In the 1830s while in drydock, the USS Constitution received a controversial figurehead under the bowsprit by the commander of the Boston Navy yard, Capt. Jesse Elliott.
Who was depicted in the figurehead?
Bonus: What became of the said figurehead?
ANSWERS: new figurehead of President Jackson under the bowsprit, which became a subject of much controversy due to Jackson’s political unpopularity in Boston at the time. Elliot, a Jacksonian Democrat, received death threats.
Rumors circulated about the citizens of Boston storming the navy yard to remove the figurehead themselves.
A merchant captain named Samuel Dewey accepted a small wager as to whether he could complete the task of removal. Elliot posted guards on Constitution to ensure safety of the figurehead, but—using the noise of thunderstorms to mask his movements—Dewey crossed the Charles River in a small boat and managed to saw off most of Jackson’s head.
Source USS Constitution
The U.S. Navy originally posted this on Google plus this evening. View their page here.