Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | July 24, 2015

Artifact of the Week. Nathan Starr War of 1812 cavalry sabre, from the Liddell collection.


William Alexander Liddell enlisted in Cornwall for the cavalry and served with the 8th Regiment Canadian Rifles as seen in this Christmas 1916 photograph.  Liddell went to Flanders on February 13, 1916, was wounded in 1917 and returned to active duty more than a year later.

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Family tradition relates that the young carried this sword to war to fight the Germans.  The sabre was  returned home and William was issued a rifle.  The family believed that the sword was World War 1, but upon inspection it turns out to be an American War of 1812 sabre made by Nathan Starr.  As the Liddell family has Eastern Ontario United Empire Loyalist roots it is fun to speculate whether or not the sword was found on the Crysler’s Farm battlefield.  It is likely just wishful thinking on my part, but these swords were issued to the American cavalry and 150 members of the 2nd Regiment U.S. Dragoons did fight at Crysler’s Farm…l 005

Sabre hilt.  Nathan Starr’s stamp is found at the top of the blade.

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World War belt with badges and buttons from Canadian and English units,  collected by William Liddell while on service.

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World War I canvas map pouch carried by Lieutenant William Liddell.  The pockets on the front of the pouch are for pencils, not bullets.scan0048


Vellum Commission signed by Governor-General Minto naming James William Liddell of Cornwall, Local Judge of the High Court of Justice for Ontario, January 2nd, 1901.scan0050


Born and educated in Cornwall, Judge Liddell sat on the bench from 1901 to 1921.

This collection of family heirlooms was generously donated to the Cornwall Community Museum by Mike Davies of Burlington, Ontario.

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