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Very rare, probably unique sword from that infamous secret society which formed the core of The Molly Maguires in the 1870s. Spawned by the 18th-century land appropriations and enclosure, the Molly Maguires were formed in Ireland. Migrations following the potato famine of 1845 brought the Irish to the coal fields of Pennsylvania. Starting in the early 1870s which brought an economic depression, the Mollies were accused of murder, arson, kidnapping, and other crimes against the establishment and particularly the monied coal interests which fought their efforts to organize. The Pinkertons were hired to break the movement and ultimately, 20 accused Molly Maguires were hanged in 1877 and 1878. There is still much disagreement by historians over the events and responsibility for the rebellion. This sword is unique in our experience and extensive research. A few A O H swords of militia officer’s pattern are known. This example with its hound head pommel and scabbard with harps, pierced shamrock & cross, A O H, and hand-engraved shamrock tendrils is variant in every way. The 28” blade is marked by G F Foster Son @ Co. Chicago. That retailer is recorded as providing an officer’s sword during the Civil War and an example with 1891 presentation date is known. We found no other date information on Foster Co. The construction and workmanship strictly accord with a last quarter of the 19th-century date. The blade is further marked with A O H and the owner’s name, John Sullivan. Researching the name provided hits too numerous for specificity. A unique and elegant piece of Irish American and organized labor history.
Stock Number: A9259

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