Revere's Copper Helped Build USS New Hampshire
The history behind the ship constructed with Paul Revere's copper pieces.
Opening a drawer at the Canton Historical Society and you're likely to learn something new and fascinating.
That was how the society's president Wallace Gibbs explained it one Sunday to a group of several school children who gathered before him, wide-eyed, as he carefully placed what looked to be a group of large rusty nails of various sizes on a display case.
The rusty-looking nails turned out to be copper spikes and fastenings forged at Paul Revere's foundry in the 1800s.
Further, they were recovered from the USS New Hampshire (later, known as the USS Granite State) shipwreck, off Graves Island in Manchester, Mass.
"That's cool," a couple of the boys said, clearly fascinated.
Gibbs shared a similar sentiment just a moment before in a private viewing of the prized pieces.
"I'm constantly amazed by what we find here," Gibbs said. "Every time you open a drawer, you find history."
It makes sense that the pieces that held the ship together made their way back to this place that Revere once called home.
Gibbs said Revere got a contract to supply US Naval ships with tons of copper spikes, sheeting, and decking nails to fasten the 2600-ton, 196-foot long wooden ship together.
According to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Management, the Civil War-era ship was just five days in transit, after leaving port in New York City before it sunk off the coast of Massachusetts in 1922.
The ship had survived two previous fires. And what was left of the wreckage was auctioned off for $5000 in 1921. Officials said the ship had been built using over 100 tons of copper.
But a third and final fire took down the ship while in tow to Eastport, Maine.
A diver by the name of Walter Kessler gave the spikes to the society, Gibbs said, after finding them in the wreckage in 1959.
To see artifacts from the USS New Hampshire, visit the Canton Historical Society at 1400 Washington Street.