Early Naval Cufflink

December 29, 2016 Posted by: Jeremy Lynch

Archaeology is a fascinating part of the park service. Somethings it can teach us things that history books cannot. Yesterday while photographing objects found at the first Fort Smith, I found an unusual button. Being that it has an anchor on it, I wondered if it could be a French marine button because it looked colonial and the French were at Arkansas Post National Memorial in the 1700s. How fascinating would it be to find the French military traveled this far up river. However, research quickly brought more questions than answers. It turns out that it is a British or American colonial officer’s cuff link for a naval officer. What pray tell, would a British or an American officer be doing in Fort Smith wearing a cuff link made between 1740-1800. Could the British have spied on the Spanish at some point during the Revolutionary War? Of course other possibilities do exist. Is it a lost trade item from the Osage? The French were trading for furs at Belle Point in the late 1700s. Was one of the officers who served at Fort Smith ex-navy? This seems unlikely as the officers who served in Fort Smith were never in the navy to my knowledge. Could it have belonged to Jean Lafitte who is said to have gone up the Arkansas River to Tulsa area in 1816? He was a pirate captain that and used his naval cannon to help Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Or is it simply something that an early settler lost at Fort Smith. There are so many possibilities. Perhaps one day other clues will help shed some light on this fascinating object. To see a picture of the cufflink and other archological items please follow the this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132910783@N03/24689033706/in/album-72157663215844620/


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Last updated: December 29, 2016

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