A sword fight of sorts stretching from Connecticut to Ohio is underway as investigators try to solve a mystery surrounding an American Revolutionary weapon once carried by President William Henry Harrison.
A sheriff in Ohio displayed the sword on Wednesday while promising a comprehensive probe into its ownership — as a historian who bought it in 2015 at Christie’s in Manhattan insists the weapon is his while an Ohio museum says they are the owners.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil told reporters he disagrees with the claim by historian James Kochan that the museum’s sword — which was stolen from them four decades ago — was actually a replica and not the sword he bought.
“I personally feel this is the sword that came up missing,” Neil said Wednesday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “But that is just my opinion.”
Police in Cincinnati seized the sword last month just before it was set to be auctioned by Kochan, who claims Hamilton County officials have no rightful claim to the weapon.
“The fact is, nothing has been established yet,” Kochan told The Associated Press. “I have legal title to the sword they have.”
Members of the Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation near Cincinnati, meanwhile, side with the sheriff.
Reps for the organization say they’re confident it’s the same weapon once held by Harrison and his future father-in-law, Continental Army Col. John Cleves Symmes, during the American Revolution.
Kochan, of Wiscasset, Maine, later turned it over to investigators after a foundation member spotted the sword online, but he insists the piece of American history is rightfully his.
“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 — no injunction, no warrant, no paperwork — and which violated my constitutional rights is the sword missing, presumed stolen, from the Cincinnati Historical Society,” Kochan wrote the newspaper Wednesday.
But Neil said he’s confident the weapon belongs in Ohio since the names engraved on it — those of Symmes, Harrison, and six of Symmes’ relatives — match the names on the weapon once on display at the Hamilton County Probate Court.
The sword was later donated to the Cincinnati Historical Society before it was used in a 1976 Bicentennial display.
The metalworker who made the sword, Jacob Hurd, also made another sword that looked exactly like the one on display Wednesday, suggesting it was authentic, Neil said.
The minimum bid for the sword during last month’s auction was $15,000, WKRC reports.
With Post wires
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