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Title:powder horn
Date Made:20th century
Type:Armament; Container
Place Made:United States
Measurements:overall: 10 1/2 in x 3 5/8 in; 26.67 cm x 9.2075 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2006.28.3
Credit Line:Gift of the Family of William H. Guthman
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Reproduction of the powder horn owned by Dr. Thomas Williams (1718-1775), which is only known through a drawing by Rufus Alexander Grider (1817-1900) done in 1888 and now in the New York Historical Society. At the time, the Thomas horn was owned by James B. Williams, a Thomas Williams family descendent. The original is the only signed horn by John Bush (c.1725/26-c.1757), and with its death's-head, shell-like scrolls and calligraphy forms the basis for the attribution to Bush for twelve other horns. Born in Newton, Massachusetts, Dr. Thomas Williams had strong family connections to western Massachusetts and the town of Deerfield; his father, Colonel Ephraim Williams (1691-1754), was the first cousin of the Reverend John Williams (1664-1729), Deerfield’s famous minister. The Williams family occupied a respected position in western Massachusetts, particularly in areas of spirituality, local governance, and military matters. After graduating from Yale in 1737 and studying medicine in Boston with Dr. Wheat, Thomas Williams married Anna Childs (1723-1746) of Deerfield in 1739, where he settled and practiced medicine for the next 36 years. After Anna’s death in 1746, Williams married his first cousin, Esther Williams (1726-1800), daughter of the Reverend William Williams (1688-1760) of Weston, Massachusetts, and the sister of Colonel William Williams (1711/13-1784). Thomas Williams trained his nephew William Williams (d.1760) in medicine and took him along as a surgeon's mate on the Crown Point expedition of 1755. During the French and Indian War, Thomas Williams served at a string fo forts along the Massachusetts border west of the Connecticut River, including Fort Dummer and Fort Massachusetts on the Hoosick River near present day Williamstown, Massachusetts. Thomas's brother, Colonel Ephraim (1715-1755) commanded at those forts during this period, and Thomas saw Ephraim killed at the Battle of Lake George on September 8, 1755. The William Williams horn, which is HD 2006.20.6 in the HD collection, has similar decoration and is attributed to John Bush.

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