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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,220

PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2014 4:48 pm    Post subject: Interesting Basket Hilt         Reply with quote

Since there is a lot of interest in the new MR Basket Hilt right now I thought I would post something about another interesting basket hilt with a bit of a story behind it.

I got the story of this sword second hand and it isn't much of a story as far as detail but is very interesting. This sword is supposed to have been collected in Macon County, NC. Franklin, the county seat, is home to the Scottish Tartans Museum. The area is also important because of its connection to the Cherokee tribe. During the French and Indian War the Cherokees began to cause problems with the local settlers. Major James Grant and a battalion of the 77th Regiment, the Montgomery Highlanders, were sent to the area to put down the tribe, which they managed to do. Grant, who had led 300 men of the 77th to their doom in an attack on Fort Duquesne in the Fall of 1758, was given this job, probably to help rebuild his career which ordinarily would have ended with a debacle like Duquesne. At any rate he was successful and ultimately wound up retiring as a general proving that experience is invaluable in the military especially if you learn something from it.

The fact that this sword is a military issue backsword like those carried by the Highland regiments and was found in an area known to have been visited by the 77th makes it possible, at least to me, that it was at one time carried by an enlisted man of the regiment. And, as Eglinton is Montgomery territory, this has a connection to the new sword offered by MR.

The photos were given to me by the source of the information and are not very clear but I think you can readily see that this sword is an issue enlisted man's weapon.

There you have it.



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Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2014 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is interesting. I've been to the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin a couple of times, nice town, beautiful area. My 4th great grandfather moved with his family to Mecklenburg Co., NC in 1777 and he joined the state militia later that year as a private in the Revolutionary War in which he served several tours of duty and was eventually promoted to a first lieutenant.

Scottish basket hilts and earlier forms of Scottish swords are of particular interest to me. The one in those photos is similar to one of the early Paul Chen backswords that I have, which I believe he must have patterned after the government issued swords supplied to the Highland regiments during the mid to late 18th century.

Speaking of basket hilts, I came across this old magazine ad on ebay earlier this evening:

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Tim Harris
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 06 Sep 2006

Posts: 166

PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2014 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin, thanks for posting these. The first one in particular shows construction details that I have never seen before.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,220

PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lewis A. wrote:
That is interesting. I've been to the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin a couple of times, nice town, beautiful area. My 4th great grandfather moved with his family to Mecklenburg Co., NC in 1777 and he joined the state militia later that year as a private in the Revolutionary War in which he served several tours of duty and was eventually promoted to a first lieutenant. ]


Very interesting history Lewis. You are fortunate to have such detailed information about your ancestor.

We spend at least a week in the Franklin area every year, staying at a cabin north of town. It is a very nice place, large enough to have some great attractions and small enough to not be too "touristy." We always visit the Tartans Museum. I supplied the swords and other weapons for the museum display about twelve years ago, I think it was.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Lewis A. wrote:
That is interesting. I've been to the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin a couple of times, nice town, beautiful area. My 4th great grandfather moved with his family to Mecklenburg Co., NC in 1777 and he joined the state militia later that year as a private in the Revolutionary War in which he served several tours of duty and was eventually promoted to a first lieutenant. ]


Very interesting history Lewis. You are fortunate to have such detailed information about your ancestor.

We spend at least a week in the Franklin area every year, staying at a cabin north of town. It is a very nice place, large enough to have some great attractions and small enough to not be too "touristy." We always visit the Tartans Museum. I supplied the swords and other weapons for the museum display about twelve years ago, I think it was.


I haven't visited the Scottish Tartans Museum in several years, they had moved to a new location downtown the last time I stopped in back in the late 1990s. It was very nice and the location in the historic Franklin downtown area seemed to enhance the history feel of the experience.

I seem to recall selling a John Barnett baskethilt on ebay a number of years ago to one of the museum's supporters - it might have been you. The gentleman who purchased it said that he wanted to donate it to the Tartans Museum for one of their displays.

There seems to have been something of a vortex that pulled Scots-Irish immigrants down into the Carolinas from the Maryland/Delaware/Pennsylvania region. My family was just one of dozens who seem to have been drawn down to that area along with several of their old neighbors, many of whom lived alongside my family in the debatable lands along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, where a long-standing feud over colonial territory spanned several decades and resulted in Cresap's War being fought over William Penn's Nottingham Lots being carved out of Cecil Calvert's New Connaught settlement. That little conflict and the persistent dispute over the exact location of the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary was what ultimately led to Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveying what became known as the Mason-Dixon line.

I've often wondered whether the tension and conflict of living on that contested land was what spurred my family and their neighbors to relocate almost en-mass down to the border of North and South Carolina around the start of the Revolutionary War. The Scots-Irish settlers in Mecklenburg Co., N.C. were certainly among the most ardent supporters of American independence, even though they were keenly aware and fiercely proud of their Scottish Presbyterian identity. It's certainly a very interesting and largely overlooked aspect of early American history.

Thanks to my ancestors participation in the whole Scots-Irish immigration experience, they left a pretty good paper trail for their descendants to follow: http://clanakins.weebly.com/america.html
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,220

PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wasn't me. I furnished all repo swords, Lochaber Ax and a dirk, as I recall. I have never bought anything on eBay.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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