PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF JANET AND RICK SHERLUND, NANTUCKET, MA
This double-sided tavern sign of the post and rails type incorporates a fashionable shield, a motif that became popular for tavern signs made during the Federal period. The name “R. Estabrooks” and the date “1802” replace the name “C. Foot” and earlier date of “1797.” This sign perhaps advertises an establishment operated by a member the Estabrook family of Brunswick, Maine. One prominent family member -- Colonel Thomas S. Estabrook – came to Brunswick in 1801 and operated a bakery before engaging in trade. He was one of the first mail-carriers between Brunswick and Augusta and ran the first passenger coach between these towns. He was a Freemason, a fireman and started the first light infantry company, where he was a commander. He served in the War of 1812 and later operated a tavern in Brunswick from 1815 to 1817. This tavern was built in 1802, the same year that Bowdoin College opened its doors. It served as a public meeting place, an inn and restaurant, a place where students could pick up packages and mail, and a store where candles, glassware, pots and pans, coffee, tea and other items were sold.
For further discussion of early American tavern signs, see Susan Schoelwer, ed., Lions, Eagles and Bulls: Early American Tavern and Inn Signs from the Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, Connecticut, 2000).
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