This is a Knight's Templar (Freemasonry) grouping that belonged to John Randolph Johnson of Texas. Johnson was born in Red River County, Texas on 10 January, 1843. His parents were Balda and Mary Johnson. In May of 1862 he enlisted as a Private in Company H, 20th Texas Cavalry Regiment. He was subsequently elected as the Captain of Company C, 20th Texas Cavalry Regiment. Captain Johnson commanded Company C and led it in several engagements in Arkansas, including the battles of Prairie Grove, Mansfield and Yellow Bayou. The 20th Texas was reorganized into a four company battalion in March of 1864. Johnson, newly promoted to Major, took command of the battalion. He was in command of this unit at Fort Bend County, Texas when his department was surrendered in May of 1865. John Randolph Johnson survived the Civil War and in 1875 married Della Saunders of Grayson County, Texas. The couple had four children and farmed 1200 acres in Grayson county. Along with being a farmer, Johnson served two terms as the Sheriff of Grayson county. He also served as the county tax collector. John R. Johnson belonged to the Farmer's Alliance and was also a Knight's Templar. He died on 9 December, 1889 and is buried in the cemetery at Clarksville, Texas. The chest that contains his Knight's Templar regalia is made of wood and covered in leather. It measures 18" wide, 11" high and 10 1/2" deep. The hinges for the top of the chest have a patent date of 10 April, 1866. The leather is very dry, brittle and has flaked off most of the top and front of the chest. The two leather straps that help secure the top have both broken and the buckle to secure the left strap is missing. The latch works fine on the front of the chest. On the left side of the chest in hand painted red and black lettering is the name JOHN R. JOHNSON. in an arc. Below the name is written PARIS, the emblem of a red cross and the number 9, below that CLARKSVILLE, TEXAS. Apparently Johnson was a member of Commandery #9, located in the Grayson County, Texas area. Inside the chest are a Civil War type kepi, a naval type fore and aft chapeau, an orange Templar's leather belt, two leather wrist cuffs, and a Templar's sash. All these items have the Red Cross of Constantine displayed on them. The kepi is complete, but has some major cloth loss. It doesn't appear to be moth damage, but more along the lines of deterioration. The cross of Constantine is still securely sewn onto the front of the kepi. The inside of the kepi is in very good condition. The makers label is very legible, being from the M.C. Lilley & Co., Columbus Ohio. There is also a size tag of 7 1/4 on the inside of the hat. The brim, chin strap and buttons are securely attached. The chapeau is in very good condition and also bears the makers label of M.C. Lilley. The Ostrich feathers and the Red Cross of Constantine display great on this piece of head gear. Then leather cuffs are in very good condition also. They are the only pieces that do not have the M.C. Lilley mark. The leather belt has metal drops for a Templars sword to be worn on it. The buckle displays the Cross of Constantine and the motto, "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES", the translated meaning of "By This Sign Thou Shalt Conquer". The leather is very pliable and is in great condition. The orange-red color is still very vibrant. The belt has the M.C. Lilley mark. The sash is black with a white stripe running down the center. The inside of the sash is green, with a red cross sewn into it. A large medallion is attached to the sash that has the Red Cross of Constantine and the motto "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES" around the perimeter of the medallion. I believe this entire outfit to be from the early 1880's, when Lilley was a big outfitter in regalia. This is an absolute fine example of a Knight's Templar regalia that was worn by a Texan who became a Major in the Confederate Cavalry during the Civil War. He survived and became a husband, father, farmer, sheriff, tax collector and Knight's Templar. I would say that makes him one very prominent and productive citizen of Grayson County, Texas! An extensive research booklet accompanies this outstanding grouping. You Texas collectors ought to jump all over this one!
Your Price $795.00 USD
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