X

A Late President, a Sword, and a Mystery

Cops says weapon used by William Henry Harrison was recovered; historian says no
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 8:28 AM CST
Shrink
A sword said to have been wielded in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 is handled by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil during a news conference to update the investigation into its ownership on Wednesday in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – A sword believed to have seen action in the American Revolution, been wielded by eventual President William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812, and gone missing from a Cincinnati museum is now said to be recovered after 40 years, though one historian refutes the claim. Fox News reports on the convoluted story: Police in Windsor, Conn., last month seized the sword—crafted by Jacob Hurd around 1776 and one of 17, per WKRC—right before a Maine historian named James Kochan was about to auction it off. He says he picked it up at a Christie's auction in 2015 and that it's not the missing sword, which the Cincinnati Enquirer reports was first said to have been used in the Revolutionary War by Harrison's father-in-law, John Cleves Symmes, then given to Harrison. The sword kept getting passed down to other relatives, and in the early 1920s, the Symmes family donated it to Hamilton County.

The sword was loaned to the Cincinnati Historical Society in 1976 and stolen shortly after. A Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation Museum member spotted Kochan's auction listed online in October. "I still have not been presented with a single iota of evidence to prove that the sword that I own and which was seized without due process ... is the [missing] sword," Kochan tells the Enquirer. He details what he says are variations between the missing sword and the sword he says is his for the New York Times, and Christie's auction house is cautiously backing him up, noting, "There are differences in key descriptions that would indicate these may be two different items." More on the story of the sword, now being authenticated, here. (Read more discoveries stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results  |  
5%
74%
5%
5%
1%
10%