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Lawrence County Newspaper Articles

Mystery cannon of Mahoning has prank history

At least one of the mysteries surrounding the cannon found in the Mahoning River by David A. Fullerton of RD 7 has been brought to light by the testimony of two area men.

The men, who wish to remain anonymous, revealed how by adolescent pranks the cannon found its way into the muddy river where the son of the Carl Fullertons discovered it earlier this month.

According to the two Mt. Jackson natives, the cannon was first uncovered in 1955, at the site of the North Beaver Township Fire Hall in Mt. Jackson. Boy Scouts, clearing the land for the fire hall's construction, dug up the cannon and set it aside. The two said they'd planned to go back later with their father to retrieve their discovery, but when they returned, it was gone.

The cannon was not lost, however, for over a period of about five years, it was passed from clique to clique and person to person through a series of legal and illegal transactions. When the former Boy Scouts finally regained their possession, it was being used as a lawn ornament. The boys "couldn't see it sitting in someone's front yard" when they could be shooting it, so one night a gang of them "swiped it, cleaned it and shot it off."

Like most adventure stories, real and fiction, the mock battles were called to a halt by a concerned citizen who "didn't think kids should be playing with a cannon," although he told them to stop, the youngsters merely moved their battle elsewhere.

Elsewhere turned out to be Covert's Crossing in North Beaver Township. Since the fellows were dealing with a "hot" cannon, the need for a hiding place between shootings was vital. Constructing a boat from two car hoods, they lowered the cannon from Covert's Bridge onto the "boat" and into the water.

One day, after an especially high water mark, the rope attached to their treasure broke loose and the cannon was lost. The boys "walked the river three times," but their loss was never regained until David Fullerton noticed the base peeking out of the mud.

David received a letter June 28 from the Ohio Historical Society of Columbus, Ohio describing the cannon as "a line throwing cannon, used to fire heaving line for rescue work from stranded ships to shore." Cannon of this nature date from 1870-1890. The letter stated that the cannon was possibly made in New York, but that identification of markings would verify its origin.

Source: New Castle News, July 1, 1971, Page 15

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