong man, this club would be a deadly weapon.
Mr. David Work has several relics. Among them are two small, leaf-shaped dishes which belonged to "Skipper" Malcom, and are now one hundred and ten years old. They were probably used to hold the snuffings of the candles. He has also a table-plate of the "Skipper's." He has, too, a cup and saucer which belonged to Mrs. William Randall, and are now more than one hundred and ten years old. He has also a pewter spoon and an iron fork which he dug out of the cellar of the house in which Doctor Philip G. Hoyt once resided. The supposed age of these latter relics is ninety years.
A candlestick purchased in Boston in 1770, by Brigadier Samuel Thompson, is now the property of Mrs. Robert Tate. The base is of marble surmounted by two bronze statuettes holding the brass socket for the candle. It was doubtless considered, at the time it was pur-chased, a handsome and valuable article.
Mr. James F. Mustard has a gun of French manufacture, which is supposed to be over one hundred years old, and a pair of saddle-bags of about the same age.
The late Mr. Rufus Rogers had quite a number of Indian relics, such as tomahawks, arrow-heads, stone tools, etc., which are now in the possession of the Maine Historical Society.
An Indian tomahawk was dug up in 1863 in a field near the house of William Sprague.
Several cannon-balls - four-pounders - have been dug up in
1. The name applied by the college students to the rowdies who lived at the north end of the town. The word is probably a corruption of the German Yager, meaning a hunter.
Mr. James Wilson's field adjoining his house, where was once a block-house. Various Indian relics have also been dug up there.
There is in the possession of Mrs. Samuel Douglass a set of silver sleeve-buttons which were worn by Captain John Rogers at his wedding, about the year 1775.
Mr. W. W. Patten has a foot-stove which was used early in this century, and perhaps previously, for keeping the feet warm "in meeting." It is made of perforated tin, in which were placed live coals, the tin being encased in a wooden frame. It is about nine or ten inches square. Probably there are quite a number of other foot-stoves in existence in this vicinity, but this is the only one we have seen.
The family of Major Joshua Haskell have in their possession the arms and equipments which he used while in service in the war of 1812.
Owing to a lack of personal acquaintance with many of the citizens of Harpswell, and to the scattered situation of its inhabitants, it has not been found practicable to obtain accounts of many of the relics which are doubtless preserved in private families as heirlooms.
A sword once owned by Captain Johnson Harmon, a hero of the Indian wars in the early part of the last century, and which was probably worn by him in his attacks upon the Indians, is now the property of Captain A. C. Stover. It is straight, single-edged, with a deer engraved on each side of the blade, about six inches from the hilt. The handle is of buck-horn.
Mr. David S. Dunning, of Portland, formerly of Harpswell, has a little pocket-compass which Captain Andrew Dunning bought of a French prisoner, whom he was conveying from Quebec to Virginia shortly after the capture of Quebec in 1759.
Mr. Stephen Purinton, of Harpswell, has a warming-pan which was once the property of the wife of John Merrill, Esquire, of Topsham. Its age is not known, but it is probably over a hundred years old.
The sword of Nathaniel Purinton, of Harpswell, an officer in the Revolution, is now in the possession of Charles E. Purinton, of Bowdoinham.
Mr. Stephen Purinton has a stone gouge which he found on a shell-bank on his premises. It is of hard sandstone, and is about five inches long by two and a half broad. Quite a number of flint arrow-heads have been dug up in this vicinity.
There is in the possession of James E. Skolfield a part of a gun and
a knife which were ploughed out where a house is supposed to have once stood, though there is no account, traditional or otherwise, of any resident at that place.
Mr. Skolfield's wife has also a salt-cellar, in good condition, in the shape of an oak-leaf, which is over one hundred years old.
There is in the family of Charles N. Leavitt a white earthen plate which was his great-grandmother's. It is over one hundred and fifty years old. The picture on the plate is a representation of a party at a festival in the cabin of a vessel. Under it are the words, "The Captains Cabin." It is really a fine thing.
Thomas S. Skolfield has a gun which formerly belonged to Thomas Spear. It was given to Skolfield by Spear more than seventy years ago, and is supposed to be about two hundred years old.
The following account of the discovery in Harpswell of an old Indian burying-ground, with some curious ornaments found on or near some of the skeletons, is taken from some notes written by the late Reverend Edward Ballard, D. D.
On May 24, 1861, seven skeletons, evidently Indian, were thrown up by the ploughshare on the farm of Mr. Henry Barnes, on the eastern side of Middle Bay, near the shore. They were about twelve or fifteen inches below the surface of the ground, and lay in the direction of northeast and southwest. In the ground near these skeletons were found the following ornaments:-
1. Three copper tubes, a little less than half an inch in diameter, one being over a foot long One of these was filled with decayed twisted bark, which was probably used as a cord. Four others were found that were only two inches in length, and a little more than an eighth of an inch in diameter. They were attached in couples, as pendants, to two strings of prepared deer-skin, which were curiously knotted at their point of union.
2. Four other specimens were found, made of the same thin copper, but of a conical shape, nearly three inches in length, half an inch at the base, and tapering to a quarter of an inch at the top, which were unattached when found.
3. Two flat thin pieces of brass, about two and three quarter inches long, triangular, more than an inch and a half broad at the base, and diminishing to about a quarter of an inch at the-top, where they were rounded, and had a hole showing them to have been designed as pendants.
4. More than sixty white shell beads, each a fourth of an inch long and a little less than an eighth of an inch in diameter, were
gathered from the same spot. A spiral groove around the sides showed that they were made from the shell-fish which the Indians called "Quohock" (Venus mercenaria).
"A shell furnished only one grooved bead, which was taken from the thickest part near the hinge and rubbed down on sandstones to the proper length and thickness, and in order to preserve the size necessarily leaving the groove where the ligament was attached, that secured the shells at the hinges. Two of these beads were slightly colored, and somewhat smaller, plainly showing, however, they were taken from the edge nearest the anterior portion of the shell. Between each of the beads were thin circular plates of dark purple shell, perforated, and appearing to have been made of the thin part of the same shell. They were called 'Suckanhocks ', and were twice the value of the white. Both kinds were used as money. and also for the decoration of the necks of the wives and children of the Indians. On the same skeleton where these various ornaments were discovered, was a portion of hair well preserved, somewhat long, and gathered in a wrapper in the best state of preservation about the neck, made of braided bark, like basket-work, which soon fell to pieces when brought into the air."
One of the remaining skeletons was that of a child about eight years old. The other four were those of adults, and were buried at short distances from each other, with no regularity, except in the similarity of the direction of their graves. They presented no objects of interest beyond the fact of their discovery. Two iron axes of European manufacture, ground for use, were found on the same day by means of the plough, at a short distance from the skeleton, on the same swell. They have no head above the eye.
"Axes of similar shape, with long handles for bush and branch work, are still in use among the Micmacs. These implements, however, may have been lost on the place by the first settler, whose name was MacNess, and who occupied the shore with two dwellings about two hundred years ago, of which the places are indicated by the cellars, which were deep, at the distance of two or three rods from the deposit of the relics."