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Chunks of the past: Murrayville man seeks new home for old cannonball
John McCracken has had this cannonball for years after his brother found it near Lake Champlain in New York. Recently the ball, which was already cracked, fell apart and revealed the shot inside. McCracken isn’t sure when the cannonball was made but thinks it was in the 18th century because of its large size.
He’s not positive exactly what it is, but John McCracken of Murrayville knows he wants to get rid of it.

He hopes his junk is indeed another man’s treasure.

The retired Navy aviator said that years ago his brother found what appeared to be a cast iron cannonball — "almost as big as a car steering wheel" — in the area around Lake Champlain. "He just brought it home one day," McCracken said.

Lake Champlain is located between northern New York and Vermont on the Canadian border.

McCracken said his guess, based on the size of the ordnance, is that it dates back to the Revolutionary War. He also believes that it was fired from a British cannon.

"I don’t know of any U.S. gun it would fit," McCracken said. "My opinion is based on never having seen a cannon that size in the U.S."

And he could be right.

According to the Web site for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont, many key Revolutionary War battles were fought on Lake Champlain, including an attempted British invasion from Canada.

The museum also notes that American Benedict Arnold, who later gained notoriety for changing sides and joining the British, plied the waters of Lake Champlain in 1776 with his fleet.

McCracken ended up with the cannonball and brought it with him years ago to Hall County, where it lay forgotten.

McCracken said he recalled he may have tried to sell it at a gun show one time, but had no takers.

This week, McCracken was cleaning out his well house when the cannonball reappeared.

But after years of neglect, the cannonball is falling apart.

Though it was intact and had just a crack when his brother found it, the ordnance now has split into pieces, revealing it to be packed full of large, round, metal balls.

McCracken believes it would have been fired from a British siege vessel, made to break apart upon impact and scatter the shot inside, killing many people.

McCracken, who after retiring from commercial aviation spends his time restoring old cars, said he doesn’t want to keep the ordnance, but doesn’t really know what to do with it.

"I just want it to go someplace where someone of interest would take care of it," he said. "I want to get rid of it, really. I just don’t want to throw it away."

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