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Thread: Civil War Model 1852 Naval Officers Presented to a Freemason!

  1. #1

    Civil War Model 1852 Naval Officers Presented to a Freemason!

    Here is my first acquisition of 2019. It comes with a great story:

    Civil War Pattern 1852 Naval Officers’ Sword and Scabbard of Acting Master Gustavus B. Simonds. Retailed by Shreve, Stanwood & Co Boston.


    This standard pattern sword bears the presentation inscription on the reverse of the top scabbard mount “G. B. S. / Presented by / M.M. Rounds / T.J. Stafford /J.B. Hotchkiss / P. Dennis / H.T. Douglas / and W. Mansfield” The blade is etched on each side with exceptional naval motifs. In addition, the obverse contains the symbol of the Mark Master 4th degree of Royal Arch Masonry, York rite and contains in a circle “G.B. SIMONDS” and the letters “H. T. W. S. S. T. K. S.” standing for the motto Hiram, Tyrian, Widow’s Son, Sendeth To King Soloman. The reverse contains a Masonic Square & Compass and the ricasso contains the retailors name in needle engraving.

    Gustavus B. Simonds was appointed an Acting Master on October 1st 1862 and was assigned to the Mississippi Squadron and served on the Steamer Judge Torrence, an ammunition ship that supplied the western mortar gunboat flotilla with ammunition during operations against Island No. 10. He was also present during the bombardment of Fort Pillow and at capture of Memphis, Tennessee. On January 24th 1863, Acting Master Simonds received the following order from Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, “Sir: You will assume charge of the navy yard at Memphis, Tenn., and all the mechanics of the yard, subject to the order of any naval officer that may be there. All the material, stores, machinery, etc., will be for the present under your charge, and you will make me weekly reports of what is going on. Mr. Rowe is no longer employed, and he will turn over to you the orders he has received from me. Every precaution must be taken against surprise by the enemy. The public property must strictly guard and none of the public buildings now in the yard be allowed to be used by persons now belonging to the navy, expecting the blacksmith shop, now in use by the army. You will take up your quarters in the commandant’s house until relieved by a person who may be sent to take command.” On April 7th 1863 Simonds tendered his resignation to Acting Rear-Admiral David D. Porter. Porter “Respectfully forwarded, this person’s resignation is recommended to be accepted from the fact of his committing supposed frauds in charging captains $10 for clearance of their vessels.” He would later be granted an invalid pension for deafness caused from mortar fire He died April 13th 1902 and his widow would be denied her pension claim as his resignation was not considered an honorable discharge.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Very nice, Skipper
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    What a neat sword along with the history. You know, in my experience, the villains are often much more interesting than the heroes. Great story of the owner.

    Congratulations!
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  4. #4
    I found this forum and this thread while searching for info on GB Simonds. I own Simonds' watch which is an exceptional and rare watch and am happy to see his sword. I have no reason to doubt the dishonorable discharge info written above but given my research it seems a bit out of context. The watch I have was given to Mr. Simonds as a prize or token of esteem by the New York and New Haven Railway in 1854 for his development and patent on a new style spark arrestor for steam locomotives. Mr. Simonds holds several other patents related to the railroads where he spent most of his career.

    The watch pictured below is one of 7 Tourbillion watches ever made by Jules Juergensen. The Tourbillion is a very difficult to make complication which rotates the entire escapement of a watch once every minute to compensate for positional (gravity induced) variations. The toubillion was invented by the famous watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet around 1800 and by 1850 when this watch was made perhaps only 50 had every been built by anyone. The watch survives in beautiful condition in its original box which has Mr. Simonds' name engraved on a plaque on the top. The watch is also dedicated to him twice on the 18k case.

    FYI, this watch and several other important Civil War related watches will be displayed starting at the end of June at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Museum in Columbia, PA which is just a few miles from Gettysburg.

    Here is a link to pictures of the watch along with some more biographical info on GB Simonds.

    http://www.johncotephotography.com/W...r_2/index.html

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCote View Post
    I found this forum and this thread while searching for info on GB Simonds. I own Simonds' watch which is an exceptional and rare watch and am happy to see his sword. I have no reason to doubt the dishonorable discharge info written above but given my research it seems a bit out of context. The watch I have was given to Mr. Simonds as a prize or token of esteem by the New York and New Haven Railway in 1854 for his development and patent on a new style spark arrestor for steam locomotives. Mr. Simonds holds several other patents related to the railroads where he spent most of his career.

    The watch pictured below is one of 7 Tourbillion watches ever made by Jules Juergensen. The Tourbillion is a very difficult to make complication which rotates the entire escapement of a watch once every minute to compensate for positional (gravity induced) variations. The toubillion was invented by the famous watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet around 1800 and by 1850 when this watch was made perhaps only 50 had every been built by anyone. The watch survives in beautiful condition in its original box which has Mr. Simonds' name engraved on a plaque on the top. The watch is also dedicated to him twice on the 18k case.

    FYI, this watch and several other important Civil War related watches will be displayed starting at the end of June at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Museum in Columbia, PA which is just a few miles from Gettysburg.

    Here is a link to pictures of the watch along with some more biographical info on GB Simonds.

    http://www.johncotephotography.com/W...r_2/index.html
    The watch is beautiful. Odd that in the write up on Simonds it refers to him as Commodore when in fact he was only a Acting Master which is a junior rank. I was aware of his railroad connection and some of the names on the sword presentation were also railroad men but others were from other walks of life so I am guessing that they were all fellow masons. His not so sterling history is well documented in the Official Records as well as pension files where his wife was denied pension money because his resignation was under other than honorable conditions.
    Last edited by GC Roxbury; 04-18-2019 at 07:10 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Kansas City Metro (USA)
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    1,671
    The scoundrels are often most interesting.

    I have a sword from a 90 day Army Second Lieutenant who was courts martial-ed and sent to Leavenworth to break up large rocks into small ones. One has to specifically ask for courts martial records as they will not simply include them when getting things from the US National Archives. In the end, my fellow was also denied a pension but his wife was able to cheat the Government out of a widow's pension by citing a separate period of service where he did receive an honorable discharge. So, he won in the end.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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