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This is a record of my search for a flintlock pistol of special interest to my family. I am writing it so that information I have obtained from diverse sources will not be lost, and with the hope that it may serve as a point of departure for future investigation.
My name is Richard W. Sanford and I am one of the many descendants of Maj. Gen. Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr. (1755-1843), a lifelong resident of Amherst, Mass., who fought as a junior officer in the Revolutionary War and later became Adjutant General of the Mass. Militia. I am 87 years of age, and live near Wilmington, Del.
During my boyhood in Swarthmore, Pa., a flintlock pistol was kept in a drawer of a "secretary" in our living room. There was a hand-written note fastened to the pistol's trigger guard which read:
"This pistol belongs to Bert Sanford. It was one of two pistols given by General Lafayette to Major Gen. Mattoon during the Revolutionary War. The Coles family of Ohio has the other one. Gen. Mattoon was Bert Sanford's great-great grandfather. This inscription was made and pistol presented by Mary Frances Sanford."
Bert Sanford was my father, Herbert B. Sanford (1882-1972). Mary Frances Sanford (1877-1963) was his older sister, and my aunt. As my three brothers and I were growing up it was always understood that the pistol had been given to my father's grandmother Emeline Mattoon Sanford (1812-1886), by Gen. Mattoon, who was her grandfather. It also was understood that it was to be inherited by the youngest son. So upon my father's death in 1972 it was passed to my youngest brother Walter M. Sanford (1920-1995). It now is in possession of Walter's widow Eunice H. Sanford, of Dallas, Tex. I believe that reference to the attached family tree, Fig. 1 (click to see), will help place family members in perspective.
A few years ago when I was looking over my parents' record of their possessions, prepared during the 1950s and 1960s, I happened to see the pistol listed as follows:
"Pistol given to Gen. Mattoon by LaFayette - One of a pair. The other is in possession of the Coles branch of the family in Ohio."
A later entry by my father changed the spelling to Cowles and said:
"Mrs. Cowles was a sister of my Grandmother Sanford and also a granddaughter of Gen. Mattoon".
Let me say here that I always thought of this as a dueling pistol; but I note now that the family records do not use the word "dueling".
I mentioned what I had found to my niece Leigh Sanford Harriman, (my brother Walter's daughter) of Richardson, Tex. (near Dallas) in e-mail correspondence; and she and her mother Eunice H. Sanford seemed to think it would be worthwhile to try to locate the mate to their pistol - because it would help to establish its authenticity and probably enhance its value.-
This beginning lead me to an extensive search with two objectives. One was the quest for the Cowles family pistol; the other was an attempt to better understand and authenticate the history of our family's pistol. Although this has been fascinating, I must say that it has only been partially successful, and much remains to be discovered.
Before going farther, I should like to describe the pistol. My words are based, for the most part, on a more detailed description written by Leigh Harriman; and the accompanying pictures are copies of a set of photos taken for this search by Leigh.
The pistol is a flintlock model, and still has a darkened piece of flint in the hammer, giving a hint that it might have been there when Gen. Mattoon had it. The pistol has an overall length of 12-1/4 inches and a 9/16 inch dia. bore. See Fig. 2.
On the underside of the barrel are what appear to be makers' marks. On a raised area about 1/2 inch long and 4-1/2 inches from the tip of the barrel there is a Roman Numeral VIII. At a point 5-5/8 inches from the tip is a small impressed mark of a crown and a V. About an inch farther toward the breech (or frame) is a second impressed mark showing a crown and a P. Both are quite clear with a magnifying glass, but the first crown is a little less clear with the naked eye. There is what appears to be a joint between the barrel and the breech, just behind the raised VIII. See Fig. 3.
On the left side, above the trigger, there is a rectangular decorative area showing a floral engraving, with the words KETLAND & Co. written on an engraved ribbon running diagonally across it. There is a large screw-head in the upper right hand corner, presumably what fastens the handle to the breech. There is more similar floral engraving on the other side of the breech. There is a conventional trigger guard surrounding the trigger. On the very bottom of this is an engraved flower. See Fig. 4.
The handle is made of dark wood, with beautiful scrollwork which is filled with tiny inlaid wire - probably silver. Some of the wire has come out over the years, leaving a fine impression where it would have been. So, at first glance the entire handle appears to be etched instead of inlaid. On the top of the handle there is an inlaid oval metal plate 1-1/8 inches long. It appears to be of silver and is trimmed with a delicate scalloped edge approximately 1/8 inch wide. On the plate are some engraved initials, but the script is very elaborate and the letters are hard to read with any certainty. One appears to be an "L", but the other is a mystery. See Fig's. 5 and 6.
On the butt end of the handle is an inlaid face, again presumably of silver. It is a fierce face which looks part human/part animal. It is approximately 2 inches high by 1-3/4 inches wide. There are eyebrows, open eyes, an odd flat impression of a nose, and a wide-open mouth. In the center of the mouth is a the head of a screw, giving the impression that the mouth has teeth as well. There is a pointed "leaf" about 1 inch long protruding out the top of the head. The face seems similar to that of a gargoyle in style. See Fig's. 5, 6 and 7.
I used the above information as a basis for contacting a number of gun experts, including collectors, dealers and museum curators, both in trying to authenticate our pistol's origin and finding its mate. I should say that in making these inquiries, I called the pistol a dueling pistol, which turned out to be incorrect. But I don't believe that detracted from the search significantly.
The two most helpful of my contacts were a dealer named Mike Clark, who was recommended by a gun historian named Hunter at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and Eric Goldstein, curator of a colonial weapons collection called "Lock, Stock & Barrel" at the DeWitt Wallace History Museum in Colonial Williamsburg. Their comments were as follows:
In a telephone conversation during which I read Leigh's description, Mr. Clark said the pistol is from the Georgian period (Geo. III) and very probably dates from the 1780's or so - before 1800 in any case. There were many Ketland locks, often made separately from the breech (frame). Most were sold to other manufacturers of pistols, so the pistol could have been made in France or elsewhere. Many manufacturers used some form of the "grotesque mask". He didn't have much to say about the markings on the barrel except that many times markings have been added or removed for some objective or other associated with stolen property or falsifying manufacturer, etc. But he said the escutcheon with the "L" on it is very important, and every possible effort should be made to decipher it. This is crucial to determining its origin.
He said the pistol, without any more positive authentication than we have of its origin ("family lore"), is worth about $3000-$5000. If its origin could be better proven, as by some letter or record written by an earlier ancestor or historian, etc., and especially if the other pistol and their case could be found, both could be worth a great deal more.
I obtained Mr. Goldstein's name from a visit to Colonial Williamsburg on a short vacation, although I did not get to see him while there. I later sent him a package containing our description of the pistol and prints of a few of the pictures. He called me at home and confirmed some of the things Mr. Clark had said, but added much more.
He said the pistol is a "holster pistol", or" pocket pistol", not a dueling pistol. It was called a "Queen Anne", or "screwbarrel", and was made by Ketland & Company of London in the 1770-1780 time period. The lock is not a separate part, as was suggested by Mr. Clark, but is integral with the breech into which the barrel is screwed. He said the pistol actually was an early form of breech-loader, in that it was loaded with the barrel removed, and then the barrel was screwed back on for firing. He said there is a "flat" on the barrel for a wrench, but I don't see one. Perhaps the raised lug stamped with the VIII is what provided a "purchase" for the wrench? He said the name "Queen Anne" originated when this type of pistol was first created during her reign in the early 18th century.
He said the "Crown V" and "Crown P" marks on the breech and the VIII on the barrel are standard London gun makers guild quality control symbols. (I believe they also indicate the place and date of manufacture.)He also said the silver inlay on the top of the handle was a very common embellishment, with the engraved initials being those of the owner. He thought the last letter is a "P", for sure, (not an "L"), and that the first letter may be "G", "P" or "I". After looking at the original photos again, I think the engraving might be pretty clear if viewed in certain lights, but I certainly don't know how the various letters were formed in the script of that day.
He said this pistol was one of the more commonly produced models of its time, and that they usually were made in lots of 2 or 4. So there well could have been a pair; but with the presently available information it would be very hard to prove that they ever were owned by Lafayette.
He said that dueling pistols, per se, were manufactured largely during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (As a matter of possible interest, the internet shows pictures of the dueling pistols used by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. They have stocks extending well forward under the barrels, and ramrods mounted beneath the barrels.)
He did think it would be possible for a British officer to have owned the pistols. If so, it would have been more likely that they were carried in his baggage rather than into battle. They definitely were not a military issue. He said officers were issued sabres as their arms. (I would think, however, that it might have been prudent to carry these handguns in addition to the sabre.)
I tried to find examples of the 17th century English alphabet on the internet, so we could study the letters ourselves, but was unsuccessful. So, I contacted jewelers and found one who had been engraving for 50-some years. He studied the picture of the engraving and said the way he saw it, there were two initials. The first was a "G" and the second a "P". So his reading confirmed (at least partially) the opinion of Curator Goldstein. There seems to be no letter "L", for Lafayette.
As I undertook this search I was uncertain about the words used in my Aunt Mary's note on the pistol saying that the pistol was given by General Lafayette "to Maj. General Mattoon during the Revolutionary War." I thought this to be misleading because Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr. was only a junior officer during the Revolutionary war, and there is no record of his being on Gen. Washington's staff or having any other assignment where he could have become closely acquainted with Lafayette. So I thought the pistols might actually have been presented during Lafayette's triumphal return visit and tour of the United States in 1824/25. By this time Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr. had become well-known and had received many honors, including a military rank of Major General and then appointment as Adjutant General of the Mass. Militia. (In that position he was in command of all the State's Militia, the Militia being comparable to today's National Guard.)
However, a study of Lafayette's secretary's account of the triumphal tour shows no reference to a meeting with Gen. Mattoon, nor does it record a stop in Amherst, Mass.; although they passed through that area on their way to Boston as they were completing their tour. Another fact that makes it questionable as to whether Lafayette met with Gen. Mattoon during his sweep is that the General had become completely blind in 1818, so would have had a difficult time getting to Boston, where Lafayette's visit was feted with a huge celebration.
Lastly, there is no record of a meeting between Gen. Mattoon and Lafayette in a book titled "Mary Mattoon and Her Hero of The Revolution" which was published by the Mary Mattoon Chapter of the DAR (Daughters Of The American Revolution) in Amherst, Mass. in 1902. Mary Mattoon was Gen. Mattoon's wife, and the book chronicles major and minor events of the General's life. A copy of this book was among my parents' possessions; and their records say it was to be passed to my brother Dr. Robert S. Sanford. But he died in 1993 and I do not know where it is now - so I decided to purchase a copy from an out-of-print book dealer on the internet. (There will be more about this book later.)
These findings lead me back again to the possibility that the pistol might have been given to Ebenezer Mattoon during the Revolutionary War. I have been able to confirm that he and Lafayette were at one of the Revolutionary War battlefields at the same time. The occasion was the Battle of Rhode Island, also called the Battle of Portsmouth, which took place on Aug. 29, 1778 between the towns of Newport and Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The Americans were commanded by a General Sullivan. Maj. Gen. Lafayette reported to him as a commander of 2 brigades of infantry. Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr. was there as a lieutenant in command of 40 men (platoon). He was in Capt. Lamb's company of Col. Nathaniel Wade's regiment. This is the only possible meeting place for these two men that I have been able to discover.
One might imagine a scenario taking place during (not after) the Revolutionary War. It can be assumed that during the Battle of Rhode Island some British officers were killed or captured; and it would be reasonable to think that some of their weapons were confiscated by American soldiers. It is conceivable that a soldier (or soldiers) attempted to give a pair of a captured officer's pistols to the distinguished Gen. Lafayette, as souvenirs; but Lafayette, already having enough personal arms, chose to pass them on to another young officer as a gesture of commendation. Thus, they might have been given by Lafayette, as family records state, but only indirectly and without any formal ceremony; and probably not as a boxed pair. In fact, they probably would have been passed to Lt.Mattoon by an aide, since there was such a difference in rank. (It may be of interest that Lafayette was only 21 years old in 1778. Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr. was 23.)
This scenario might explain why no mention of Gen. Lafayette has been found in references to tales Gen. Mattoon told in later life about his exploits and important people he had seen.
After thinking about the sequence of ownership of the Sanford pistol, I seem to find more questions than answers. As mentioned earlier, we always were told that our pistol was given by Gen. Mattoon to my Great-Grandmother Emeline Mattoon Sanford (1812-1888). I have found no solid information as to whether the pistols were passed directly by the General to Emeline and her sister, or whether they came through their father, Ebenezer Mattoon,III (1781-1868).
Records show that Emeline and her younger sister Lucena were born in Amherst, Mass., but their father, Ebenezer, III emigrated from Amherst to the vicinity of Springfield, Illinois in 1846, and then went on to purchase a farm near the small town of Bunker Hill, in southern Illinois, a year later. It seems quite possible that Lucena came with him to Bunker Hill. But older sister Emeline did not. Emeline must have emigrated to the Springfield area with other members of the family a few years earlier; and while there met Ira Sanford, my great-grandfather, who was born in Sharon, Conn. It is recorded that she and Ira were married in Springfield in 1842. However, both sisters spent many years of their adult lives in Bunker Hill, and very probably lived with their father on his farm. (It may be of interest that Ebenezer, III had served as administrative assistant to Gen. Mattoon with a rank of Brigade Major in the Massachusetts militia; and he was always known by the title of Major in his Bunker Hill years.)
It has been said that the girls' grandfather, Gen. Mattoon, enjoyed the company of young ladies who visited his home in Amherst; so it could be that he gave the pistols directly to his granddaughters during such a visit. Although the general had become blind when Emeline Mattoon was only 6 years old, and one year before her sister Lucena was born, he lived on until they were grown women.
There is a similar uncertainty as to whether the Sanford pistol ever actually was possessed by Emeline's son Solomon Noble Sanford (1846-1901), my grandfather. I infer from the wording on my aunt Mary's note on the pistol that it belonged to her before it was passed to my dad, because it says "This pistol was presented by Mary Frances Sanford". Thus, it might have been that the pistol was passed directly to Emeline and that Emeline had given it directly to my Aunt Mary (to keep it among the women of the family). Then, since she was not married and had no descendants, and her older sister Anna (1876-1922) had passed away without descendants, Aunt Mary gave it to my father.
The other thing that was taken for granted, as mentioned earlier, was that our pistol would be passed to the youngest son in our family. I think this tradition must only have started with my father, who was the youngest son in his generation (and had no daughters), because records don't show any of the earlier owners to be youngest sons or daughters.
I found the previously mentioned book "Mary Mattoon and Her Hero of The Revolution" of considerable help in gathering information about the General and his activities, but it was disappointing not to find any reference to the pistols. This was particularly so because my Grandmother Isa F. Sanford (1852-1949) (my father's mother) was listed in the Foreward as a contributor of information used for preparation of the book.
Turning our attention, now, to the mate of the Sanford pistol, the first thing I did was to try to find out who Emeline Mattoon Sanford's "Cowles" sister was, and where in Ohio she lived. This was not easy. It involved much investigation of references from the internet, etc. I would like to record the fact that in this quest I got a great deal of help and encouragement from two other descendants of Gen. Mattoon. They were Ann Orme Shipley of Olympia, Washington and David F. Robinson of Columbus, Ohio.
Early in the search I received a copy of the obituary for Lucena Mayo Mattoon (1787-1879) from Ann Shipley. This Lucena was Emeline Mattoon's mother. She lived to age 92, which was remarkable for those times. Among other children listed in her obituary was a daughter Mrs. Coles, age 60, Unionville, Ohio. Also from Ann Shipley, I found that this daughter's full name was Lucina (later corrected to Lucena) Mattoon Coles. Ann is descended from another of Lucena Mayo Mattoon's daughters, Eliza Ann Mattoon Orme.
It was interesting to see that the spelling of Coles was the same as the spelling first used in my parents' record of possessions. The fact that the spelling later was changed by my father in the 1960s to Cowles had lead me to think that he had a more recent contact with the Cowles family. Later I found a document titled "A Genealogy of the Descendants of Philip Mattoon of Deerfield, Massachusetts" in the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. This listed Lucena with the spelling "Cowles"; and it listed my father as a contributor to modifications made in 1965. So I then deduced that my dad must have seen the spelling of Cowles as he looked at that document, and changed his notes accordingly. My review of this document showed an example of the sort of error one runs into in genealogical searches. In it, my Great-Grandmother Emeline Mattoon (Sanford) was listed as never having been married.
Following leads from the internet, I found that Lucena Mattoon had married Franklin Cowles (1809-1880) of Unionville, Ohio in 1866, when she was 47 years of age. She had not been married previously; but Franklin had been married to Mary Dickinson Mattoon (1810-1864), another granddaughter of Gen. Mattoon, who died after bearing 5 children to him. At the time of his marriage to Lucena there were only 3 surviving children: Ithamar Conkey Cowles (1842-1933), Elenora D. Cowles (1847-1930), and Emma M. Cowles (1854-1895).
Also, from the internet, I became aware of the existence of a book titled "The Genealogy Of The Cowles Family In America". Ann Shipley did not have a copy; nor did David Robinson, who is a descendant of Elenora Cowles. I finally found a copy at the Historical Society of Penna.
David Robinson told me of another excellent source for information on the Cowles family; i.e., "The Harper Family Society", of which he lately has become president. More will be said about the Harpers later, but it is significant that there were lots of intermarriages among the Harper and Cowles families.
One of my early challenges was to find out where in Ohio the town of Unionville is located? When I looked for it on the internet I found four towns of that name in Ohio. It turned out that the Unionville of interest to us is in Ashtabula County, which is just south of Lake Erie, and close to Cleveland in a tract of land identified as the "Western Reserve". The story of the Western Reserve is a little too long to include here, but it is known that several of our ancestors visited this tract. The Unionville area was first settled by Revolutionary War Col. Alexander Harper (1744-1798), only a few months before his death. A nearby town is named Harpersfield in his honor.
The search for Lucena's pistol is complicated by the fact that she married Franklin Cowles at a relatively late age and had no children of her own. However, as mentioned previously, three of Franklin's children by his earlier marriage to Mary Dickinson Mattoon were alive at the time of her marriage, and may have become her stepchildren. The question is whether Lucena gave the pistol to one of her stepchildren, to another of Gen. Mattoon's descendants, or to a museum (in the Unionville area?) or even, perhaps, whether it was lost or stolen.
The fact that Lucena died in 1888 and is buried in Bunker Hill, Ill. lead me to think she had moved back there after Franklin's death in 1881 to be with her blood relatives; but this probably is not true since Unionville church records indicate that she actually died in Unionville (but was not buried there). I don't believe that Lucena ever brought the pistol back to Bunker Hill, in any case, because my father's notes said "the pistol is in possession of the Cowles family in Ohio". I have a strong feeling that his mother, Isa. F. Sanford, and my Aunt Mary (and thus my father) would have known if Lucena had brought the pistol back to Bunker Hill, because they all were quite interested in such historic things. Whether or not my father's father Solomon Noble Sanford (1846-1901) had any information about the Cowles pistol is unknown. In any case, he died long before my father's notes were written.
I have tried to trace the descendants of Franklin Cowles, to ask whether any one knew of their family's pistol. Of Franklin's five children, it would seem certain that it would have been passed to either Ithamar Conkey Cowles, Elenora Cowles, or Emma Cowles, since the other two children had died before Lucena's marriage to Franklin.
Ithamar Conkey Cowles lived his whole long life on the family farm on the Ashtabula Co. side of Unionville. Ithamar had 2 daughters: Mildred Mary Cowles (1874-?), who married Fredrick F. Upton and had no children, and Georgia Emily Cowles (1876-?), who married Roy W. Cone in 1903. They had one child, Franklin Cone (1909-1990). Franklin married Evelyn Gale (?-1992), and they had three children, Wilford Cone, Eli B. Cone and Linda Cone Cameron, all of whom are living in the Unionville region today. I will return to them later.
Elenora (Ella) Cowles married Henry Duane Robinson in 1871. They had two children: Franklin Robinson (1872-1957) and Leon Robinson (m. 1905 to Eliz. Shipman), I have been in contact with David Robinson (mentioned earlier) who is a grandson of Franklin. He said that he knew nothing about the pistol, although some "papers" were passed down to his family. He also said that he has a list of items owned by his great-grandmother Ella Cowles Robinson but there is no mention of weapons - just silver spoons and such. Leon Robinson died in 1870. He and Eliz. had only one child (adopted) named Kenneth, born about 1912. All three members of this family were living in 1930, but no further information on them is available.
Emma Cowles married a man named William F. Forgee about 1878 in Ohio, then moved to New York State with him, and had 8 children born between 1880 and 1897. Names and birth dates for these children are shown on the Family Tree, but I have not been able to find any reliable information on their descendants. After studying the previously mentioned book entitled "Mary Mattoon and Her Hero of the Revolution", I became quite hopeful that the pistol would show up among the descendants of Ithamar Conkey Cowles. Among other things, the "Mary" book says "the General accepted his appointment in 1816 as Adjutant General; and the sword presented to him at this time, and also certain articles of his furniture, are owned by Ithamar C. Cowles, his (great)grandson". Furthermore, it says that "Mr. Ithamar C. Cowles sent a photograph of the sword and table", and that "the table was originally in the General's home in Amherst". A copy of this photo is shown in Fig. 8. Elsewhere the book quotes Ithamar Cowles as saying "They say that Gen. Washington has played many a game of Whist upon that table." (This seems a little inconsistent with another passage in the "Mary" book which says "Distinguished men from Boston, members of the legislature, and even the Governor were his guests". There is no mention of Washington here, nor of Lafayette).
After further pondering of the references in the "Mary" book to a sword and table, I began to wonder where these heirlooms are today? My feeling was that if I could find the sword and table they might lead to the pistol. But even if the pistol didn't turn up, I thought it worth the effort to try to find these other heirlooms for Gen. Mattoon's descendants. Unfortunately, neither Ann Shipley nor David knew where the "sword and table" were.
By this time, I already had contacted several museums around the Unionville area, and elsewhere, which had been suggested as possible repositories for the pistol (in case someone in the family had decided to donate it), without success. These included:
Now I recontacted some of the above concerning the "sword and table", but no one knew where they are.
Next, I got in touch with the Mary Mattoon Chapter of the DAR in Amherst, Mass. and found a lady named Margaret Bates to be its Corresponding Secretary. I also contacted the Amherst History Museum and found its Director to be a lady named Fiona Russell. Unfortunately, both said that they did not have the "sword and table" in Amherst, nor did they know their present whereabouts. They also said that they knew nothing about the Mattoon pistol. I believe they searched their premises and files at this time, without success.
So I began to search more diligently for descendants of Ithamar Conkey Cowles. Fortunately, I came upon an earlier reference by David Robinson to a book titled "A History Of Unionville & Harpersfield Township Within The Unionville Area - State Of Ohio" by Mary Jeanne McRoberts, which was published for the Unionville and Harpersfield Township Bicentennial Celebration of July 1998. According to David, this book said that in 1912 there was a Unionville Homecoming and Industrial Fair, including exhibits of antiques, etc. Also, it said "The Loan Exhibition at the Homecoming of 1912 included the sword of General Mattoon. The sword was owned by Mr. Noah Cowles, his grandson." So ten years after publication of the "Mary" book a Cowles descendant still seemed to have had the General's sword. I later found that the "Noah" and "grandson" words were mistakes, and that the owner still was Ithamar Conkey Cowles, who lived until 1933.
I was able to locate Mrs. McRoberts, and she was kind enough to send a copy of her book and a program of activities for the 1998 celebration, plus information from other writers and from the Unionville United Church records, etc. Among other important things, her book contained a statement on p. 109 re the Sesquicentennial of 1948 saying "Furniture displayed included an inlaid table that Geo. Washington was supposed to have played cards upon. The table was the property of the Roy Cone family". From the book I also found that the marriage of Ithamar C. Cowles' daughter Georgia Cowles to Roy Cone had produced an heir named Franklin Cone; and that Franklin had three children; Wilford (Willie) Cone, Eli Cone and Linda Cone Cameron. Also, page 106 said "Willie currently has the family records and keepsakes which include several small glass pieces from Shandy Hall". Of course, that was as of 1998.
Mrs. McRoberts also gave me names of two people in another branch of the Cowles family who are very active in matters pertaining to their family genealogy. These were Patricia Cowles of Ashtabula, Ohio and Beverly Cowles of Jefferson, Ohio, both of which towns are close to Unionville. Both of these ladies were helpful in communicating with me and with the descendants of Ithamar Cowles.
I tried to get a telephone No. for Wilford Cowles from the internet but was not successful. I did, however, get a number for Eli, in Madison, Ohio. When I called him and asked about the "sword and table" he said "I'm looking at it right now". He went on to say that he meant he was looking at "the table"; and he had a dress sword, but his Aunt Millie (Mildred Mary Cowles) had said the sword was from Col. Alexander Harper. I asked him to pull the blade out of the scabbard and look for any inscription. He did so while I waited, and reported that it had Gen. Mattoon's name on it, and other information about its presentation in 1816. So that was "the sword" for which we were searching. He said the handle had been broken off during one of the showings, but is repairable. He said they had talked about the pistol, but nobody seems to have any recollection of it.
Then when I tried to call Eli's brother Wilford, also of Madison, Ohio, I reached his wife Regina. She seemed to be well-informed. She said she didn't know anything about a pistol either; but said she had "the table" and "the high mirror". She said that there actually were twin tables, so she didn't know, for sure, whether it was hers or Eli's that was shown in the "Mary" book with "the sword". I don't believe that there was a specific reference to "the high mirror" in the "Mary" book, but one certainly was in the picture. She has a copy of the book, which was passed down along with the artifacts shown in it.
So, there we have it. I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to confirm the origin of our family's pistol and to find its mate; but have been able to locate some artifacts of interest to historians in general, and especially to descendants of Ebenezer Mattoon, Jr.
I already have told some of those who helped with this search about my findings, and I plan to send up-dated copies of this summary to them and to members of my family. If anyone has additional information on the Mattoon pistols, or corrections which should be made to this material, I would be very pleased to hear from you.
It seems appropriate to say that I have left out many details, and have failed to acknowledge contributions from several sources. For this, I hope the contributers will accept my apologies.
Lastly, if anyone would like to have other information from what have become rather extensive accumulated files on people, places and things associated with this search, I will be glad to try to provide it. My address is:
Web page set-up by my son Stephen G. Sanford.January, 2004 - Some revisions January & June, 2005
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Stephen G. Sanford
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