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Gavel, Relic, Revolutionary War Battlefield, Guilford Courthouse, Boxed, Antique, 1944

Revolutionary War Battlefield Presentation Relic Wood Gavel
American: c. 1944
White oak relic tree wood in wooden box
11 inches long, 5 inches head, gavel
3.5 inches high, 7.25 inches wide, 13 inches deep, box
Price on request

A rare relic wood revolutionary war battlefield gavel with a molded square sounding block from what is now the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. According to a manuscript note in the inside lid of the accompanying original box, the gavel head was “turned from a piece of white oak timber grown on the battlefield of the engagement between the forces of General Greene and Lord Cornwallis at Guilford Court House (near Greensborough) North Carolina.” The note further states that the gavel was a presentation from Lt. A. L. Smith as member of the National Sojourners, Washington, D.C. Chapter. The National Sojourners is a masonic fraternal organization devoted to “developing true Patriotism and Americanism throughout the Nation.” The box opens by a hinge and closes with a clasp, and has a plastic carrying handle like an attache case.

Product description continues below.


The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, fought on March 15th of 1781 near Greensboro, North Carolina, was a pivotal moment during the Revolutionary War. British General Lord Cornwallis led his troops against the American forces under General Nathanael Greene. Although Cornwallis secured a tactical victory, he lost a significant portion of his troops and substantially weakened British forces. This pyrrhic victory ultimately contributed to their eventual defeat at Yorktown later that year.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, relic wood of historical interest was frequently fashioned into souvenir commemorative gavels for special presentations. Some were made of timbers of famous important buildings or ships removed during renovation or demolition. Another frequent source of wood for relic gavels was directly from trees associated with historical places or events. The offered gavel is the only example we know of from an oak grown on the revolutionary war battlefield at Guilford Courthouse.

The choice of a white oak from the North Carolina battlefield was likely intentional inasmuch as the white oak is an important native tree there. Indeed, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, when early American settlers arrived in North Carolina with forests full of white oaks, they “discovered a wood that rivaled the cherished English oak.” Given the importance of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and the white oak to state history, it was fitting that the National Sojourners would choose it to fashion it into a patriotic Americana gavel.

Transcription of manuscript note inside box:

NATIONAL SOJOURNERS. Atlantic City, New Jersey – Chapter No. 238. LT. Colonel – Odea Evans – President.

This OAK GAVEL and BLOCK presented 21 August, 1944 by Lt. Colonel A. L. Smith (Ret.), field agent for Masonic Services Assn. And member of Washington, D.C. Chapter No.3 National Sojourners.

The GAVEL HEAD turned from a piece of white oak timber grown on the battlefield of the engagement between the forces of General Greene and Lord Cornwallis at Guilford Court House (near Greensborough) North Carolina in the year 1776.

Condition: Gavel and block generally fine overall with apparently little wear or use. Box with light wear, handling, abrasions to finish. Though the manuscript note gives the date of the battle as 1776, it actually was fought in 1781.


American Battlefield Trust. “Battle of Guilford Court House.” American Battlefield Trust, (18 May 2024).

Arbor Day Foundation. “White Oak: The King of Kings.” Arbor Day Blog, (18 May 2024). 

Heim, Michael. “Administrative History: Guilford Courthouse National Military Park – Chapter 2.” National Park Service History, National Park Service, (18 May 2024).

North Carolina Forestry Association. “White Oak (Quercus alba).” North Carolina Forestry Association, (18 May 2024).

Additional information


20th Century