An antique bottle auction site recently listed this fine example of a George W. Hoxsie Premium Beer bottle. Norman C. Heckler Co. reported this bottle sold for $211.
English: Andrew Jackson - 7 th President of the United States (1829-1837) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the highly specific genealogical volume "Scots and Scots' Descendants," the Bannerman family were a proud clan that claimed their surname from Bannockburn, "where an ancestor rescued the clan pennant, whereupon Bruce cut off the streamer from the Royal ensign and conferred upon him the honour of 'bannerman.'" The eldest son in each generation was named Frank, making things very simple (or impossible) for future researchers. Francis V brought him family to the United States in 1854, settling in Brooklyn. Francis VI left school at 10, when his father went to the Civil War in 1861. In addition to working in a law office and selling newspapers, young Frank dragged the river with a grapple for bits of chain and rope which he sold to junk dealers. His father returned from war disabled, and became a dealer in his son's collected materials, and this business grew into a ship chandlery.
In 1872, Francis VI started a new business, buying up at auction useful weapons and war materiel that were being auctioned for their scrap value. He started sending out an illustrated catalog for collectors, and also started converting rifles into fowling pieces for frontiersmen and Quaker guns for boys' brigades and military schools. His business grew with stores in New York City, where he fitted out many regiments for the Spanish-American War. At the conclusion of that bit of military theater, he bought up more than 90 percent of the captured war material and a little island in the Hudson Highlands called Pollopel's Island. (Spell it how you like.) The name was changed to Bannerman's Island, and here he erected arsenals "patterned after the Scottish baronial castles." The island became his summer home, and he directed the creation of an incredible castle, reportedly seeing to every detail.
In 1905, he bought 501 Broadway from the trustees of the Metropolitan Museum, who "greatly reduced the price in recognition o fhis maintenance of a Free Public War Museum." There were seven stories of museum and salesroom, containing weapons both ancient and modern. His terms were cash: "Even the Standard Oil Company in purchasing had to send check with order."
Bannerman became an acknowledged expert on weapons as well as perhaps the world's largest dealer in them; the author of his biographical sketch wanted it known that Bannerman "has consistently refused to sell to revolutionists, or to minors or irresponsible persons." He was also called "a great lover of boys," which had a distinctly different ring in a more innocent age, or at least one in which the boys were heavily armed.
Until recently, the name "Bannermans Island Arsenal" could be clearly seen along the eastern wall, but significant portions of the structure have collapsed in recent years. You can help support the stabilization and restoration of this incredible historic structure by voting in the Chase Community Giving process, http://www.bannermancastle.org/ or on Facebook.
If you're not familiar with it, there's a pool of pictures
of Bannerman's Castle on Flickr.
Amputation saw, with bow frame, similar in design to a hack saw. Has fancy wing nut holding blade in place and scalloping to the furthest pointing side of the frame and smooth ebony handle. Made by Lesueur. Typical of eigthteenth century amputation saw designs. Very similar style of saw to that in the anonymous painting of the Male Operating Theatre of St Thomas' Hospital circa 1776. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"We have seen limbs that were badly wounded, in which amputation seemed almost unavoidable, but which were saved in spit of all the disadvantageous circumstances that followed their dressing. A few days ago we met one man belong to a New-York regiment, who had the upper portion of the humerus shattered by a minie-ball. How few surgeons on the battle-field would have thought of any thing but amputation in this case! Yet exsection of the humerus was performed [by Dr. Swinburne], several inches of bone removed, and dressing applied; and the man passed through all the ordeals mentioned above, and now has an arm that is useful for many purposes. He does not even ask his discharge from the army, but intends going home on a short furlough, and then entering the cavalry service, where he says he can manage his horse with the injured arm, and wield a sword with the sound one. How much better that than amputation at the shoulder-joint!"
"...the people of the city of Albany, groaning under the oppressive taxation and the misrule of a corrupt and heartless ring, saw in the great surgeon the patriotic and fearless citizen, who had in every instance proved his devotion to the masses in his aims for good government in professional and political administration, -- the man to lead the hosts against the heartless and intrenched enemy. In 1882 they tendered him, as the only man able to lead them to victory, the nomination for mayor of the city of Albany. He had no taste for politics; but, on the persistent pleading of the people that he would be their leader out of the dark land of political corruption in which they were held, he accepted for their sake, in the interest of good government, and entered into the contest with a zeal that won for him the title of 'The Fighting Doctor' . . ."And it does go on. He ran on the Republican line (there once were Republicans in Albany). The election was hotly contested and apparently there was some (or a lot) of fraud involved. Michael Nolan, the Irishman who had presided over City Hall since 1878 (including, quite literally, its burning), claimed another victory, but few believed it. The New York Times wrote:
"There is a great deal of excitement here over the result, or the pretended result, of the municipal election held yesterday, and the end is not yet. The Albany ring papers this morning proclaimed the re-election of Mayor Nolan by a small majority, thinking, doubtless, that such an announcement of the result of the vote would be acquiesced in, as it has been before, when Nolan was 'counted in' instead of being elected. But the people of Albany do not propose to submit to the fraud so quietly this time. The better citizens of both parties have come to the conclusion that it is about time to test the question of whether or not it is possible to have a fair election in Albany."Swinburne's camp charged Nolan with fraudulent and criminal practices, including illegal voting, bribery, ballot-box stuffing, obstructing lawful voters, false canvassing, and falsely certifying results. The legal battle would take 14 months before Dr. Swinburne was declared elected in June 1883. He lost the next election in 1884 to fraud as well, but perhaps the fight had gone out of him, or perhaps he was satisfied with going to Congress, as he did later that year. There, too, he faced an opposition willing to do anything to keep him from office, and he was defeated in 1886, again in a contest widely believed to be fraudulent. By then, Swinburne had had enough of politics, and declined to run again when his opponent died after only six months in office.
"Like the other eminent names which grace our history, starting to work out their destinies from the tailor and shoemaker's shop, from the tanyard and wood-chopping, and ending with the presidency and vice-presidency, this man, from sleeping on the floor and living on seventy-five cents a week while a student, who has attained the highest pinnacle in his profession, is an eminently typical American."
"Brave as a Wellington, yet tender as a woman; eminent as a surgeon and physician, yet plain as a man; polished and learned as a gentleman, yet humble as a peasant; a hater of fraud, chicanery, and dishonesty, yet jealous of no man; constantly moving about among the people, looking only to their interests, sacrificing time and money to make the condition of the masses better; supplying with a liberal hand the wants of the poor, caring for their sick and unfortunate; fighting error and corruption wherever he finds them, either in his profession or in government; and sacrificing all personal comfort for the good of others, -- is the man to whom we would lead public thought, knowing that the American people love the brave and humane, and only require to be reminded, to awaken to the according of deserved honors."Much of his work, on Civil War or Parisian battlefields, or among the poor who came to his Albany dispensary, was focused on proving that amputation was often unnecessary, that there could be other treatment for wounded limbs. He was running somewhat against the tide on this question. Swinburne wrote:
"On my return to this city in 1871, after an absence of seven years, I was warmly welcomed by the profession; and sought to show the great advance that could be made in surgery by the use of conservative modes. . . in other words, having long known that it was but rarely needful to cut off an injured limb, that the maimed member could almost always be saved; and feeling that to despoil, deform, or to perpetuate deformity in any patient, however poor, of a limb which could by reasonable means be saved, was wrong, and not in accord with the object of our profession, -- I undertook to prove, on a scale large enough to obtain conclusive results, that this harm could be avoided. I can only say my efforts have been misunderstood . . . My work has not been done in the dark, and I leave it to the verdict that time may bestow."