Blanket Coat by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune, Indian Island, 2021

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Jennifer Sapiel Neptune (Penobscot) made this blanket coat in memory of Margaret Moxa, her husband, her two-month-old baby; and a separate group of eight Penobscot men and one child, who were all murdered by a group of scalp-bounty hunters the evening of July 2, 1755 in what became known as the Owl's Head Massacre.

Massachusetts lieutenant governor Spencer Phips issued proclamations that offered bounties for killing Native people. James Cargill, of Newcastle, purposely led his expedition into Penobscot territory, even though the Penobscots were exempted at that time from the bounty proclamation issued in June of 1755 that targeted the Abenaki of the Kennebec region. The November 1755 proclamation required “his Majesty’s subjects of the province to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing, and destroying all and every” Penobscot citizens. Scalps were used as proof of the genocidal killings, with bounties ranging from £20 to £50 for men, women, and children of any age.

The coat was created from wool similar to the trade wool distributed yearly to Penobscots as treaty annuities, and embellished with delicate ribbonwork designs and glass beads. Neptune's intention in creating this blanket coat was to create an awareness about these events in Maine's past, and to iniitiate healing,
"May I have stitched a prayer so full of love, tenderness, and beauty
that it reaches back 266 years
and wraps the innocent in the love of the survivors;
and with such gentleness,
that it comforts the baby's cries."

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About This Item

  • Title: Blanket Coat by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune, Indian Island, 2021
  • Creator: Jennifer Sapiel Neptune
  • Creation Date: 2021
  • Subject Date: circa 1755
  • Locations:
    • Old Town, Penobscot County, ME
    • Thomaston, Knox County, ME
  • Media: Wool, silk, glass bead
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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