NEWS

Sabre from American Revolution found in Guysborough wall

10/01/2014 06:30 EDT | Updated 12/01/2014 05:59 EST
Fabian Gerrior and his wife were hardly expecting to become a part of a murder mystery more than 175 years in the making when they bought a beautiful yellow house on the main drag of Guysborough in Nova Scotia.

The story picks up after Gerrior hired some workers to renovate his home. While they were at work upstairs, they alerted him of an unexpected find.

"One of them hollered down to me, 'Fabian, come look what I found!' So I went upstairs and he passed me this sword," says Gerrior.

"It's actually not a sword, it's a sabre — a cavalry sabre," explains Mark Haynes, president of the Guysborough Historical Society. A sword is straight, whereas a sabre is curved. 

Gerrior showed it to a historian, who sent photos of the sabre to the Army Museum at Citadel Hill in Halifax. The museum identified it as a sabre used by the British cavalry during the American Revolution.

"They dated it around 1780," Gerrior says. 

Link to unsolved murder of a doctor

Haynes says the sword likely belonged to Capt. Joseph Marshall, with the Carolina Rangers, who made his way to Guysborough as a Loyalist after serving in the only British cavalry regiment in the American Revolution. 

"Officers and soldiers were allowed to keep their weapons," says Haynes.

This is where, as they say, the plot thickens. 

In 1929, a local doctor — who was not well liked and had allegedly stolen property from his wife — was found dead after being stabbed by a sword numerous times.

One of Marshall's sons, along with three others, were charged with murder of the doctor, but the charges were eventually dropped.

In 1929, it was unlikely there was an evidence lock-up so Haynes says the sheriff likely took the sabre home.

The sabre wasn't seen again until Gerrior's contractors pulled it out of a wall in his Guysborough home, which was built in 1939 by a retired sheriff, Haynes explains.

"He must have taken the sword home as a bit of a souvenir," says Haynes. 

"I don't know what I want to do with it," Gerrior says. "To take the sword to the museum would be nice, but the museum is only open three months of the year." 

He thinks that the best option might be to put it on display in his bakery and antique shop, Days Gone By.

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