Premier Firearms Auction
November 4, 5, 6, & 7, 2022
FINE & HISTORIC SILVER HILTED SMALL SWORD OF CAPTAIN WILLIAM LITHGOW BY ANDREW TYLER OF BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS.
Overall length: 33″
Blade length: 27″
This rare sword features a colichemarde blade with etching over the swelled portion of the blade. Etching features floral and foliate motifs along with a figure resembling an Indian gazing towards the sky. The blade was hilted on a finely made, solid silver hilt by Andrew Tyler of Boston sometime around 1730. It is a classic form with a double kidney guard, pas d’ ane, down turned quillon, plain swelled knuckle bow, spherical pommel and wire wrapped grip with Turks head knot ferrules. The sword is hallmarked “AT” in a rectangle on the quillon and the knuckle bow. The underside of the guard is engraved ” R. L. 1701. ” on one side and “CAPT. WM. LITHGOW” on the other side. No scabbard.
Andrew Tyler was an important American silversmith of the period from Boston. He was apprenticed around 1705 to John Coney. He married Mariam Pepperell of the famous Pepperell family from Kittery, Maine. Tyler was born in 1692 and died in 1741. He was a contemporary of Jacob Hurd, Edward Winslow and John Coney. He was well known for his production of church silver and several examples of his work are in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This is thought to be the only surviving sword made by him. Family tradition states that the first owner of the sword was Robert Lithgow who emigrated from Ireland to Halifax, Nova Scotia because of the fallout from the first Jacobite rebellion. After a short stay, he left for Boston, Massachusetts and ultimately settled in Topsham, Maine in about 1720. Lithgow fled to Brunswick, Maine after a savage Indian attack at Topsham and subsequently settled in Georgetown, Maine.
The second owner of the sword in the Lithgow family was his son, William Lithgow, who was born in Boston prior to 1713. Captain William Lithgow was the commander of Fort Richmond and later the commander of Fort Halifax. He was employed by the crown from 1754-1774 as an Indian Trader. A figure on the sword blade resembling an Indian in full headdress is perhaps the earliest representation of a Native American on an American sword. He made great contributions to Maine history and eventually became a prominent court judge. The third member of the Lithgow family who owned the sword was William Lithgow Jr., the son of Judge Lithgow. He carried the sword during the Revolution and was an Aide-de-camp to General George Washington. He was present at General Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga and his likeness is included in John Trumbull’s painting of that event that hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington. A monumentally historic sword important not only to the State of Maine, but to the founding history of the United States.
UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: a rare 19th century set of 12 books titled “Collections of the Maine Historical Society”. A book titled “History of Brunswick, Topsham and Harpswell, Maine”. A small book titled “Sprague’s Journal of Maine History”. A 2004 issue of the American Society of Arms Collector’s Book of Edged Weapons containing pictures and references to the sword. A 2011 auction catalog listing the sword. A large accumulation of photocopies of documents pertaining to the sword, Andrew Tyler and the Lithgow family.