New York, March 12th, George Thresher, 1810. Pen, ink and woodcut vignette on (4) four joined vellum membranes, 91.5” x 9.7” overall. Affixed with linen thread to a turned and ebonized maple rod, housed in the original gilt stamped roan case. Case exhibits minor rubbing wear and erosion of cover projection, expected soiling at leading vellum edge, overall very fine. Provenance: Descendents of George Thresher; Private Collection. Signed provenance testimonial.
Volunteer at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1776, Lebbeus Loomis enlisted with Swift’s regiment of the Connecticut Line in 1777 and served throughout the Revolutionary War. Loomis fought at the Battle of Brandywine and Germantown after which he was promoted to Adjutant of Swift’s regiment prior to the Battle of Monmouth. He served through the end of the war attaining the rank of Colonel. Colonel Loomis settled in New York after the Revolutionary War and was actively involved in organization of the Uniformed Militia as successor to the Continental Army and an esteemed Society of Cincinnati member.
In 1802 a New York County 1st Battalion called the “Brigade of Artillery” was organized as the 1st Regiment under the command of Colonel Lebbeus Loomis and was reorganized as the 2nd Regiment in 1804 then subsequently charged to the Ninth Regiment (Old Ninth) in 1808, and in 1824 became one of the first regiments to adopt the “Great Uniform’ and the name National Guard.
This exquisite muster-in/muster-out roll was accomplished by marine painter and calligraphy instructor George Godsell Thresher. Thresher is known to have gratuitously presented War of 1812 officers with oil paintings of Naval engagements. He immigrated to New York City form Salisbury, England in 1806 and remained in New York until about 1813 when he removed to Philadelphia, eventually settling in Halifax. Aside from the woodblock printed vignette at top center, the document is entirely in manuscript on vellum and exhibits complex decorative flourishes, varieties of lettering and decoration on the preliminary membrane. The remainder of the document is comprised of a 5 column 120 row enlistment/discharge table wherein are recorded enlistment number, name, day, month & year and remarks.
A total of 45 enlistees are recorded with enlistment dates ranging from 16 May 1805 to 11 May 1812 with names recorded by each man’s signature. Several of the listed men were veterans of the Revolutionary War. Remarks cover the expected range during the contentious build-up to the War of 1812 such as “No. 1 Robert Davis 11 June 1807 Promoted May 13th 1812”, “No. 17 John Moore Drumr[sic] 16 May 1810 Deserted” and “No. 20 Thomas Stokes 7 Dec 1809 Discharged Sept 12th 1812 Over Age”.
This document is expertly drawn and constructed utilizing 4 vellum membranes stitched together end to end with red linen thread and affixed to a turned and ebonized maple rod forming a scroll. The rolled scroll is housed in an original gilt embossed roan covered case. The reverent care with which this document was afforded suggests that either Lebbeus Loomis or George Thresher possessed the foresight to realize the Company Roll of 2nd Battalion Artillery would one day represent the birth of a National Uniformed Militia, better known today as the United States National Guard.
A rare and remarkable example of United States Military history of which we have been unable to identify any other similar American example. Offered here to the antiquarian market for the first time.
Ref: Groce & Wallace “Dictionary of Artists in America 1564 – 1860” p. 629; “Dictionary of Canadian Biography” vol.8 Thresher, George Godsell; Hastings & Noble “Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment…State of New York Vol 1” pp.168 & 817; Hastings & Noble “Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment…State of New York Vol 2” pp. 1049, 1132 & 1434; Heitman, “Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army” pp.357 & 622; John Schuyler “Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati Formed by the Officers of the Revolutionary War” pp.254, 255.