Anchor 01
Anchor 02

Figurehead

Attached to the bow (or front) of Hamilton just beneath the bowsprit is the figurehead. When first built in 1809 at Oswego, New York, the Hamilton was decorated in keeping with owner Mathew McNair’s desire to show himself as a well to do merchant. The vessel was originally named Diana and a suitable likeness of the Roman goddess of the hunt was added. In this case Diana appears as a mature woman gazing forwards laden with a quiver of arrows and a garland of flowers. No attempt was made to change the figurehead of the vessel once it was purchased and re-fit for war by the United States Navy in 1812. This is probably due to the mariners’ superstition that it is bad luck to alter a vessel’s figurehead. As it turned out, bad luck did strike Hamilton and Scourge as both vessels capsized in a sudden storm in August of 1813 while the Royal Navy fleet and the rest of the United States Lake Ontario fleet survived.