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The Dog Head Sword of Succasunna

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The Dog Head Sword of Succasunna Book Cover Credits: John Lawrence Brasher
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ROXBURY, NJ - One man’s 40-year quest for the origin of a unique Revolutionary War sword found in Succasunna will be the subject of a presentation Oct. 23.

The owner of the sword, John Lawrence Brasher, will give the presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna on Main Street. The program is sponsored by the Roxbury Township Historical Society, which is grateful to the church for hosting this unique event relevant to the township’s pre-Revolutionary history.

Brasher, born in Morristown, is professor emeritus of Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. He has ancestral ties to Succasunna and the 1756 Presbyterian Church where his maternal great-great grandparents, Peter and Ann Hance Watters, worshipped from 1869-1916. 

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He will exhibit his rarest of treasures, the dog head sword, given to him on his 13th birthday, July 4, 1969, by his maternal grandfather Lawrence D. Watters (1878-1970). Watters was born in a Succasunna farm house, which to this day is a residence at the corner of Unneberg Avenue and Honeyman Drive.

It was in the upper story of this old house, circa 1729, that the sword of unknown origin had been preserved from 1865 until 1918, when grandfather Watters rescued it as the house was being sold.

The story of the sword is multi-faceted, revealing the complexity of the Revolution, which he described in his recently published book, The Dog Head Sword of Succasunna, as not only a war for independence, but a civil war between patriots and loyalists, relatives and friends.

Among the interesting relationships detailed in the book are the sword’s ties to Trenton silversmiths and notable Revolutionary families, including the wealthy Ford mining family of Morristown.

Learn of the many places Brasher visited; the authorities on history and antiquity with whom he consulted and the hidden pieces of history he uncovered in his search for the sword’s origin, which effectively combine to give life to our region’s Revolutionary War history.

Exhibited along with the sword will be Brasher’s memorabilia passed on to him from the era of the revered Elijah Stoddard’s tenure as pastor of the Presbyterian Church from 1865-1913.  

Refreshments will follow the presentation, and signed copies of Brasher’s book will be available.

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