"Lost Seal" from Civil War era returns to Saline County

Saline County celebrated the return of the "Lost Seal" by installing a historical civil war marker. The county hasn't had the seal since 1863, but it is now back in the county's possession.

In 1996, Gary Smith of Pine Bluff, found the seal with his metal detector in Grant County.

Jim Harris, Chief of Staff for Saline County, said the seal was supposed to be returned after the Civil War, but it never came back and people forgot about it.

"A man named Gary Smith likes to go to Civil War sites and use his metal detector. He thought it was a silver dollar. He dug it up. It wasn't a silver dollar, it was the lost seal of Saline County," Harris said.

Patrick Rhodes, Chairman of the Historical Marker Committee, said the seal is important to people in Saline County.

"When we found something specifically related to Saline County it was big news. It was especially big news in the county office because that was our seal," Rhodes said.

Harris said Sunday's marker celebration allowed the seal's journey home to come full circle.

"One year ago today, on the 151st anniversary of the seal leaving the court house, it's back to the county where it was put on permanent display in the office. It's there today," Harris said. "There it is for all people to come and view it if they wish. A little piece of history."

Rhodes said Saline County has a rich history.

"History is an important part to all of us no matter what stage of our life we are in, its all relative, a major part of Arkansas history was the Civil War and the actions that were taken to preserve the state," Rhodes said.

People can visit the seal at the Saline County Clerk's office.