100 Objects Case 1

19th Century
Unknown Artist
Animal horn and wood
WM Collections, Unnumbered

Animal horns were commonly used throughout the Colonial period of Connecticut to hold gunpowder. Horns from cattle or oxen were readily available and popular with militiamen before the adoption of paper cartridges. Susceptible to sparks and explosions, metal receptacles could not be used to hold powder but other containers, known as powder flasks, crafted from leather or wood, were employed. The powderhorn seen here would have been refilled through the large opening, with powder poured through the tapering end for each shot, and worn slung over the shoulder from a leather strap. Powderhorns were used both by hunters and the militiamen raised under orders of the Colonial Governor to engage Native People in battles for territory. A powderhorn such as this one would have likely been used by colonists during battles like the Great Swamp Fight at the border of present day Greens Farms and Southport.

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