December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
Arthur Latham Conger was born on February 19, 1838 in Boston, Summit County, Ohio. He spent his childhood years on a farm that was owned by his parents and received a meager education in rural schools in his county. While he was still a boy, he started supporting himself by working in a brick yard earning ten cents per day. He also worked on canal boats. Arthur was a boy who craved education, and since he was depraved of proper education facilities, he made up for this small setback by being persistent and studied at home during moments of leisure. These early years of hard work prepared him for his future military and business career, a bright future in which Conger would significantly establish himself. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted as a private in the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on July 24, 1862. By this point, he was 24 years-old with the civilian occupation of school teacher, which was fitting for Conger, who had a passion for education. His position as a teacher qualified him as an eligible bachelor and for a quick promotion to First Lieutenant as of August 21, 1862. He was mustered into Company G, 115th Ohio, on September 18, 1862 and then detached for staff duty as Acting Assistant Adjutant to General Ammen on November 20, 1862 and served largely in the Army and Department of Ohio and Cumberland, paralleling the service of the regiment. Records show him as assigned as Provost Marshal in Newport, Kentucky on June 11, 1863, and by late 1864 he is posted in Nashville as Acting Inspector of Railroad Defenses for the Department of the Cumberland. Near Chattanooga much of the regiment was mounted and sent into the countryside to combat guerrillas then infesting the landscape between Nashville and Tullahoma, while the remainder was stationed in the extremely dangerous but vitally important service of defending the blockhouses along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. The blockhouses, designed for siege warfare were constantly under attack from Confederate forces led by Generals Joe Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest. By December 1864, the 115th Ohio had suffered many casualties, including men killed, wounded, and over 200 men captured. Like the regiment, Conger seems to have been dealing with manning blockhouses, repairing tracks, and fighting off Confederate cavalry and raiders along the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad throughout 1864 and to the end of the war. Conger’s knowledge and experience in siege warfare and material distribution drew the attention of General George H. Thomas, better known as “The Rock of Chickamauga”, during the latter phase of the war thus earning him the position of Assistant Inspector of Railroad Defenses under the renowned engineer Captain James R. Willett. The final piece of wartime history for the 115th Ohio occurred after Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. On April 27, 1865, the regiment’s eighty surviving prisoners from Andersonville were placed on the steamer Sultana, which exploded on the Mississippi River, killing everyone on board. On a more positive note, Conger had married in 1864, mustered out of the Army June 22, 1865 at Murfreesboro, where he briefly returned to farming back in Ohio, and moved to Akron by 1868. After the war, Conger’s career skyrocketed. His administrative abilities excelled as he worked his way up in a manufacturing company from salesman to president, holding interests in several businesses. In 1866, he was elected as Treasurer of Summit County. He was then appointed Director of Whiteman and Barnes Manufacturing Company, organized the Diamond Plate Glass Company, organized the Plate Glass Trust, built the Zanesville Street Railroad, was one of the organizers of the American Harvesting Machine Company, was the primary promoter of the Pittsburg and Akron Railroad, was the director of the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus Railroad, was the founder of the S.S. Still College of Osteopathy, became the editor for the magazine of the Cosmopolitan Osteopathy, and was the President of the Akron Charity Association. He remained heavily involved with military and fraternal organizations and was commissioned as Colonel of the 8th Regiment of the Ohio National Guard in 1884, Department Commander of the Ohio GAR in 1886, and a member of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Conger was a lifelong member of the Loyal Legion of the United States as well as a lifelong member of masonic orders and held a Knights Templar Degree. He was also involved with politics and became the national leader of the Republican Party, Chairman of the State Central Committee, Chairman of the State Executive Committee and in 1884 and 1888 he was the Ohio member of the Republican National Committee. He also served on the Staff of Governor Asa Bushnell and was a close friend of James G. Blaine and future President William McKinley. Through all of this Conger became very wealthy, but was ruined by the financial reverses of 1893. Conger’s final act of kindness was committed on July 4, 1899 when he, his wife, and three sons donated a statue to Boston Township, dedicated to the soldiers of Boston who had fought in the War of the Rebellion. Arthur Conger passed away on February 4, 1899 in Des Moines Iowa after an accomplished and successful life. Although he has passed many years ago, Conger is remembered through his presentation grade foot officer’s sword. The presentation is located on the upper mount and reads “Lieut. Conger / from the / Ladies of Boston”. Once removed from its brass and leather housing, the blade reveals its wonderfully etched designs. The obverse features sprouting flowers which quickly flow into scrolls of acanthus leaves that morph into a banner that reads “E Pluribus Unum” just above a spread winged eagle with a patriotic shield. The eagle is followed by a panoply of arms and bunting, intertwined with more acanthus scrolls, followed by another panoply, ending with a palmette just above the ricasso. The ricasso is marked with the classic Solingen knight proof. The reverse also features scrolls of acanthus leaves, intertwined with a panoply of arms, cut off by the letters “U.S.” which replaces the eagle. The acanthus scrolls continue and lead to another panoply and the designs cease with a leaf shaped palmette. The reverse ricasso is marked “W. CLAUBERG / SOLINGEN”. The spine is marked “Iron Proof” in classic acid etched lettering. The ricasso meets the hilt which features a cast brass guard, knucklebow, and pommel. The guard features pleasant, open floral scrollwork which compliments the foliate motifs on the pommel which lead to the tiered cap. The grip features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in high quality sharkskin. The skin is bound to the grip with double twisted brass wire that fits in the grooves of the handle. The sword is complete with its leather scabbard which features rather plain brass mounts, two carry rings, and drag. CONDITION: Although the blade exhibits a pleasing dark gray patina, the etchings are barely muted and remain bold. The blade exhibits scattered areas of pitting along with scattered blemishes. There are no chips noticed on the edge of the blade but the tip has dulled and rounded. The hilt exhibits a pleasing mustard patina with areas of aging between the scrollwork. There are various small dings throughout the hilt which do not take away from the overall appearance. The grip is well preserved with light areas of sharkskin loss. The brass wire is slightly loose but remains secure. The leather on the scabbard exhibits various scratches and creases but remains intact with a tight seam. The mounts exhibit a pleasant mustard patina with various finger print impressions. There is a significant dent on the upper mount just above the first line of the presentation as well as scattered small dents to the right of the presentation. There is also a small dent on the middle mount. All screws are present and the mounts remain secured to the scabbard body. Overall good. The sword is accompanied by a binder of research from the consigner which contains Conger’s military records, muster rolls, scan of a period photo of him in uniform, regimental information, biographies, and more. This is a very nice Civil War sword presented to an intelligent self-made man who served honorably and had both a successful military and civil career. JLD
Blade Length
Overall Length
Binder of Research
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $1,920.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $6,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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