Author Topic: The Last Great School of American Carved Powder Horns - Mercer County Horns  (Read 1349 times)

Offline Tanselman

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A prior post raised the question about carved powder horns possibly peaking after the F&I and Rev War horns. I've posted several later Tansel horns, and one Mercer County [Ohio] carved horn, to show the continuing quality of American carved powder horns well into the mid-1850s. Since everyone likes to see good carved horns, I did a quick photo shoot on two Mercer County horns in my desk drawer to show that great carved horns continued well into the nineteenth century, i.e., mid-1850s. The larger horn, shown on top, is dated "1847," and the smaller horn on bottom is dated "1854." These were carved by the Mercer County carver, William Dunwoody, and have a strong Masonic connection. A good number of these horns are known.

Sad footnote: The smaller "1854" horn was still with its original bag when sold by Cowans Auction in Cincinnati 15-20 years ago. When I acquired it last year, the bag was gone, and the owner had no idea it had a bag just a few years prior. So it's not just the old timers who discarded old, worn, "worthless" hunting bags...

If anyone wants to read a more in-depth study of these Mercer County horns and see finer examples, check out the blog articles on the web site www.kentuckygunmakers.com.

Shelby Gallien








« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 11:48:42 PM by Tanselman »

Offline art riser

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Engraved Powder Horn and Hunting Bag
8.75" length, wood base, raised ring, engravings of a boy holding a rifle with a stringer of fish, deer with antlers, E. Pluribus Unum and patriotic eagle at the top of the horn, a lady in a horse-drawn buggy and a rooster. WP 1854 and WHV in a rectangle. Plus a small beaver skin bag with remnants of a leather shoulder strap. This horn and pouch were found under a porch in Knoxville, Iowa.
Condition: Horn has a very nice untouched patina. There is a small chip out of the opening on the spout. Original metal "U"-shaped iron pin in the base. Bag is in good condition with the strap being in pieces.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2023, 06:53:05 PM by art riser »

Offline art riser

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Research of the area in Iowa in the time frame seems to indicate that several of the images on the horn coincide with events in that area. The Marion County Fair Association was first organized in 1854. Knoxville is in said county. A Whig governor was elected in 1854.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 01:53:45 AM by art riser »

Offline Tanselman

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Art,

Thank you for providing the "old" photo of the horn with the bag, since I didn't pull it off the Cowans posting. Nice to keep with the horn going forward. The only "small" error in Cowan's description of the horn is the unique image of a "lady in a horse-drawn buggy." Under closer inspection, it is a young girl being pulled in a small DOG cart. The horn body is a little rougher than expected for a Mercer County horn... most bodies and plugs were well shaped and finished, so this very late example may have been a pre-existing horn that Dunwoody carved. The carving is well done with typical figures: man with brimmed hat leaning on a rifle with an added string of fish, the typical "rooster-headed" eagle, deer with turned head, rooster, and one really chubby dog!

Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: November 28, 2023, 11:50:30 PM by Tanselman »

Offline art riser

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Offline RobertS

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This is a great post, and what keeps me and others coming back for more!  Thanks so much! 

Offline Tim Crosby

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 Really neat horns, I'm still on the lookout for a Mercer County but the only ones I've seen are here. It's like; you don't really one one until you've seen one. The provenance is Icing on the cake and the Pix are Great.

  Thanks For Posting Them, Tim