J. F. REYNOLDS LANDIS’ OFFICER’S COMMISSION AS A SECOND LIEUTENANT, SIGNED BY PRESIDENT RUTHERFORD B. HAYES

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Presented is an excellent military officer’s commission presented to J. F. Reynolds Landis.  Landis’ commission is a high-grade, cream-colored vellum paper and bears the handwritten signature in ink of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States.  This original unframed vellum artifact is J. F. Reynolds Landis’ actual military commission appointing him as a ‘Second Lieutenant in the First Regiment of Cavalry’. Lt. Landis later served as the Regimental Quartermaster in the regiment during the Santiago Campaign of 1898.  The document is signed by the President and dated the 26th of December 1878.  Clean and bright, document measures 19½” long x 15¾” wide.  

John Fulton Reynolds Landis (Oct 21 1856 – Oct 18 1939) was the nephew of famed Civil War General John F. Reynolds, killed during the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg.  Landis’ mother was Kate Reynolds Landis, the general’s sister.  Lt. Landis was an 1878 graduate of West Point who served in the west in the 1st and 6th US Cavalry.  He then saw action in the Spanish American War, including fighting at San Juan Hill.  Early in the 20th century he was appointed as military attaché to Rome, and was instrumental in recovery effects following a devastating earthquake which took place there in 1908.  Landis retired from the military in 1908, but was recalled to active service in World War I, serving stateside from 1917 to 1919.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Below is further biographical information from the Biographical Register of the officers and graduates of the U.S. Military Academy

Spread across the upper third portion of the commission document is the title “THE / PRESIDENT  / of the / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in a horizontal curved line.  A large spread-winged eagle rests below.  Below the eagle is the remark ‘To all who shall see these presents greeting:’.  On the preprinted document are the appointee’s pertinent details filled in by a government clerk.   Document was hand signed in black ink on the lower right side by President Hayes on the 26th of December 1878 at Washington, D.C.  Hayes’s signature at the lower right side is clear and sharp. Secretary of War George W. McCrary signed to the left of the President with a strong dark signature.  Found in the upper left corner of the commission is a handwritten note completed in red ink that officially records this document in the Assistant Adjutant General’s office.  

Lower center portion of document has a large pictorial that shows an allegorical military motif featuring a panoply of swords, flags drums, cannon and lances as well as a plumed knight’s helmet and other articles of military use. A 2¼” diameter, indigo blue, serrated-edged embossed seal of the United States War Office in very good condition is glued to the upper left side of the document. Visible on the cream-colored vellum document are light creases or paper fold marks.  The entire vellum piece appears to have been lightly rolled for storage.  Edges on the vellum are sharp with no cuts, perforations or tearing. Lower left  bottom edge does show a light stain visible.

The unframed document is in excellent condition and a most desirable commission artifact signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes for J. F. Reynolds Landis, a descendant of Union General John F. Reynolds. 

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2737. (Born Pa.) J. F. REYNOLDS LANDIS (Ap'd at Large) . .21 (John Fulton Reynolds Landis, Born Oct. 21, 1856.) 

Military History.—

Major, 6th Cavalry, June 30, 1906.
Military Attache, U. S. Embassy, Rome, Italy, May 1, 1908, to
(lieut.-colonel Of Cavalry, June 29, 1911) 

May 1, 1912 (at Messina. Italy. Jan. 2-15, 1909, on duty incident to the destruction of that city by earthquake, Dec. 28, 1908, for which services he was awarded silver medal and diploma by King Victor Emmanuel IH and also Italian Red Cross medal and diploma; attended Italian Grand Maneuvers at Desenzano. August-September. 1909; representative of the War Department at International Mounted Military Competitions at Rome and at Turin, June and July, 1911; attended Italian Grand Maneuvers at Casale di Monferrato, September, 1911; observer with Italian Expeditionary Corps occupying Tripoli and Cyreniaca during TurcoItalian War. Oct. 18 to Nov. 17. l9li) ; traveled in Europe. May 11 to Sept. 10, 1912; 

Lieut.-colonel, U. S. A.. Retired, Sept. 10, 1912.

At His Own Request, After Over 38 Years' Service. 

Civil History.—

Resided in Washington, D. C.; Secretary and Treasurer, National Remount Association, 1914-15: General Sales Agent of military powders of the Aetna Explosives Co. of New York, Dec. 1, 1915, to Nov. 30, 1916; with Advisory Commission of Council of National Defense, February-April, 1917. 

Military History.—

Recalled to active service; on duty in office of Inspector-General, May 1, 1917, to 

(Colonel, N. A., Inspector-general's Department, March 5, 1918) 

(Colonel, U. S. A., On Retired List, April 23, 1919)

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