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  • Christian Di Spigna

Warren's Rediscovered Relic

On the anniversary of American independence, July 4, 1855, Dr. John Collins Warren, the nephew of famed General Joseph Warren, “exploded some gunpowder from” Gen Warren’s “powder-horn found sealed up in the walls of the old Warren House.” The old Roxbury farmhouse was where the four sons (Gen. Joseph, Ebenezer, Samuel, & John) of Joseph II and Mary Warren had been raised. The last occupant to live in the home was Samuel Warren who died in 1805. Following Samuel’s death the home fell into great disrepair in the ensuing decades, until Dr. John Collins Warren razed the old homestead where the powder-horn belonging to Dr. Warren had been discovered. A new home was built in the mid-19th century and still stands on what would have been the outer edge of the Warren farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts.


Although Dr. Joseph Warren lived the majority of his adult life in Boston, his mother and younger siblings had continued to live in the Roxbury ancestral home. Warren often visited Roxbury and upon the passing of his wife Elizabeth in 1773, he relied heavily on his family to help raise his four young children.

Armed with the foresight to suspect that his time in Boston would soon become untenable due to rising hostilities with British authorities,

Warren began sending his personal items out to a number of satellite locations, including the farm in Roxbury, where the powder-horn was discovered decades later.

The powder-horn was donated to Old South Meeting House around the decade of the centennial anniversaries of the American Revolution (circa 1875-1885) by a descendant of Dr. John Collins Warren. The powder-horn was recently “rediscovered” within Old South’s collection. (Old South Meeting House and the Old State House recently merged organizations into what is now, Revolutionary Spaces.)


The rediscovery of the Warren powder-horn is a significant piece given the relative dearth of original Warren relics left in existence. It also proves that even centuries later, we are still finding important artifacts associated with the founding of our nation.


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Warren's World

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