Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lost And Found Town

This article is called Lost And Found Town because the items discussed have been hidden away, hoarded, kept safe, or stored and finally came out from wherever they were and were offered up for auction over the past few years. These are family items distinctly related to the Quackenbush Family. This sparked my interst, So, I did some research. I discovered that there is quite a bit of Quackenbush history out there that has been offered up for sale by various auction houses. Too bad we couldn't collect these things and loan them to Quackenbush Square or Quackenbush House to be put on display.

On June 17th 2006 Cowan's Auctions offered Lot No. 705 in their Spring Decorative Arts auction which consisted of Three Pieces of Quackenbush Family Armorial Export Porcelain. It was described as follows:

ca 1750-1800, of porcelain. A handleless footed tea bowl and saucer and a larger low bowl, Lowestoft-type, all hand painted and banded in cobalt blue and centered with the Quackenbush family arms with monogram MQ in the center for Margaret Quackenbush; unmarked. Tea bowl is 4.25" diameter x 2.25" high; saucer is 5.5" diameter; low bowl is 1.5" high x 8" diameter.

Provenance: Ex Quackenbush Family Collection

Condition: Nick to rim of larger bowl; slight wear to gilt decoration.

So these items are in pretty good condition at the time of the auction considering that they are about 250 years old! These same three items were sold as a set at this auction for $300.00

Also offered at this same auction was Lot No. 722 , Margaret Quackenbush Flame Stitched Firescreen Panel. It was described as follows:

likely Albany, New York and 18th century. A shield-shaped embroidered panel constructed of multicolor wool thread on canvas; bearing the name Margaret Quackenbush in marking stitch in the lower corners. Mounted (bound, not laid down) to paperboard with a linsey-woolsey back fabric (possibly original); 15" high x 11" wide.Margaret was the eldest daughter of Nicholas Quackenbush; this piece was purportedly worked in 1776.

Provenance: Ex: Quackenbush Family Collection

Condition: Areas of loss; colors remain bright.

Selling price for Margaret's Firescreen was $5,175.00

Also included in the 2006 Spring Decorative Arts auction at Cowan's was Lot No. 708. The

Nicholas Quackenbush (Assistant Quartermaster General of the Continental Army) Silver Cann, Jacob G. Lansing, Albany, New York. It was described as:

ca 1760, marked on either side of the handle IGL in an incuse rectangle with a rounded right side. A tapered, straight-sided cann with a spurred C-scroll handle and applied beading to the rim and foot.
Bearing engraved initials NQB (Nicholas Quackenbush) on the underside and a later-engraved cartouche with MQB, for Nicholas` eldest daughter, Margaret (Margrita, called "Aunt Peggy" in family documents). She was born in 1759. The neoclassical style of the engraved cartouche suggests that Margaret had the can engraved when she took possession upon her father's death in 1813. Although his will does not specifically mention the cann going to Margaret, it may be assumed she took it as part of the One full and equal third part of her fathers estate. The can is likely the tankard that appears in Nicholas` 1813 probate inventory: A Lot of plated ware including 2 large candle sticks and 4 small ones, 1 small teapot [crossed out], 1 tankard and 2 dishes valued at $16.00. Jacob G.
Lansing (1736-1803) was the grandson of another Albany silversmith of the same name. In the mid-1770s, he was working with Henry Van Veghten.

Provenance: Ex Quackenbush Family Collection

Condition: Minor dings. Great condition for what today would be called a beer mug. This mug by itself sold for $8,050.00.

In the fall of 2006, during their Fall (November 16 & 17) Americana auction, Cowan's offfered Lot No. 233, RearAdmiral Stephen Platt Quackenbush Archive and described it as:

Lot of 30, including includes an outstanding 3/4-length seated quarter plate daguerreotype image of Mexican War era Midshipman S.P. Quackenbush, mounted in original leather covered wood cast, PLUS 3 autographed Presidential Military Appointments all on vellum, appointing S.P. Quackenbush to Captain, signed by U.S. Grant, 1871, PLUS appoint to rank of Commodore signed by R.B. Hayes, 1880, PLUS appointment to rank of Rear-Admiral, signed by Chester A. Arthur, 1884, all 15.75" x 19.5", PLUS a family cdv album with three military views, Quackenbush’s 1880s blue undress cap with hat insignia and single shoulder strap with silver star and two anchors denoting Commodore, an original unsigned pencil drawing with caption depicting the destruction of Quackenbush’s ship USS Patapsco in Charleston Harbor on January 15, 1865, four sequential Navy Department documents appointing Quackenbush to the rank of Commander (1866), Captain (1871), Commodore (1880), and Rear Admiral (1884), a 1884 biographical sketch with photograph from Quackenbush’s MOLLUS (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States) installation in the District of Columbia Commandery (Insignia No. 3137), and a three page typed summary of Quackenbush’s “record of service” compiled by the navy “Chief of Bureau” shortly after the admiral’s death in 1890. The cdv album contains at least one pencil identified view of “Lt. Commander S.P. Quackenbush” in Civil War uniform with two military shots of another unidentified navy lieutenant commander that resembles Quackenbush, presumably his brother John N. Quackenbush, among 37 civilian portraits of family members. This lot also includes 16 other cased images from the Quackenbush family 6, including 9 daguerreotypes, 3 ambrotypes and 3 tintypes.

Stephen Platt Quackenbush was the proverbial “old salt” having joined the navy as acting midshipman in February 1840. The next twenty years were spent in routine service aboard a succession of mail packets and steam frigates interspersed with coast survey duties, extended leave, and “waiting orders.” The outbreak of Civil War found Lieutenant Quackenbush aboard the ill-fated USS Congress but the Navy’s rapid expansion soon put even junior officers into command billets. During the early part of the war Quackenbush commanded the Delaware, Unadilla, and Pequot in wide ranging littoral operations supporting McClellan’s army on the Peninsula to combat at Elizabeth City, New Berne, and Winton, North Carolina.

While in command of the Pequot on the James River, Quackenbush was severely wounded at Malvern Hill loosing his right leg. Aboard the steam gunboat Unadilla in 1863 his ship captured the blockade runner Princess Royal containing Confederate naval stores including English built machinery destined for a rebel ironclad then under construction.

Now a lieutenant commander, Quackenbush took command of the ironclad Patapsco in 1864 and while reconnoitering Charleston harbor for obstructions hit a Confederate torpedo which sank the warship “in twenty seconds.” The anonymous drawing kept by Quackenbush shows the bow section of Patapsco engulfed in the explosion that sank her. Quackenbush then commanded the Mingo until the end of the war.

With the cessation of hostilities the mighty US Navy was quickly sold-off and decommissioned beginning in 1865 and the return of mundane peacetime duties ushered in a sad era of technological decline and backward thinking. The aging Quackenbush held a series of minor sea-going commands spending considerably more time in obligatory shore billets on “equipment duty” and as “inspector of supplies.”

Promoted to Commodore in 1880, Quackenbush took charge of the Pensacola Navy Yard and was promoted to Rear Admiral in July 1884 after nearly 44 years of continuous service. He was placed on the retired list in January 1885 and died in Washington, D.C. in February 1890.

The Quackenbush archive spanning five decades of war and peace is a fine snapshot of a dedicated career afloat.

Condition: The dag of S.P. Quackenbush has a few small brown spot and slight solar ring, still VG, most of the other dags have some problems, such as spots and solar rings, and range from G to VG, ambros are all VG-; most of the components of the archive are uniformly VG with the important pencil sketch about Good due to tears and loss of upper right corner.

This archive sold for a whopping $6,325.00.

In January of 2007 Cowan's Auctions offered Lot No. 29, Four Quackenbush Family Snuffboxes in their Paintings, Furniture & Decorative Arts auction.

All 19th century, of either papier mâché or kidskin. Includes three snuffboxes, two oblong, hinged examples about 3" long; a round two-piece example, 3" diameter and an oval kidskin-covered monocle holder, 3.25" long x 2" across.

Provenance: Ex: Quackenbush Family Collection

Condition: Expected wear.

200 year old papier mâché? They sold for $57.50

I will keep my eyes open and as I find other family treasures I will set them aside so we can revisit this topic in another article.

Source: Cowan's Auction

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