AN ELABORATE HISTORIC CIVIL WAR PRESENTATION CARVED WOOD CANE
O.L. GRANT TO G.H. COLLINS JULY 4TH 1869
From Orville L. [Orvil Lynch] Grant, Brother of Ulysses S. Grant, to Gilbert H. Collins famous Wyoming saddle-maker.
Elaborately high relief carved with numerous patriot motifs, the grip of an American Eagle holding a riband (partly lacking) in her beak with the motto Freedom For All wrapped around a stand of military trophies consisting of hats, cartridge box, arrows, drum, cannon, bugle, belts, horse-shoe and broken chain which supports a standing female figure holding a sword, her head-band marked LIBERTY, standing above carved portraits of Lincoln, Grant and Sherman, the three surrounded by a serpant (representing Secession) whispering in Lincoln's ear, and birds and squirrels within a profuse oak leaf and acorn foliage
35¾ inches (90.8 cm.) overall
Part of riband now lacking, break along back-side of cane with old repair.
According to Family tradition this cane was carved by a Union prisoner- of-war at Andersonville Prison. Given to Ulysses S. Grant at his Presidential Inauguration and later in-turn given by Orville L. Grant to Gilbert H. Collins. The Grant and Collins families were long-time business partners. Jesse R. Grant (Ulysses father) and Eli A. Collins opened a tannery business in Ohio in 1841. This partnership was cordially dissolved in 1853. The Grant's opened another store which in time was run by Jesse's three sons Samuel, Ulysses and Orville. After the untimely death of Samuel and the outbreak of the Civil War in which Ulysses was called to duty, the brother Orville ran the store.
The two sons of Eli A. Collins, John S. and Gilbert H., began a saddlery business in Omaha in 1864. In About an Army Post Tradership, John Sloan Collins remarks, "The President, after inquiring after the health of my father and family, said, "What can I do for you John?" I answered "The post tradership at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, is vacant, and I came to make an application for it."
In 1872 General Belknap appointed John S. Collins as Post Trader, a commission he held alternately with his brother Gilbert for the next ten years. In 1875 John was made Secretary of the Sioux Indian Commission until 1877. Famous maker's of saddles known as "Cheyenne Rigs" or "Northern Plains" the saddles by G.H. & J.S. Collins were the choice of Buffalo Bill Cody and the Wild West. Three of Buffalo Bill's saddles were made by the Collin's (see Wilson, R.L. Buffalo Bill's Wild West - An American Legend, pp. 39, 104 and 111). After the death of Gilbert, John entered into partnership with John Morrison in Omaha.