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Ruggles Canteen (description)
Canteen used during the war of 1812

Ruggles Canteen

In 1929 Walter Bronsdon donated this canteen which was used in the War of 1812. Both sides are outlined with red paint, with "33" painted on one side and an eight-sided star on the other (see below). Subsequently, "JR" was stamped into it. The inked notation, "War of 1812, John Ruggles, Milton Mass" was written — probably with a fountain pen — over the top. Though the march toward that war was not popular in New England, Milton was active. Albert Teele's History of Milton records:

A Milton company, with the following officers, John Lillie, captain, Daniel Briggs, lieutenant, and Samuel Reed, ensign, was ordered at 3 o'clock, P.M., Sunday, to march to Cohasset, where the enemy's troops were expectd to land. A squad was detailed to make cartridges at the powder-house, and Dr. Glover was delegated to forward ammunition to the company.  They marched to Hingham, and there learned that their services were not required...

One Saturday, as a British cruiser appeared off Boston harbor, with the supposed purpose of landing, Major Tucker received orders to be ready at a moment's warning to march to the coast. He accordingly mustered his troops at his tavern in Scott's Woods, where they spent most of the following Sunday, sharpening their swords on their neighbors' grindstones and moulding bullets for their horse-pistols; the women of the house and neighborhood melting the lead in ladles over the kitchen fires.  The enemy, however, sailed away down the coast, and the troopers were dismissed.


In the early 20th century, Historical Society member Eleanor Pope Martin collected a couple more anecdotes:

Nathan C. Martin [Eleanor's grandfather] saw the battle between the Chesapeake and Shannon from the spire of Dr. Codman's church, in Dorchester. Seth Whitney [of Milton], then a boy on his way to school, watched the battle from Milton Hill.

Mrs. Ann Pope [perhaps Eleanor's grandmother] recollects seeing the soldiers of the War of 1812 coming home, - marching along Randolph Avenue.

8-Sided Star on back of canteen