A ceremonial sword meant for a Columbia County native and War of 1812 hero will be returned to Georgia, from where it disappeared more than a century ago.
A group formed to orchestrate the return of the Appling Sword met the Dec. 31 deadline to raise $100,000 to purchase it from a private collector.
"I am so excited," Appling Sword Campaign Chairwoman Susan Lemesis said.
The intricately carved, gold-handled ceremonial sword was commissioned by the Georgia Legislature in 1814 to be presented to Lt. Col. Daniel Appling.
Lemesis said she'd received more than $93,000 from private donations, including a $1,000 donation from the Columbia County Historical Society. She recently learned a grant will cover the remainder of the cost.
Appling, who was born in Columbia County in 1787, rose through the Army ranks and is best remembered for his leadership in the Battle of Sandy Creek in northwestern New York, where he led his troops on a victorious surprise attack against the British.
The Legislature voted to award Appling the sword for his battlefield leadership and victories. But Appling died on March 5, 1817, before the sword could be presented to him.
The sword was displayed in the state capitol until 1907, when it and several other artifacts were sent to the Jamestown Exposition. It wasn't seen again until it was mentioned in a 1988 book.
After passing through the hands of several collectors, the director of the Georgia Division of Archives and History saw an advertisement in an antiques magazine in 2010 offering the sword for sale for $250,000.
The Pennsylvania antiques collector and dealer gave Georgians until Dec. 31 to raise $100,000 to purchase the sword or he'd sell it one of the many collectors waiting to buy it.
Lemesis said she expects to begin hammering out details on a contract to purchase the sword soon. Hopefully, she be traveling to Pennsylvania to pick it up in early February.
This year is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The sword will be displayed in the Georgia capitol's Hall of Valor and will be accompanied by a plaque listing all donors of $1,000 or more.