City Soldiers - The DePeyster Collection

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Introducing Jamie McFadden, who's been helping us out in the Press Office this week, and researching a very interesting talk that's coming up tomorrow at the Museum of Liverpool.

The King’s Regiment has been involved in conflicts and battles around the world since the 1700s. Over the years, members of the Regiment have collected ‘Trophies of War’ and the further back in time we go, the more extravagant these trophies become.

National Museums Liverpool has a long-term loan of collections from the King’s Regiment that are currently exhibited in the City Soldiers gallery at the Museum of Liverpool. Some of the items in the collection date back to conflicts hundreds of years ago between British and American forces in an attempt to protect British overseas colonies.

On Thursday, Social History curator Karen O’Rourke will be discussing the ‘trophies’ collected by an early Colonel, Arent Schuyler DePeyster. DePeyster is described by some as ‘one of the most skilled British chiefs engaged in Native American diplomacy during the Revolutionary era’. During the 17 year-long garrison in America, DePeyster spent time gaining the trust of the Native American chiefs. This strong relationship enabled him to persuade the Native’s to fight on the side of the British. A skilled treaty maker, he spent years working with tribes to stop them trading with and fighting for the Americans.

Image of painting of John Caldwell

Colonel John Caldwell of the King's Regiment, was a key negotiator between British Forces and Natives.

However DePeyster, known to the natives as ‘The Father’, wasn’t the only person to gain the trust of the tribal chiefs. Lieutenant Colonel John Caldwell was another member of the King’s Regiment, who was a key negotiator between the British forces and Natives. Caldwell, son of Baron Caldwell of Fermanagh, spent so much time with the tribal people, that it is believed that he adapted to their lifestyle. In one painting on display at the Museum of Liverpool, Caldwell is seen attending an inter-nation council in Wakeetomike, wearing tribal dress. It is said that his father wrote to DePeyster expressing concern at his son’s erratic behaviour.

During Thursday’s talk at the Museum of Liverpool, Karen O’Rourke will be discussing the relations between British and American forces and how they used the native tribes to fight their battles. The DePeyster collection at the Museum of Liverpool features items that were extremely valuable to the Native Americans and that were given to DePeyster in return for small invaluable items, such as beads. The tribes, who based a lot of their actions on the instructions of the spirits, gave DePeyster stone carved tobacco pipes, which they used to contact the spirits and also quillwork chokers that were worn by the tribal people to suggest importance. This world famous collection can be seen in the City Soldiers gallery of the Museum of Liverpool.

‘Peace pipe or war hatchet? The DePeyster collection’ will be held in the Museum of Liverpool’s City Soldiers gallery on the first floor of the Museum of Liverpool at 3pm on Thursday 14th June.