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Kinman, William
Place Made:
London England United Kingdom
Date Made:
silver –steel –shark skin –wood
LOA: 36-3/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Military officer’s sword with a 30-inch curved blade featuring a prominent 3/4-length fuller. Blade mounted to a cast silver hilt with a basket knuckle guard with fluting and scrolls, forward-facing quillon with shell design, and fluted ball pommel with a large tang button. Wooden grip covered in shark skin leather and wrapped with silver wire. The sword’s scabbard does not survive.

MARK: Struck on the underside of quillon with an incuse maker’s mark “WK” in a conforming reserve (partially obscured by the blade) and an incuse crowned leopard’s head (London city mark). Also struck on the base of the pommel with an intaglio left-facing lion (English standard mark).

INSCRIPTION: Roughly engraved “WC” on inside of knuckle guard, possibly for William Campbell (1745-1781), who was noted for leading his militia at Kings Mountain.

MAKER: William Kinman was born in 1728 and died in 1788. His shop was located on East Harding Street, London from 1759 until 1773. A prominent silver sword hilt maker and founding member of the Founders’ Company of London, examples of Kinman’s work are held in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. See Leslie Southwick, “London Silver Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers, and Allied Traders” (Leeds, UK: Royal Armouries, 2001), 159-160.

Surrendered by Captain Abraham DePeyster (1753-1799) to Major Evan Shelby (1720-1794) at the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina on 7 October 1780. William Campbell was the commanding officer of the day, but it is said that he had removed his tattered coat “and with open collar,” [and] not recognized as the commander. See Mel S. Hankla, “The Battle of Kings Mountain,” Sons of the American Revolution Magazine (Fall 2005); available online: (accessed 9 June 2018).
Credit Line:
Hankla Collection