Shop History

The Horse Soldier was established in 1971 by Chet Small. The Small family lived at the time on Emmitsburg Road across from the famous Sherfy Farm. It was here in their living room that they started to sell relics; mostly bullets, shrapnel, cannonballs and other excavated artifacts.

Original Horse Soldier Sign

Chet grew up in Gettysburg and in his youth he hunted relics along with his brothers and sold them to the Rosensteel family who operated several area museums.

As business increased, it was Chet's wife Pat who suggested the "relic business" move out of her house. In 1972 Chet and his sons, with the help of other neighborhood kids, built a small dutch-style barn into which the rusty relics moved. The Smalls operated in this location until 1979 when they sold their property to the National Park Service.

Sam Small recently discovered the existence of two high resolution aerial photographs of the Emmitsburg Road house and the barn shown above, from opposing viewpoints along the Emmitsburg Road. In the view looking in a northerly direction, you can also see the sign out front advertising "CIVIL WAR RELICS FOR SALE"; on the other side of the road is the Sherfy Farm barn, undergoing preservation work at the time. The southern facing view provides a better look at the house and the surrounding fields.

 

At this time Pat found a good location to relocate the business in Gettysburg – the Old Gettysburg Village on Baltimore Street. This location served as the home of The Horse Soldier until 2010 when it moved to its current location at 219 Steinwehr Avenue.

Chet and Pat's sons Sam and Wes graduated from college in the early 1980s and started full time with the family business in 1984 and 1985. They issued semi-annual mail order catalogs that were mailed worldwide. After a successful run of 39 catalogs and the advent of the internet, the print catalog issues were over and the online presence was established.

The Horse Soldier has always prided itself in being honest with their clients. Many of our customers have been with us since the "barn days" and we have thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from around the United States and the world.

featured item

CIVIL WAR EAGLE POMMEL PRESENTATION SWORD BY PATIENTS AT MOWER GENERAL HOSPITAL TO DR. J.A.C. HANLY, MARCH 20th, 1863

Mower General Hospital, first known as Chestnut Hill Hospital, was one of the largest U.S. General Hospitals. Planned and built in 1862, it opened in early 1863 and could hold 3600 patients. Covering 27 acres the complex included 47 wards and other… (870-613). Learn More »

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