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Description: SILVER-HILT SMALLSWORD BY JACOB HURD, CARRIED BY COL. JOHN CLEVES SYMMES AND LATER BY GEN. WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON Silver and steel, 34 1/2 inches long overall; with slender, tapering blade of triangular section, the silver hilt with double-clamshell guard and globular pommel, the grip wrapped with 2-strand, silver wire; marked on guard with Hurd's touch-mark (Kane mark C); original scabbard of black leather with silver throat, middle band and drag (the middle band a modern replacement); the hilt and scabbard mountings engraved at various periods to successive owners: Col. J C Symmes 1776 (on outside of the outward lobe or shell, with and J M Symmes 1933 on inside of same; Col C Symmes 1798 on outer face of inside clamshell and Maj[or] A B Symmes 1904 on underside; with W W Symmes 1916 on knuckle-bow; and Genl W H Harrison / 1812 and Capt. Benj. R. Symmes / 1826 on the throat of the scabbard. John Cleves Symmes (1742-1814) was educated as a lawyer and married Anna Tuthill on October 30, 1760. They had three daughters; the youngest, Anna Tuthill Symmes, was to become a First Lady, marrying William Henry Harrison. Symmes supported the Patriot cause, becoming chairman of the Sussex County, New Jersey Committee of Safety in 1774. When the Revolutionary War began in earnest, he served as Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of the Sussex County militia from 1777 to 1780. The unit was called into active service with the Continental Army on several occasions, during which he carried this fine silver-hilt smallsword by Jacob Hurd. In 1776, he was elected to the New Jersey Legislative Council, serving again in 1780. Symmes served on the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1777 and 1778. He later represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress (1785–1786) and in 1788 moved to the Northwest Territory, settling in what later became North Bend, Ohio. He served as a judge of the Territorial Court from 1788 until Ohio became a state in 1803. He also pursued an active career as a land developer and seller in the Symmes Purchase of 1788, when he purchased 311,682 acres in present-day western Ohio from the United States for $225,000. He died on February 26, 1814 at Cincinnati, Ohio, and is buried at Congress Green Cemetery in North Bend, Ohio. His son-in-law, William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), lived nearby and was given this sword, reputedly carrying it in the War of 1812 as major general in the U.S. Army. He commanded the Northwestern Army of regulars, volunteers and militia during its campaigns on the northwestern frontier during 1812-1813, culminating in victory of the British and Indians at the Battle of the Thames 5 October 1813. After his untimely death in 1841 shortly after becoming the 9th President of the United States, the sword passed successively in the Symmes family to the eldest male in each generation that had seen military service. Jacob Hurd (1702-1758) was an important Boston silversmith and noted sword-maker, of which approximately ten swords are known, including a sword for Col. William Prescott, commander of the Revolutionary forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill (now at the Massachusetts Historical Society) and the sword of Colonel Richard Hazen, the only other example that still survives with its original scabbard (now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Examples of Hurd's swords are illustrated and discussed in Jeannine Falino, Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000, 2008, pp. 91-93, and Ian M.G. Quimby, American Silver at Winterthur, 1995, no. 85, p. 130 and John D. Hamilton's seminal article, "Jacob Hurd and the Boston Smallsword", American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin 70 (Spring 1994), 8-15. Provenance: John Cleves Symmes and thence by descent in the Symmes-Harrison family to the 20th century; from thence to the late Eric Martin Wunsch.
Condition: All lots are sold "AS IS" The condition of lots can vary widely and are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. *No credit card payments will be accepted for silver, gold, or jewelry from buyers that have not purchased from our gallery in the past.
Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Starting Bid: $15,000.00
Auction Date: October 19th, 2019Back to Lot Listings