Period Americana – a merchant of historical artifacts, images and documents located at 139A Charles St. – recently acquired three Revolutionary War ribbons, two of which appear to be previously unknown.
According to Kenneth J. Olson, president of Period Americana and a Mt. Vernon Street resident, the ribbons date back to the 1820s, and most likely 1825 when the country was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the war. They were owned by Revolutionary War Minute Man Solomon Smith of Acton.
One ribbon commemorates those who served in the Army of the Revolutionary; the second honors the Battle at Concord Bridge on April 19, 1775; and the third depicts Gen. Marquis de Lafayette and the Bunker Hill Monument, and was likely issued in June 1825 when Lafayette laid the cornerstone of the Monument.
“These are a rare find from the Revolutionary War as only one of the three ribbons has surfaced at auction, and that was nearly 10 years ago,” Olson said, adding that no such ribbons are included in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute, Library of Congress, Museum of the American Revolution or the Concord Museum
“Solomon Smith was Patriot and a Minute Man who, on the very first alarm on the first day of the War, grabbed his musket and took part in the fight for independence. It is an honor to hold the same ribbons that he once wore,” Olson said.
Smith is noted as firing one of the “shots heard ‘round the world” on April 19, 1775 while fighting the British at the Battle of Old North Bridge in Concord. The Minute Man served in Captain Isaac Davis’ company. Following Davis’ death at the Battle, Smith was attached to Captain William Smith’s company and marched to fight at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was later present at Gen. John Burgoyne’ surrender at Saratoga, N.Y. In 1825, at the age of 72, he marched 24 miles to see Gen. Lafayette lay the corner stone for the Bunker Hill Monument.
The ribbons will remain part of Period Americana’s collection, which it makes available for research and for school presentations. The collection also includes John Hancock’s copies of George Washington’s letters to General Howe, one of the few known Revolutionary War medical diaries, a Civil War prison diary, among hundreds of other documents and artifacts.
Visit PeriodAmericana.com for more information.