Sir William Pepperrell’s Pistols
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Written by SeacoastNH ARchive Presents
Historic Portsmouth #351

The handle on Sir William Pepperell’s pistol depicts a fearsome face. Pepperrell was a surveyor, a militia leader, a fisherman, and a hugely successful merchant. He was the son of the richest man in New England. He became the first American-born baronet, a post granted in an audience with King George II in London. Sir William Pepperrell (1696-1759) of Kittery was the second of three men to bear that name.  (Continued below)


He gathered up and commanded some 3,000-4,000 local troops in 1745 for the successful siege of the French at Fort Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. The French surrendered after six weeks, although many New Englanders were lost. You can see a full-sized portrait of him hanging just inside the Portsmouth Athenaeum.  He is wearing a curly white wig and a brilliant red suit with brass buttons. He was buried with his father at Kittery Point and his house still survives there. And very likely, these are his flintlock pistols, part of the fascinating Athenaeum collection. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)






(c) Portsmouth Atheaneum