Saturday, February 21, 2015


In 1778, militia colonel Benjamin Logan was alone when he
encountered a small party of Shawnee warriors outside his settlement near present-day Stanford, Kentucky. Outnumbered, Logan fought them off, but not without cost. With multiple wounds and his arm broken, he escaped to the safety of Logan’s Station, and eventually recovered.

To depict this event, frontier artist Andrew Knez, Jr., borrowed a friend’s hammer tomahawk to use as prop for his painting, “Encounter.”

Months later, Andrew Knez was at an antique arms collectors show in Lexington and passed a booth with a placard that read: “Beaver Bill Forging Works.” Arrayed on the table were Bill Keeler’s hand-forged knives, pipe tomahawks, spike tomahawks, and hammer hawks.

One of Bill’s tomahawks looked familiar to Andrew, so he brought up a picture of “Encounter” to show Bill. “Yep, looks like one of mine,” Bill said. Bill had made the hawk that Andrew had depicted in the hand of the Shawnee warrior. Bill’s replica was based on an original dated to the late 1700s, which had a silver crescent that once bore an Indian’s name, now illegible. Later, a motto was inscribed on the tomahawk head: “to your / arms soldiers / and fight.”

I picked up a print of “Encounter” (#85 of 500). Bill is making a

custom hawk to match the one in Andrew’s painting. They’ll hang together on my wall. It’ll be ready in June.

No comments: