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Dave Olson, Published January 30 2013

History in the walls: Civil War bayonet pokes through Moorhead remodeling project

MOORHEAD – Denman Weis was doing remodeling work in his south Moorhead home last week when he stumbled upon a piece of American history.

A very pointy piece.

After removing paneling from the walls of a basement closet, he discovered a bayonet with a long, triangular-shaped blade resting within the studs.

“I’m ex-military, so I knew right away what it was,” Weis said.

“I wasn’t sure if it was Civil War, or World War I. Then I looked it up online and it definitely was Civil War,” he said. From his research, it seems few soldiers in the Civil War used their bayonet as a weapon, instead employing them for things like stirring soup.

It isn’t known when the bayonet was walled up in the Moorhead home, or who put it there, said Weis, who along with his wife, Kathryn, bought the house last year from one of their sons, David Larson.

Larson owned the house for about a dozen years but never knew the bayonet was there, his father said.

The house at 2503 13th St. S. was built in the 1960s.

After checking online, Weis found that Civil War bayonets can vary in value from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

He has no plans to sell the weapon, at least for now.

First, he wants to show the hefty example of American military hardware to his seven grandchildren.

Weis said his eldest son, Larry Larson, is “a real history buff” and will be particularly curious to see the bayonet.

The bayonet is not the first curiosity a member of the family has uncovered while remodeling a house.

Kathryn Weis said she was house flipping a home in Fargo years ago when she came across a book about the life of George Washington that was published in 1807.

The book contains maps – Washington himself was a map-maker of some renown – and a list of “subscribers.”

Benjamin Franklin’s name is on the list.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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