Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Weathervane Wednesday ~ Happy 4th Anniversary to Weathervane Wednesday AND Another Weathervane by cousin Thomas Drowne

This is the 4th Anniversary of Weathervane Wednesday!  I wrote my very first weathervane post on August 24th, 2011, and today I am posting my 222nd weather vane.

This is an on-going series of blog posts on local weathervanes I post every week on Wednesdays.  Some of the weather vanes are whimsical, some are historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique and unusual weathervanes from their own areas!  If you know an interesting or historical weather vane, please let me know.

Today's weathervane is from Boston, Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weather vane #222?  Scroll down to see the answer!

Today's weathervane was photographed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.  You can find it at the entrance to the new American wing.  It is the third time I've posted a weathervane by my cousins in the Drowne family of Boston and Kittery, Maine.  You can see a post about Shem Drowne's  (1683 - 1774 ) famous grasshopper weathervane on the top of Faneuil Hall at this link HERE, and a link to his weathervane atop Boston's Old North Church HERE.

Shem Drown was born in Kittery, Maine in 1683. He was the son of Leonard Drown (1646 - 1729).  Leonard Drowne married first to Elizabeth Abbott about 1675.   So I guess that makes Leonard my  7th great grand uncle by marriage?  Shem would be my step cousin?

Thomas Drowne, Leonard's grandson, wrote a slip of paper about his father making the famous Faneuil Hall grasshopper in 1742, and put this paper inside dated 1755.  The grasshopper weathervane apparently fell off during a great earthquake and was replaced by Thomas.  You can read more about that at the link below.

And so son Thomas Drowne was also a tinsmith and made weathervanes, just like his famous father.  This one featured above is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts.  Not bad, 'eh?

My blog post about Shem Drowne's Faneuil Hall grasshopper weathervane  

My blog post about Shem Drowne's weathervane atop of Boston's Old North Church

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  

UPDATE 3 May 2017 -

The 1805 Newbury First Parish Meeinghouse
photo restored by Wayne Chase

I have received new information about this weather vane from Wayne Chase.  This weathervane stood above three different meetinghouse buildings in Newbury, Massachusetts.  It was originally on the First Parish Meetinghous built in 1669.  It was then installed atop the 1805 meetinghouse.  "The weathervane survived a fire that destroyed this building on January 25th in 1868".  It was placed on the new church building built in 1867, but in 2008 it was sold "to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for $575,000. A replica is now atop the spire."

This is a growing trend in New England.  Parishioners at churches that are historic, yet over 100, sometimes nearly 300 years old, face growing costs for repairing, restoring and renovating old wooden churches, steeples, roofs and additions.  Some churches have sold their historic communion silver, stained glass windows, or valuable books to fund these renovations.

Please read this newspaper article from the time of the weathervane sale:

Brian R. Ballou, "For Struggling Newbury Church, weather vane a gift from above", Boston Glove, posted 25 February 2009, accessed May 3, 2017

It is interesting to note that the sign and the data base at the Museum of Fine Arts does not reflect the fact that this weathervane came from the church in Newbury, Massachusetts.  The photo of the 1805 meetinghouse (above) was restored by Wayne Chase, and you can see the rooster weather vane above both steeples in both images (above and below).

from Wayne Chase, unknown origin


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ Happy 4th Anniversary to Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted August 19, 2015, ( accessed [access date]).

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