The Drown Newsletter

Issue 10 May 1996



In Issue 8, in an article about Daniel Augustus Drowne, it wrongly stated that he was born in 1843 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1844. Since that cannot be right, would someone please provide the correct information?

Shem Drowne

A third son of Leonard Drowne (see Issue 7) was Shem Drowne, the coppersmith who made the famous grasshopper weathervane on Faneuil Hall in Boston. Shem, known as Deacon Shem Drowne, was born 4 Dec 1683 in Kittery, Maine. He married Katherine Clarke in Boston on 18 Sep 1712. They had 8 children, all but three of them died young. According to the History of Newfields New Hampshire,<-#> on 21 May 1729, by vote of the proprietors of Nottingham, NH, he was given the privilege of building a grist mill upon the south branch of the North River, near Bow Street, having the privilege of that fall and no more, provided he build it in good time by the first of December next; also that he should have 50 acres of land adjoining to the falls above and provided that he ground all the inhabitant's corn of Nottingham.

In addition to the grasshopper (see Issue 6) Shem made a gilt rooster weathervane which at one time graced the steeple of the former Cockerel Church on Hanover Street and later the Shepard Memorial Church in Cambridge. He also made the gilded Indian Chief which today is on display in the Massachusetts Historical Society. Some historians believe that the famous weathercock, immortalized in Longfellow's "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere", that sat on top of the Meeting House on Lexington Green, was also made by Shem Drowne. The passage is:

"It was one by the village clock
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed."

According to the historian Henry Russell Drowne, Shem had a woodcarver's shop on dock Square, near Faneuil Hall at the water's edge, where he carved many figureheads for ships. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne in his "Mosses from an old Manse" tells the story of "Drowne's Wooden Image" dealing with the making of one of these figureheads. Another well known product of Shem's hands was the likeness of a Sea Captain holding a telescope and quadrant which served for many years as an advertisement for a nautical instrument maker at the corner of Broad and State Streets in Boston.

A New Drown

Abigail Leann Drown, born in Charlotte, NC on March 21. She is a tenth great-granddaughter of Leonard Drowne.

Off to Russia

Samuel Adam Drown of St. Louis, began serving as a missionary for the LDS Church in Leningrad, Russia in June. He will stay for two years.

Civil War Burials

We found the following Drowns in a set of reference books titled U.S. Quartermaster Department. Roll of Honor. This is a list of war casualties buried in national cemeteries.

Benjamin, Co. B 92nd New York. Died 14 Jan 1864. Newberne Nat. Cem., N.C.

H., Sergeant, Co. B, 6th New Hampshire. Died 12 Oct 1864. Arlington National Cemetery. (I know that this was Hiram, son of Amos Drown and Olive Crouch)

Osborn, Private, Co. D. 9th New Hampshire. Died May 1864. Removed from Harris Farm, Spottsylvania, Va. Fredericksburg Nat. Cem.

Thomas, Sergeant, Co. B, 73rd Infantry. Died 9 Jan 1863. Originally interred in Nashville. Nashville Nat. Cem.

W.B., Corporal, no unit given. Winchester Nat. Cem. (Virginia). There is a note - 'Shenandoah Valley', presumably where his body was found.

William O., Corporal, Co. E, 29th Michigan Infantry. Died 6 Jul 1863. Stone's River. Originally interred at Murfeesboro.

Zelotes, Private, Co. B, 4th Vermont. Died 30 Mar 1865 at Cypress Hill, Long Island, NY. Disinterred and removed.

What Was That Again?

A lady doing some genealogical research found a will that listed members of the family of her ancestor William and what would be bequeathed to each one upon his death. It read, in part: "To my son John, 10 acres of land, to Lucy, all my household goods, to Elizabeth, 50 dollars in cash, and Sophie, the cow."

Years later, a correction was made to the family history to remove, as a daughter of William, Sophie, the cow.

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