- Historic Sites
The Search For The Missing King
Rebels pulled down George III’s statue and molded part into bullets, but left behind a three-dimensional puzzle for modern researchers.
August 1958 | Volume 9, Issue 5
Later still, a section of the military cloak weighing fifteen to twenty pounds, also found near the Sloane house, was inherited by F. Clerc Ogden, who still owns it. A large section of the forepart of the horse’s leg, weighing 20 to 25 pounds, was left to Charles Weitzel, the present owner. This piece of lead narrowly escaped the melting pot when it first came into Mr. Weltzel’s hands, for he is a plumber. Fortunately, he learned in time what he had inherited, and the relic now occupies a place of honor in his home.
A small, curved piece, weighing only one and a half pounds but retaining nuich more gilt than the others, is owned by another Wilton resident, John Davenport. A piece described as a sceptre is supposed to have been taken to Toronto by a Mrs. Maria Cruikshank.
So the score at present stands as follows: five pieces at the New-York Historical Society, three pieces in private hands in Wilton, the piece that went to Canada, the Riley Museum piece that disappeared in 1864—and the head.
We know that the head got to England. Thomas Hutchinson, a former governor of Massachusetts, saw it in London in November, 1777, and recorded the fact in his journal. He had gone to call on Lord and Lady Townshend (of the Townshend Act, tax-on-tea family), where “Lady Townshend asked me if I had a mind to see an instance of American loyalty? and going to the sopha, uncovered a large gilt head, which at once appeared to be that of the King. … The nose is wounded and defaced, but retains a striking likeness.”
A check of the major British collections and of the present Townshend family holdings has failed to produce either the head or any information about it. But, if the real head of Oliver Cromwell can turn up, as it did according to a recent grisly newspaper story in England, is there not some chance for the more durable metal of America’s last king?