|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, September 23, 2017
|Mysterious Wanderer, The Leatherman, from 1800s Gets More Peaceful New York Grave|
Pennies, placed by historian and author Dan DeLuca who wrote "The Old Leather Man: Historical Accounts of a Connecticut and New York Legend," lay on a pine casket that contains soil from the former grave The Leatherman at a reburial ceremony of The Leatherman Wed., May 25, 2011 at the Sparta Cemetery in Ossining, N.Y. Soils containing the remains of the mysterious wanderer known as The Leatherman, who roamed New York and Connecticut in the 19th century, were moved from a roadside grave to more peaceful surroundings. The body was exhumed for DNA testing earlier to make sure the remains were that of The Leatherman. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle.
By: Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press
OSSINING, N.Y. (AP).- A mysterious man who wandered New York and Connecticut in a 60-pound leather suit during the 19th century became a little more mysterious Wednesday.
Historians announced that all they found when they dug up the 1889 grave of the man known as the Leatherman was dozens of coffin nails.
"The Leatherman was a mystery in life and he's going to be a mystery in death," said Ossining Historical Society President Norman MacDonald.
The grave in Ossining's Sparta Cemetery was being relocated because it was just a few paces from busy Route 9, and recent interest in the Leatherman was bringing more visitors to his resting place. MacDonald said the grave site had become dangerous.
Accounts of the nomad's all-leather outfit, his quiet demeanor and his regular ways he made a 365-mile loop through the same towns about every month have fostered interest, although his name is unknown and he died 122 years ago.
Pearl Jam recorded a song about him, "Leatherman," in 1998 describing him as "making the rounds 10 miles a day."
The historical society won permission to disinter the remains and hoped to arrange DNA testing that might shed some light on where the Leatherman came from and whether he had autism, as some suggest.
But MacDonald said there were no visible remains of the body. Nicholas Bellantoni, a University of Connecticut archeologist, said there was no hope of finding a DNA sample suitable for testing.
"It's ashes to ashes," he said.
Bellantoni, who supervised the excavation, said time, plus the impact of traffic over the shallow gravesite, had combined to destroy both soft and hard tissue. He also said a road-grading project could have scraped away some of the original gravesite.
However, he said the soil in the grave would hold "what is left organically of the Leatherman."
So the nails and some soil from the grave were placed in a new pine coffin topped with wildflowers and lowered into a newly dug hole on the cemetery's hillside, well above the road, after a Presbyterian minister read the 23rd Psalm.
Dan DeLuca, author of "The Old Leather Man: Historical Accounts of a Connecticut and New York Legend," attended the ceremony in a leather jacket and brought along a tin pipe he said was the Leatherman's. Before the coffin was buried, he placed four tarnished pennies and said if children left tarnished pennies for the Leatherman, he would replace them with shiny ones.
DeLuca has declared that the Leatherman was not Jules Bourglay, the name on a marker that went up in 1953 and was taken away Sunday to the historical society's museum. That name and the story that went with it that the Leatherman came from France as the victim of a sad love affair were false and were retracted after they were published in a Connecticut newspaper, DeLuca found.
The new marker is a boulder bearing a plaque that says only "The Leatherman."
DeLuca suspects the Leatherman came from Canada.
It is known that the Leatherman lived outdoors in winter and summer, using caves and rock overhangs for shelter. He relied on the kindness of strangers for food.
Some accounts said he showed up for a handout at the same houses every 34 days as he made his way around Westchester County and eastern Connecticut.
The Leatherman didn't say much, "possibly because he knew French rather than English," MacDonald said. "He'd say a word or two, and he used some sign language."
He was found dead in 1889 in a cave in what is now Briarcliff Manor; he was given a pauper's grave in Sparta Cemetery, which holds some veterans of the American Revolution.
There was some opposition to the exhumation.
At LeavetheLeathermanAlone.com, Don Johnson of Bethany, Conn., and others argued that it would have been disrespectful to the Leatherman to test his remains because he obviously tried to keep his privacy.
"I believe that the Leather Man's DNA is his property, and he went to unimaginable lengths to guard his identity during his life," Johnson wrote.
He said Wednesday he was happy that no visible remains were found.
MacDonald disagreed about the Leatherman's quest for privacy.
"I wouldn't say he was a private person, because he depended on people almost every day," he said. "Besides, you don't walk around in a 60-pound leather suit if you're trying to be anonymous."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
May 27, 2011
British-Born Surrealist Painter Leonora Carrington Dies at Age 94 in Mexico City
British Museum Study Shows Britain is an Amateur Treasure Seeker's Paradise
Maya Funerary Offering Found by Archaeologists in Cenote Near Chichen Itza
Richard Long, A Pioneer of Land and Conceptual Art, Exhibits at Haunch of Venison
Sotheby's Russian Art Auctions to be Led by Important Group of Paintings by Vereschagin
For the First Time Ever, National Gallery Painting by Van Gogh Comes to Life
After 10 Years, Astronomers Unveil Most Complete 3-D Map of Local Universe
Many Artists at ART HK International Art Fair Revel in Freedom to Support Ai Weiwei
LACMA Presents 32 Images of Elizabeth Taylor in Iran: Photographs by Firooz Zahedi
The MFA Houston Selects Three Architecture Firms to Submit Design Proposals for an Expanded MFAH
Collection of Rare Ornithological Inspired Music Boxes Highlight June Auction
National Gallery of Victoria Celebrates 150th Birthday with a Gift of 173 Indigenous Artworks
ARTZUID 2011 an International Sculpture Exhibition in a Unique Cultural Heritage Setting
Material Girls Exhibition Intrigues, Amazes and Inspires at Reginald F Lewis Museum
British Painter Laurence Stephen Lowry Record Set at Christie's in London
Gagosian Gallery Announces "Lindsay Lohan": Richard Phillips' First Short Film
Exhibition Presents Artist Runa Islam's Newly Commissioned Film Emergence
Broad Range of High Quality Dutch Paintings at Sotheby's Amsterdam in June
Local Derbyshire Scene Bought for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery by the Art Fund
Detroit Institute of Arts Presents SYNC: A Fundraiser where Art Meets Technology
Los Angeles Modern Auction to Offer Unique Modern Art & Design Sale on June 26
The Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal Presents Déja - The Collection on Display
Whitney Museum of American Art Presents Brooklyn-Based Artist Cory Arcangel's Pro Tools
MoMA Presents the First American Museum Presentation of Boris Mikhailov's Photographs
Sotheby's Latin American Art Evening Sales Achieve Highest Ever Total: $21.7 Million
Mysterious Wanderer, The Leatherman, from 1800s Gets More Peaceful New York Grave
Agreement Reached on the Sphinx of Hattusha
Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas at the British Museum
UK Makes Donation to Preserve Auschwitz Memorial
The Autry National Center is Recipient of a $6.6 Million Grant from California State Parks
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Carbon dating finds manuscript contains oldest recorded origins of the symbol 'zero'
2.- Alice Walton announces formation of Art Bridges
3.- Met Museum acquires ancient Egyptian gilded coffin
4.- French fashion tycoon and art collector Pierre Berge dies aged 86 in southern France
5.- Van der Weyden, Rubens and Van Dyck: Flemish masters on view in The Hague
6.- New exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum explores rare luxury books of the Middle Ages
7.- Mexican archaeologists find dwelling for Aztec survivors of Spanish conquest
8.- Groundbreaking LGBTQ art show opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei
9.- Egyptian archaeological dig unearths goldsmith's tomb, mummies
10.- Exhibition at Stadel Museum focuses on works by Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.