A viewer from Lancaster, Missouri inherited a wooden cane topped with a coiled snake made of bronze or copper.
The snake’s mouth gapes open exposing a menacing pair of fangs. According to the family story, the copperhead cane belonged to our viewer’s great-great grandfather, Henry Clay Dean, a prominent figure Mark Twain mentioned in his book Life on the Mississippi.
Dean vehemently opposed the Civil War. He was a member of a powerful anti-Lincoln group who called themselves “Peace Democrats.”
Republicans, in an effort to defame them, nicknamed the group “Copperheads” after the snake known for striking without warning.
Why would a “Peace Democrat” embrace such a derogatory symbol?
History Detectives heads to Dean’s stomping grounds in Iowa to track the story behind the Copperhead Cane.
- Also with Wes Cowan Mussolini's Dagger Did a World War II GI return home with Mussolini's dagger?
- Also in Season 8 Hot Town Poster What role did this striking poster play in the explosive events of 1960s America?
- Related Investigation Calhoun Books Are these the books of the famed intellectual architect of the Confederacy?
- Also with Wes Cowan Camp David Letter Could a box found in a dumpster hold information about the founding of a top-secret Presidential retreat?
- Related Investigation Anti-Slavery Flag Did this old sheet found in a family trunk contribute to the end of slavery in America?
- Also in Season 8 St Valentine's Day Massacre Was this weapon fired in one of the nation's most infamous crimes?
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