Stolen Civil War Sword on its Way Back to Brown University

Jun 13, 2013

Nearly 30 years after it disappeared from the university’s collection, a federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the Civil War sword must be returned to Brown.

The sword belonging to Col. Rush Hawking was reported stolen back in 1977.

A Civil War sword stolen from a Brown University collection in 1977 is on its way home.

The ruling tracks the sword’s journey over the decades through at least four private collections.

Legal wrangling began two years ago between Brown University and collectors Donald and Toni Tharpe, who claim they legally bought and owned the sword. U.S. District Judge Douglas Miller ruled that the sword was indeed stolen from Brown and therefore no sale of it was legal.

The university says the Tharpes will hand over the sword to a Brown attorney in Virginia.

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