COIN SILVER DESK BOX MARKED “WM. CALDWELL / LAKE GEORGE”

$2,750.00
Originally $3,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 30-1983

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

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This coin silver captain’s desk box is beautifully engraved on the lid with the name of the ship, the “William Caldwell”, which was built at the northern end of Lake George in Ticonderoga, New York in the spring of 1838.

Box has a hinged and domed lid that opens to reveal three separate sections. Underside of box has the maker’s mark which reads, “HALL.HEWSON & CO. ALBANY”, which was an early American silver producer. Also present are three silver hallmarks.

Box measures 6 ¼” long x 4” wide x 1 ½” high.

The ship, the “William Caldwell”, was 140 feet long and 17 feet wide, weighed about 150 tons, and had an 8 foot draft. She was a side-wheel steamship operated by a Fulton type of “steeple-engine” which operated a horizontal cross beam up and down. This engine and her design helped her to achieve speeds of 12 mph.

She operated daily round trips from the Lake House Dock in Lake George Village to Ticonderoga. She would leave early every day from Lake George at 8 a.m. and journey up the lake to Ticonderoga, where she would remain at the dock for 3.5 hours while so her passengers could take a horse and carriage to Fort Ticonderoga to then walk around and view the old ruins. They were then transported back to the boat which would leave at 3 p.m. and steam back south to Caldwell.

After 10 years of service the “William Caldwell” was already showing signs of deterioration. In 1848 the ship was retired and abandoned in the bay north of what is today’s Shepards Park, which is in the middle of Lake George Village. The ship was probably abandoned in front of the Georgian Motel or Lakeside Motel. She eventually sank and disintegrated in the bay.

Lake George was discovered in 1642. Settlement commenced here in the years prior to the American Revolution. In 1755, the lake was named "Lake George" by General William Johnson in honor of King George II. Lake George was also the site of Fort William Henry, named in honor of Prince William Henry, grandson of King George II, by General Johnson. Like other pre-Revolutionary communities in northern New York, it was totally exterminated during the fierce struggle of powers in the French and Indian War. The fort, its surrender to Marquis de Montcalm after a six-day siege by the French and Indians, and the following massacre all in 1757 were used by James Fenimore Cooper as the background for his famous novel The Last of the Mohicans.

Soon after the close of the war, however, the fertility of some portions of the territory, and the natural beauty of the whole, attracted immigration, and settlements were recommenced.

The town was established in 1810 as the "Town of Caldwell", named for General James Caldwell, an Albany merchant who owned 1,595 acres of land in the region. He was the father of William Caldwell, for whom the ship was named. William was well remembered by the settled residents of the town, as he passed a considerable portion of his time in the village of Caldwell. He built the stone structure used as the post-office, and for a number of years used it as his office. He lived near the site of the Mansion House, which he also built. His will was made in 1841, and he died a few years later. He owned nearly all the ground now covered by the village of Caldwell, and the title to the greater part still resides in his heirs.

In the 19th century the area began to become an important tourist destination. The Lake George Steamboat company was founded in 1817. Fifteen ships have sailed in the company’s history. Railroad tracks ran onto the steamboat docks on the south end of Lake George. From there steamboats ran several times a day to the hotels further north on the lake. The Lake George Steamboat Company continues to operate steamboats out of Lake George. In 1962 the town changed its name to Lake George.

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