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American Civil War Sword GAR stamp
Old 05-03-2007, 10:16 PM   #1
Tim O'Keefe
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Default American Civil War Sword GAR stamp

This sword has been in the family over 140 years. GGG-Father Capt Stephens of 1st Minnesota regt. Anyone know more about GAR issued swords such as these ? He had two swords, combat sword and this one ? Thanks
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Tim
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:19 PM   #2
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:24 PM   #3
Tim O'Keefe
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GAR, sorry about flash.
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Old 05-04-2007, 06:00 AM   #4
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Not really an "issue" sword but privately purchased at reunions or through the local GAR hall to wear at formal meetings. Patterned after the M1860 Staff & Field. GREAT to have a piece of family history like that!
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:04 PM   #5
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Here is some more info of my GGGrandfather the owner of this sword.

John Harrington Stevens (June 13, 1820–May 28, 1900) was the first authorized resident on the west bank of the Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis.

Stevens was born in Brompton Falls, Quebec, Canada. He attained the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army, and was involved in the Mexican-American War {John Stevens did not have official rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army; this was an unofficial title commonly used}. He served in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1857–1858 and the Minnesota Senate in 1859–1860. He returned to the house once later in 1876.


Family history has it that he was with the famous 1st Minnesota Regt as a Captain. But i could not verify this ? Recently found this info that he was involved in the Mexican-American War & that he was an "unofficial" Colonel. he probably would have been too old to have been with the 1st Minnesota during the ACW but perhaps he was an unofficial Col to this Regt, or its Vet organization ? Also read somewhere he may have been in an Ohio Regt prior, perhaps this is the link to the Mex-USA war ?

Anyways still tying to gather more history on this sword & Col Stevens ?
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:19 PM   #6
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The GAR was not formed until after the Civil War, and as someone mentioned, the sword would have been something he purchased for formal wear.
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Old 08-25-2016, 06:30 PM   #7
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Thanks Johnny

Yes there were two swords passed down in the family, this is his Vet Org sword. The other disappeared when my mother was very young. This sword is probably his link to his "unofficial" title of Col and at this point it appears he was a politician not a solder. Though he may have served in an Ohio Regt earlier than the ACW. still researching this...
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:06 PM   #8
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Found a little more info, he did serve in the Army during the Mex-USA war and was a captain at some point. Still have not found out in what unit/capacity ? & later during the Indian uprising in Minnesota, as brigadier general of the militia, he commanded troops and volunteers sent to the front. still looking into this....
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:13 PM   #9
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Family history to be proud of Thanks for sharing this heirloom
and background story!
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:49 AM   #10
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Hi Nick

Thanks alot, thought of you actually while researching this further. You see my family had the wrong name & rank for all these years....Most thought he was James Stevens so thats who we have been looking for. But then a fellow researcher on my mother's father side found info on John H Stevens linking him to my mother also. Turns out this guy is like the father of Minneapolis which is great cause most of my ancestors are drunks, horse thieves, nutters, or worst of all musicians
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:15 AM   #11
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Here are more details of John Stevens from the State of Minnesota archives.

https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/legdb/articles/

"The first settler on the west bank of the Mississippi river on the site of the city of Minneapolis was Colonel John H. Stevens. He came to Minnesota and took up his farm over looking the Falls of St. Anthony in 1849. Colonel Stevens is a native of Canada, though his parents and ancestors for generations were New England people. He traces his line back to Captain Stevens, who served with honor
in King Philip's war during the early colonial times. Gardner Stevens, Colonel Stevens' father, was a native and a citizen of Vermont. He married Deborah Harrington, also of Vermont, who was the only daughter of Dr. John Harrington, who was a surgeon in the colonial army during the revolution. John was their second son. He was born on June 13, 1820. The boy was educated at the common schools in the East, and in the public schools in Wisconsin and Illinois, in which latter state he cast his first vote in 1842. During his early' manhood the Mexican war broke out and Colonel Stevens enlisted as a private in 1846 and was promoted to Captain in 1847. Served through the war. A year or so after the close of the war he returned to Wisconsin and Illinois & 1849 came to Minnesota. (same year as the gold rush in California) Upon arriving at the Falls of St. Anthony. Colonel Stevens formed a Business partnership with Franklin Steele, who had a store at the little hamlet on the east bank of the river. But the young man saw clearly the advantages of a site on the west Bank This ground was then a military reservation, and repeated attempts to secure permission to settle upon it had been unsuccessful. Colonel Stevens, however, finally secured offlcial leave, and at once took up a farm on the site now covered by the heavy business portion of Minneapolis, and the great flour milling district. The following year he brought a young wife from Illinois to this new farm and establishedthe first home in Minneapollis. For a time Colonel Stevens worked this river-side farm, but it soon
became evident that the ground was needed for a town. He was a practical surveyor, and with generous public spirit he plotted the land to which he had already become attached, laid out city lots and blocks, and subsequently gave away many of them to people who would occupy them. From that time on Colonel Stevens was for many years foremost in furthering the interests of the city and state. He took a lively interest in the promotion of immigration and the exploration and settling of the country west of Minneapolis, in those days an almost unbroken land of wilderness. During the Indian uprising, as brigadier general of the militia, he commanded troops and volunteers."

Still working on which unit(s) he served with in the Mex-USA war ? and if there is a connection with the 1st Minnesota Regt ?

Last edited by Tim O'Keefe; 09-03-2016 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:43 AM   #12
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Always great to see family military history items.
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim O'Keefe View Post
GAR, sorry about flash.
On camera flash is terrible for trying to take closeup photos.

As a suggestion find an area of bright shade outdoors, and use a medium colored background.
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond View Post
Always great to see family military history items.
Hi Jerry thanks alot ! Know your family has quite a history too

When researching Stevens past was interesting to learn the "family" history was incorrect and that he is the founding father of Minneapolis though he was a squater
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Peppers View Post
On camera flash is terrible for trying to take closeup photos.

As a suggestion find an area of bright shade outdoors, and use a medium colored background.
Hi Johnny

Not sure but those original photos may be from an old polaroid

Here is a more recent attempt taking your advice in natural light. The makers mark, WM Read & Sons, from Boston & the GAR are hard to capture properly...

Never did make the connection from his service in Mexico to fighting the Indian uprising during the Civil war ?
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