Statue of Justice

 

Date Made: latter half of 18th century

Measurements: 10 ft. in height

Materials: Wood and metal

This large sculptural figure is purported to have stood atop the Olde Colonial Courthouse in Barnstable, MA. It is currently in the collection of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT.

                                         

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The Olde Colonial Courthouse, the second county courthouse in Barnstable, MA, was built between 1763 and 1774. It was the scene of the 1774 patriot revolt that barred the King’s judge from entering the building in protest of a decree that required all jurors to be appointed by the Crown’s local sheriff. In 1775, when the courthouse was opened for its first session, after the start of the Revolutionary War, Judge James Otis, Sr. ordered the British Coat of Arms that hung behind the bench to be taken down and demolished.

The Olde Colonial Courthouse served as the Barnstable County courthouse until the current courthouse was built in 1832. When its mission as a courthouse ceased, the building was sold to Sidney Ainsworth and subsequently deeded to Samuel Whitman on March 16, 1840. Following the death of Mr. Whitman, the building and the grounds, where it currently stands, were sold for $77 to the Baptist Society in the East Parish of Barnstable on October 10, 1842. The building became the home of the Third Barnstable Baptist Church, organized on October 27, 1842. It was subsequently repaired and altered to meet the needs of the church.

According to local tradition, the statue was removed from the building sometime between 1832 and 1844. Since no one wanted it, a carpenter employed in the renovation of the building, is believed to have taken the statue to his home.