News Release 253

Civil War saber is on display at Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site

Volume 39-253 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 19, 2011 – A Confederate cavalry saber used by the father of artist Thomas Hart Benton is now on display at the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site in Kansas City.

This saber and scabbard will be on display for the first time in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (1861-1865). There is no fee to go through the visitor center and see the saber. Guided tours of the home and studio are available for a fee of $4 per adult.

The 1840 model “wrist breaker” saber was reputedly carried by Maecenas E. Benton while in service with Company F of the 15th Tennessee cavalry during the Civil War. After the war, Benton became a lawyer and settled in Neosho where his son, Thomas Hart Benton, was born in 1889. Maecenas Benton later was a U.S. district attorney, and eventually served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A small rooster symbol at the base of the saber’s blade identifies it as being made by the Gebruder Weyersberg firm of Solingen, Germany. Solingen has a long reputation of manufacturing high quality blades, and the city’s manufacturers provided many of the swords for the Civil War. Later in the war, the 1860 model saber began to replace the heavier and thicker 1840 “wrist breakers.”

Thomas Hart Benton is Missouri’s most famous 20th century painter. His works include murals at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City and the Truman Library in Independence. Benton worked out of his Kansas City studio, located behind his home, from 1939 until his death in 1975. The home and studio are now preserved in Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site operated by Missouri State Parks.

The state historic site, located at 3616 Belleview, is open year-round for tours Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The site is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information, call the site at 816- 931-5722 or the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com.

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