Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Doodles From The Past (November 24, 2014)

In the most recent Saturday Serendipity post here at The Prism, I recommended two items of interest. One involved watercolor paintings done by a New England whaler of the 1840s and the other involved a study of some 800-year-old doodles found in the margins of medieval books. I asked in the post if readers knew of or had old doodles from some of their ancestors or relatives and I mentioned that I would post a doodle from my family artifact collection. The promised doodle is present above.

As can be seen, the doodle is on a scarp of aged paper. The precise date of the drawing is unknown and the meaning, if any, of the doodle is equally mysterious. But there is the signature in the center of the scrap of paper -- "Asquire Miller."

Backside of the paper scrap containing the doodle above. 

Asquire Miller (1775 - 1825) is my 4th great grandfather on my mother's side. Asquire was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island and was one of the early residents and owners of the Miller/Carpenter homestead formerly located at 551 High Street in Cumberland. Asquire and his wife, Amey Bishop, had four sons: Namon, Aurin, Eber (1805 - 1877) and Asquire Jr. (1813 - 1841).

It is unknown if the doodle and writing on the depicted scrap of paper is by either Asquire Miller, Sr. or his son, Asquire Miller, Jr., but the clear signature -- "Asquire Miller" -- leads to the supposition that the doodle is by one or the other of the Asquire Millers.  My guess is Asquire Miller, Jr. because the uniform on the soldier looks like a uniform of the War of 1812. Asquire Jr. was born in 1813 and that war would have been one of stories during his pre-teen youth.  Just a guess but I'm going with it.

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Scan of the original scrap with doodle and now in the collection of the author. 
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. Any idea who the Benjamin might have been?

  2. A black man holding a pistol facing a soldier holding a saber that actually has blood running down its back curve. There are some interesting implications here.
    Were the members of this family abolitionists early on?