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Searching for History Pt.2: Historic Buttons

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  • Searching for History Pt.2: Historic Buttons

    Seeing the interest in military “V” button I thought I would show two other quite interesting buttons I found from the same site a number of years ago. So far I have found 70 buttons on this site which is located on the Oregon Trail which crosses Nebraska. This was a very popular camping site due to being near a fine water source. Both immigrants and the military used it and from the number of military buttons found (39) it is obvious the military made numerous stops at this location, possibly camping there for several days at a time.

    Both of these brass one-piece buttons with the log cabin design are the same but were not found on the same hunting trip. Sometime later after I found these my hunting partner also found one making a total of three. With three being found I am speculating that a garment may have been either lost or discarded. Although they are 1840 buttons it may have been a number of years later before these specimens actually found their way out into Nebraska.

    When I found the first log cabin button I had no idea what the design was about but suspected it might have a story behind it. Having found many buttons on sites along the Oregon Trail I needed a good reference source for early button ID’s and had a book in my library titled Record of American Uniform and Historical Buttons by Alphaeus H. Albert. The book did have the ID which was fortunate as this was before this kind of info could be found on a computer.

    Click image for larger version

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    The Log Cabin Campaign of 1840
    (The William Henry Harrison – Martin Van Buren Campaign)
    Whigs, eager to deliver what the public wanted, took advantage of this and declared that Harrison was "the log cabin and hard cider candidate," a man of the common people from the rough-and-tumble West. They depicted Harrison's opponent, President Martin Van Buren, as a wealthy snob who was out of touch with the people. In fact, it was Harrison who came from a wealthy, prominent family while Van Buren was from a poor, working family.
    But the election was during the worst economic depression to date, and voters blamed Van Buren, seeing him as unsympathetic to struggling citizens. Harrison campaigned vigorously and won. After giving the longest inauguration speech (about 1 hour, 45 minutes) in U.S. history, Harrison served only one month as president before dying of pneumonia on April 4, 1841. Ref.

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  • #2
    Interesting historic items there Sir !
    Lubbock County Tx


    • #3
      Had no idea there were political buttons like these, thanks.
      Searching the fields of Northwest Indiana and Southwestern Michigan


      • #4
        Awesome! It looks like you have good soil out there.The buttons your finding are nice, and not really chewed up with tarnish.
        "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." Robert E. Lee


        • 11KBP
          11KBP commented
          Editing a comment
          Probably 99% of my button finds are found on agriculture crop land and although the soil is fairly neutral there is sometimes damage caused by the many years of agricultural chemical applications. Generally the damage is most noticeable on the two-piece, thin walled military eagle buttons.

      • #5
        Those are some great early political artifacts! I took a minute to find out more about Harrison - hope you don't mind if I share this..


        "Born in Virginia on February 9, 1773, William Henry Harrison became the ninth president of the United States in 1841. Elected at age 67, he was then the oldest man to take the office, and became the first U.S. president to die in office. His one-month tenure was the shortest

        William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States. He died shortly after taking the office in 1841, having the shortest presidency in American history. Before he was president, Harrison was a congressman, senator, and general.
        A Brief Presidency

        In 1840, there was a dramatic presidential election captivating the entire nation. For the first time, a member of the new Whig Party won the presidency. Former War of 1812 hero William Henry Harrison became the ninth President of the United States. Yet, just a few weeks after being sworn in, Harrison was dead. Let's learn more about Harrison, his life, and his very short presidency.

        Early Life
        Born in 1773, Harrison was 68 years old when he was elected president. In his early years, Henry grew up in Virginia, coming from a prominent family. His father signed the Declaration of Independence.

        Harrison attended several schools in Virginia, as well as the University of Pennsylvania for a short while. When Harrison was 18, his father died, and young Harrison turned toward a life in the Army. He served in U.S. Army campaigns against Native American tribes during the 1790s, gaining invaluable experience in the process.

        By the late 1790s, Harrison used his connections to become the Secretary of the Northwest Territory. He won a seat in Congress in 1799 and was soon nominated by John Adams to be the governor of the Northwest Territory.

        Harrison spent the next several years in the Northwest Territory, governing the land and making a name for himself. He made numerous treaties with the Native American tribes in the region, securing parts of the territory for settlement. Harrison also tried to introduce slavery into the Northwest Territory, something the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 had explicitly banned.
        General Harrison

        When Native Americans began a resistance movement in the territory, Harrison took the lead in trying to put down the insurrection. He famously led an army into the Battle of Tippecanoe, where Harrison defeated the Shawnee tribe. This victory catapulted Harrison into even greater fame.

        When the War of 1812 began, Harrison was in a prime spot for a starring role. He became a brigadier general and led American forces in the Northwest Territory. Harrison built forts and defensive locations in Ohio, and then led an offensive through Michigan and into Canada. At the Battle of Thames, Harrison's army defeated the British and their Native American allies, killing the Shawnee warrior Tecumseh in the process.

        After the War of 1812, Harrison resumed his political career. He served as a Congressman and Senator from Ohio, as well as a foreign minister to the government in Colombia. In 1836, the Whigs ran Harrison as one of several Whig candidates for the presidency. Martin Van Buren was elected president that year, and the Whigs resolved to only put forward one candidate in 1840.
        1840 Election

        The Whig Party itself was fairly young at the time of the 1840 election. The party was born in response to the strong executive power wielded by Andrew Jackson during his presidency in the 1830s. The Whigs were a diverse party, and Harrison's fame as a general and Indian fighter made him a perfect choice for their nomination in 1840. Harrison ran as a war hero who could lift the country out of the economic doldrums that were plaguing the land since the Panic of 1837.

        Harrison's opponent, incumbent President Martin Van Buren, tried to defend his record and that of his predecessor, Andrew Jackson. Van Buren's Democratic Party launched many personal attacks on Harrison, calling him too old for the presidency. The attacks suggested that Harrison would rather sit in a log cabin and drink alcoholic cider than be the chief executive. The Whigs ran with that description, using it to paint Harrison as a man of the people. The log cabin and cider campaign was effective in further spreading Harrison's popularity. When John Tyler was added as Harrison's running mate, the campaign adopted another slogan. Referring to Harrison's military exploits in the Northwest Territory, the Whigs put forward the slogan, Tippecanoe and Tyler too!"

        If the women don\'t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.


        • 11KBP
          11KBP commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for adding the additional history Olden.

      • #6
        Cool info...good post
        SW Connecticut


        • #7
          Really cool finds, I've found quite a few buttons but nothing that cool. congrats


          • #8
            Thank you for sharing the history/information on those buttons. And congrats on finding not only one of them but three, that is fantastic in my opinion.
            By the way, is this your picture or is it from the net? Click image for larger version

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            In life there are losers and finders. Which one are you?


            • #9
              Originally posted by 2ndoldman View Post
              Thank you for sharing the history/information on those buttons. And congrats on finding not only one of them but three, that is fantastic in my opinion.
              By the way, is this your picture or is it from the net?
              Thanks Bruce.
              The image is mine of the two Harrison buttons I found.
              I also have an image of the one my hunting partner found but I did not post that one.


              • 2ndoldman
                2ndoldman commented
                Editing a comment
                I like the way that you added the description inside of the picture. It looks very professional.