Isaac Collier’s Powder Horn From the American Revolutionary War

Here is a great challenge for researchers and a terrific look at a Collier military artifact dating from the founding of the United States.  Realizing that “Isaac” is by no means a rarity in Collier names, any help you can provide to connect this item to family lines will be gratefully received.

CHF received this message from the a member of the Shelby County Kentucky Historical Society in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

I am a member of the Shelby County, Kentucky Historical Society. We were gifted with a powder horn that was owned and carried by Isaac Collier, during the American Revolution. Can anyone tell me more about this particular Isaac Collier, and how he (or his descendants may be connected to Kentucky?

We followed up by asked for photographs and additional information.

Thank you so much for the quick response! The powderhorn is scrimshaw, and is elaborately carved. Isaac Collier’s name and 1776 are inscribed on it, among other things. The item was donated by a gentleman by the name of Charles S. Moore, who said he was a descendant and that it was carried by Isaac Collier during the Revolutionary War. Any information you can find out about him would be greatly appreciated!


Heather Cecil
Shelby County, KY Historical Society

Here are pictures of this important Collier Family treasure.

1776 scrimshaw powder horn made and carried by Isaac Collier in the American Revolutionary War.  Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.


Detail of Isaac Collier’s name carved on the 1776 powder horn he made during the American Revolutionary War.  Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.


Revolutionary War powder horn, circa 1776, made and carried by Isaac Collier.  Gifted by descendant Charles S. Moore family.


Detail of 1776 powder horn made by Isaac Collier during the Revolutionary War.  Gifted by Charles S. Moore, Sr. family.

Thank you to Shelby County Kentucky Historical Society for seeking out CHF and providing the information and photographs. 

Some interesting facts about powder horns from Wikipedia:  Typically there was a stopper at both ends, in later examples spring-loaded to close automatically for safety.  The wide mouth was used for refilling, while the powder was dispensed from the narrow point. In some cases the point was closed and the mouth used for both, with a powder measure, a type of scoop used to dispense the powder, and in others both ends were open and the horn merely used as a funnel. The horn was typically held by a long strap and slung over the shoulder.

The inside and outside of a powder horn were often polished to make the horn translucent so that the soldier would be able to see how much powder he had left. The use of animal horn along with nonferrous metal parts ensured that the powder would not be detonated by sparks during storage and loading. Horn was also naturally waterproof and already hollow inside.


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