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Trencher Salt (one of a pair)

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This low octagonal salt is of roughly rectangular shape with two long and six shorter sides. The shallow oval bowl is set within a faceted body having concave sides that splay inward from wide, scored base. The foot is reinforced with applied wire.


Inscribed in Roman capitals on base: A/T*H. Later text on exterior in Gothic capitals along length of trencher: W, probably for Whitney family of Shirley, Massachusetts.


On underside of bowl: crowned IC over a coney, within a shield. Buhler 1972, mark d.


The original owner, whose initials “A / T * H” are engraved on the salts, is unknown. According to the donor, the patriot John Hancock gave the salts to his first cousin Lydia Bowes (1749 – 1805), on her marriage in 1770 to Rev. Phinehas Whitney (1740 – 1819) of Shirley; the Gothic W was added later in the nineteenth century. By descent to their son Thomas Whitney (1771 – 1884) and Henrietta Parker (1775 – 1864) of the same town, m. 1799; to their son James Phineas Whitney (1802 – 1847) and Lydia Bowes Parker Treadwell (b. 1815), m. 1836; to their daughter Henrietta Parker Whitney (1837 – 1900) and Andrew McFarland Davis (b. 1833) of Worcester, m. 1862. To their daughter Frederica King Davis (1869 – before 1964) and Thomas Russell Watson (1850 – 1920) of Plymouth and Middletown, m. 1901; to their three daughters, Eleanor Whitney Watson (Mrs. Thomas B. Coolidge) (b. 1902), Marjorie (Mrs. T. Dana Hill) (b. 1903), and Mrs. William Payson. Purchased from Mrs. Coolidge and Mrs. Hill by the donors and made a gift

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Payson

18th century

Object Place

Boston, Massachusetts


2.9 x 7.7 x 6 cm (1 1/8 x 3 1/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique





Silver hollowware