Reply To: Giles Place Cannonball Hoard Discovery

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Peter Ostrander

Jean Knowles (1908-1988) was an early member of the KHS and its long time corresponding secretary. The photo above was published in Reginald Pelham Bolton’s book Relics of the Revolution (1916). Jean is the little girl sitting on the stack of canon balls holding a bar shot. The gentleman at the far left leaning on a shovel is Reginald Pelham Bolton who was an historian, early archeologist, writer, leading engineer  and an expert on native American and American revolutionary historic sites. The large canon ball atop of the pile is actually a mortar projectile that is owned by the KHS and is in the cellar of the Van Cortlandt Historic House. The KHS also has a collection of these same canon balls, bar shot and sliding bar shot which  is a unique American design. In the John McNamara interview with Jean she describes Fort Independence and Giles place when her family moved to the area right before WWI. Below is a painting by Charlotte Livingston (1898-1991) an early member of the KHS and Trustee and friend of Jean Knowles. The painting was painted in 1919 looking south of Giles Place towards Fort Independence street. The field where the canon balls were found and the Forts location was to the left in this painting which was painted only 4 years after the discovery of the canon balls. Ironically it was painted when the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 was starting  its second wave.  So while we can’t experience this bucolic Bronx scene any longer sadly we will experience our own second wave of the Covid-19 Flu pandemic of 2020.

Charlotte LIvingston 1919 Giles Pl