Collection Highlights

The Dunlap Broadside, 1776

The first printing of the Declaration of Independence, printed July 4 1776 by John Dunlap in Philadelphia. The Museum’s broadside was found in 1985 in the attic of the Ladd-Gilman House.  Today, the American Independence Museum owns one of the 26 surviving Dunlap Broadsides.

Drafts of the U.S Constitution, 1789

Nicholas Gilman and Rufus King were members of Congress during the writing of the Constitution.  Gilman and his Committee took notes and made changes to the seven page draft, with King and his Committee examined a later draft and made a few more edits.  These drafts show the remarkable work that went into creating the final version of the U.S. Constitution.

Military Appointment, 1781

To appoint men to higher ranking positions in the army, commissions such as this were often written up by the Colonies with the person, their position, and their unit.  Here, Governor John Hancock appoints Thomas Ferring of Hingham to serve as Captain in the Suffolk County Militia, under the command of  Col. Charles Cushing.  The document is signed Hancock in the lower right hand corner.

Silver Porringer,  c.1775

Porringers were used to hold porridge or meat, often given as gifts at weddings or the christening of a child. A majority of porringers found are made with pewter, a mixture of lead and tin.  This porringer, though, is made out of silver, and was most likely a wedding gift to John Taylor Gilman and Deborah Folsom, who married in 1775.

Iron Strongbox, 17th Century

An Iron Strongbox was used to secure valuables, and would have been used by the Gilman family to secure the State’s currency.  There is a complex locking mechanism just under the lid that has its key hole on the top of the lid. For extra security it would have been bolted to the floor.

Blunderbuss, c. 1750

Considered the early form of the shotgun, the blunderbuss is a sidearm best used for short range targets.  The term “blunderbuss” is of Dutch origin, from the word “donderbus,” which means “thunder pipe.”  Blunderbuss’s were often issued to troops such as cavalry and naval officers, who needed a lightweight and easily-handled weapon.

Fogg Tall Clock, c. 1773

Tall clocks were a common item in wealthy Colonial American homes.  These clocks had to be wound in order to run and tell the day of the week as well as the time.  This tall clock once belonged to Major Jeremiah Fogg who fought through the entirety of the Revolution. After the war, Fogg returned to Kensington and remained active in politics, serving in the NH Senate.  He was also one of the original members of the Society of the Cincinnati.

Trial Book, 1770

After the Boston Massacre, a trial of the British soldiers arrested for their actions commenced on November 27, 1770.  Transcripts of the trial were taken in shorthand by John Hodgson, printed in Boston by J.Fleeming, and published for the Colonists to read.  This is a first edition of the published book.