The Legislature honored him in 1814, voting to present “an elegant sword” for his “cool and deliberate valor.” But Appling died before the blade was presented and it became state property.
The state loaned it out for inclusion in Georgia’s 1907 exhibit at the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, but then it vanished.
No one knows where it was until Kinzle bought it from a trust that had owned it for 20 years. His initial asking price was $250,000 but he came down to $100,000 “because it should be in Georgia. It’s incredible, an American icon.”
The Georgia attorney general’s office determined the owner had no obligation to return it. That’s when Cannestra, Lemesis and 100 or so other volunteers went to work, holding fundraisers and finally accumulating the asking price.
Just recently, the two Roswell women checked into a Charlotte hotel. Kinzle showed up at their door, but without the sword, which was in a battered gun case in his car, which he didn’t take into the hotel because “it might have looked suspicious.” And Cannestra didn’t want to hand him the cashier’s check until the sword was in her hands.
“He pulled his vehicle beside ours, and it looked like a drug deal was going down,” she says. “I spooked.”
Lemesis says she’s surprised “no one called the police.”
Carmicheal says the sword now rests in a high security vault, and plans are to turn it over to the state, then move it to the Hall of Valor in the Capitol, hopefully before the 200th anniversary in June of the start of the war. Gov. Nathan Deal’s office says he will accept it in a ceremony in the next few months.
“It’s in a scabbard, which is fragile,’’ Carmicheal says. “FOGAH is going to raise more money to build an education module featuring the sword. It is very exciting to have it back.”
“The sword is special,” Lemesis says. “Now we need to raise more money for restoration and a plaque and box for the Capitol.”