EXQUISITELY CARVED BONE CIGAR HOLDER BELONGING TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT, WITH PERIOD LETTER OF PROVENANCE TRACING ITS OWNERSHIP THROUGH 1916

$9,500.00

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Item Code: 159-159

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Item is a cylindrical piece of bone approx. 3.50 inches long with a slight elbow curve at center. One end is a bit narrow and has an opening for a read stem while the opposite end is a bit bulbous with a larger opening for holding a cigar. Each opening is bordered by a finely cut thin decorative line with a small stud at the bottom of the elbow.

Carved into the top of the bulbous end, and facing the smoker, is a fantastically carved eagle with spread wings standing over it’s kill, a dead rabbit. The detail on the eagle and rabbit is exquisite. Almost every feather on the eagle has some definition and is highlighted by a dark wash that has been rubbed into the recessed areas. Even the eagle’s eye and the shape of his beak is clearly visible. The portly rabbit lies on a piece of bone carved to look like a rock or nest and a close look reveals lines simulating the rabbit’s fur. The area behind the eagle and between his wings has been left rough to simulate the trunk of a tree.

This is an excellent piece of workmanship and worthy of the Commander-in-Chief of the Union Army. The condition is excellent with no chips or cracks and the opening on the bulbous end shows some dark discoloration from use.

With the item is a three-page letter of provenance written in period ink and dated 1916 it reads as follows:

THIS PIPE WAS GIVEN BY GENERAL U. S. GRANT TO CLARK B. LAGOW WHILE HE WAS AN AID ON GENL. GRANT’S STAFF DURING THE WAR OF THE REBELLION. CLARK B. LAGOW AFTER HIS RETURN TO HIS HOME AT PALESTINE CRAWFORD COUNTY ILLINOIS, GAVE THIS PIPE TO HIS BROTHER DAVID LAGOW.

DAVID LAGOW WHO WAS WED (to) MISS DANIELS OF WOORFORD COUNTY KENTUCKY GAVE THIS PIPE TO CHARLES ALEXANDER OF NEAR VERSAILLES WOODFORD CO. KY. WHO MARRIED MRS. MOLLIE DANIELS A SISTER OF WIFE OF DAVID LAGOW.

CHARLES ALEXANDER GAVE THIS PIPE TO JOSEPH ALEXANDER OF GREENSBURG IND. WITH THE ABOVE HISTORY.

THE WRITER JOHN HOUSTON ALEXANDER + CLARK B. LAGOW WERE BORN IN PALESTINE ILLS. ON NOV. 7, 1828 + WERE SCHOOL MATES IN THE FORTIES BUT DID NOT MEET AGAIN UNTIL THE SUNDAY AFTER THE BATTLE OF SHILOH, AT PITTSBURGH LANDING, TENN.

GREENSBURG IND. JANUARY 29, 1916.

Of course, the fame and exploits of General and President Ulysses S. Grant are well-known to all Americans and need not be repeated here.

Clark Breading Lagow was born in Crawford County, Illinois on November 7, 1828. He was 33 years old when he was commissioned a 1st lieutenant in Company I, 21st Illinois Infantry on June 28, 1861. The 21st Illinois was commanded at the time by Colonel Ulysses S. Grant.

Not long after the battle of Shiloh on May 3, 1862, Lagow was promoted to colonel and aide-de-camp on then General Grant’s staff where he remained until his resignation on December 12,1863. Lagow received a brevet promotion to brigadier general on March 13, 1865. He died in Palestine, Illinois on April 16, 1867 and is buried there.

The next owner of the item, David Henry Lagow, brother of Clark, was born in Crawford County, Illinois on December 8, 1834. He did not serve during the war and as the letter of provenance states, he married a woman named Sue Daniels in Kentucky in March of 1865. The only other thing that is known about him is that he died in Palestine, Illinois on December 8, 1867 and is buried in the cemetery there.

David Lagow passed the cigar holder on to his brother-in-law Charles Alexander of Kentucky. Charles was born in Woodford County, Kentucky on November 6, 1830. He was a well-respected farmer in his community and had no service during the war. He died in Woodford County on August 23, 1910 and is buried there in the Versailles Cemetery.

The next owner was Joseph Alexander of Greensburg, Indiana. His relation to Charles Alexander is not known. Joseph was born in 1865 and had a wife named Lizzie but that is all that is known of him.

The last owner mentioned in the letter of provenance, John Huston Alexander, was born on the same day as the first owner, Clark B. Lagow, November 7, 1828 in Palestine, Crawford County, Illinois. His findagrave.com biography reads:

“John Houston Alexander was… educated in the country schools of Illinois and at Danville. After his father's death, Dr. John H. Alexander returned to Palestine, Illinois, where he attended the Parish Academy and later the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati… He crossed the plains to California in 1850 by mule team during the gold fever and spent eight years in the West. He relocated to Decatur County, Illinois on July 7, 1858 and for four years practiced his profession. On September 27, 1862, he was appointed assistant surgeon in the Twenty-seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Col. Silas Colgrove, and was later promoted to surgeon, July 15, 1864. He was mustered out of service on November 4, 1864.

Dr. Alexander died on September 2, 1919 and is buried in South Park Cemetery, Greensburg, Indiana.

This museum quality item with a solid provenance to one of the most prominent men in American military history is worthy of any museum or advanced Civil War collection.  [ad][ph:L]

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