Abalone and German silver handled knife, possibly California, late 19th century, 14 3/4" L, with hand-stitched leather sheaf. Purchased by consignor from the family of John Randolph Barry (1836-1909) of Gallatin, TN family. A handwritten note found with the knife, written by John Barry's wife Caroline, states that the knife originally belonged to Mr. Barry's uncle, Colonel Balie Peyton. Balie Peyton (1803-1878) was born near Gallatin and became an attorney. He was elected to Congress and served from 1833-1837. He moved to New Orleans in 1841 where he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Louisiana from 1841-1845. He served as aide-de-camp to General William J. Worth during the Mexican American War and was appointed envoy to Chile by President Zachary Taylor from 1849-1853. Peyton moved to California to serve as prosecuting attorney for San Francisco from 1853-1859, which may be when he acquired this California style abalone knife. He returned to Gallatin just before the start of the Civil War and in 1862 lost his son, Balie Peyton Jr., in the Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky. Peyton served as a member of the Tennessee Senate from 1869 to 1871. In addition to his political career, Balie Peyton was nationally known for the racehorses bred on his Tennessee farm. He sponsored a race called The Peyton Stakes in Nashville in 1843, which made international headlines because it was the largest purse ever offered in America or Europe. CONDITION: Pitting to blade, wear to handle and sheath.
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