Current Exhibitions

Weapons

Our collection of weapons has not been on view for many years. Interestingly the first two acquisitions of the Oysterponds Historical Society in 1945 were both rifles. Virtually all the firearms, most of the swords, most of the powder horns, and all of the South Seas weapons can be traced to specific Oysterponds families. One of the earliest firearms in the collection is the flintlock shotgun donated by the esteemed naturalist, Roy Latham. It belonged to his ancestor Jonathan Fish Latham who carried it during the War of 1812. Another early firearm is the fowling piece made by a New York rifle-maker in the 1840s. The two Springfield rifles were most likely used by Orient soldiers during the Civil War. Walter Kluge, Jr. made the replica of a Revolutionary War rifle using wood from his father’s land on Brown’s Hills in Orient.

A British Revolutionary War sword has an engraving of a crown and the letters “GR” (for King George III). It was found in Orient during the excavation for a foundation, and is the earliest sword in the exhibition. Other swords date from the Civil War. There are handsome presentation swords and dress swords – both sabers and rapiers – made for officers in the U.S. Army and Navy. The shorter swords in the display are bayonets.

Captain Edwin P. Brown, Orient’s only whaling captain, brought back beautifully carved, but lethal, war clubs from Fiji when he visited those islands during his long voyage on the Lucy Ann in the late 1840s. Two of the most dangerous-looking (and dangerous to handle) weapons in the exhibition are the rush spear and the dagger made with shark’s teeth. The South Sea islanders had no access to metal, so devised their deadly weapons with the material at hand.

Some of the oldest objects in the OHS collections are the powder horns. These are earlier than most of the firearms on view. Many are in fact dated; some have multiple dates, with successive owners (probably fathers and sons) adding their own dates. Some have carefully etched designs; others simply have the initials of the owner.

Exhibit Items

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