Mourning Pin with lock of hair owned by Mrs. Thomas Biddle.
A Victorian memorial pin in low-karat yellow gold, the front with swirled hair under a glass crystal bordered by a chased floral and leaf design, the rear with a black enamel chapter ring reading "In memory of" in an old English style lettering around a hand-engraved inner chapter ring reading "Thomas Biddle, Augt. 29th, 1831" and the center engraved "N. Biddle."
Diameter 29mm, 1 1/8 inches, weight 7.4 dwts
Thomas Biddle, younger brother of financier Nicholas Biddle, was a hero of the War of 1812, serving under Zebulon Pike in Ontario. Thomas settled in St. Louis and in 1823 married Ann Mullanphy, daughter of Missouri's first millionaire. Like his brother he became a banker and served as director of the St. Louis branch of the Bank of the United States. Thomas Biddle also engaged in local politics and took umbrage at comments made by Congressman Spencer Pettis criticizing Nicholas Biddle's policies at the Bank of the United States. A war of words played out in the press and resulting in Biddle physically attacking Pettis and a dramatic courtroom scene in which Pettis attempted to shoot Biddle. In August 1831, Congressman Pettis challenged Biddle to a duel, which occured from a distance of only five feet resulting in fatal injuries to both men. Thomas Biddle died on August 29, 1831, the date memorialized on this mourning pin which preserves a lock of his hair. The pin was possibly ordered by Nicholas Biddle and is said to have been owned and worn by Thomas Biddle's widdow, Mrs. Ann Mullanphy Biddle.
C The Christine Biddle Wainwright Collection
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