MOUNT DESERT — Ralph Stanley and Tim Garrity will give an illustrated lecture about a mysterious artifact and the donor who gave it to the Southwest Harbor Public Library over 70 years ago when they visit the library on Thursday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m.
Hanging on the wall of the library since 1946, the Norwood’s Cove object has been widely understood to be an artifact of the 1613 Saint Sauveur mission. Now researchers know what it really is.
In 1946, a local man named Christopher Lawlor gave the object to the Southwest Harbor Public Library. The librarian who accepted the donation wrote, “This dagger owned by Christopher Lawler was unearthed by him at a depth of 18 inches, a greater depth than a plough would ever reach, when he was digging a hole in which to plant a tree on his grandfather’s farm at Norwood’s Cove in 1921.
“The land on which this dagger was found … is not more than a quarter of a mile from the ‘Jesuit Meadows’ on Fernald’s Point. It is therefore reasonable to assume that it was once owned by one of the Jesuit group who settled there. Circa, 1613.”
Library officials had variously hypothesized that the object was a dagger, an ornamental device used in French Catholic religious ceremonies, a type of spear called a halberd, a pike-like weapon called a spontoon or a decorative piece of Americana.
Garrity, executive director of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, will describe how correspondents from around the world helped to identify the artifact. Stanley, a boatbuilder and expert on local history, will talk about Lawlor, the man who gave it as a gift to the library.