Many, many years ago, a family named "Lord" lived in the Borough of Conneautville. The father's name was Francis and his father was named Freedom. Freedom lived in Summerhill Township, but in our early days, Summerhill came all the way to Jefferson St. in the south part of town. This was before Conneautville became incorporated as a Borough, It is unknown exactly where Freedom lived, but he had a broom factory at the edge of Conneaut Creek near Shermansville Road. Both men were also listed as farmers in a 1872/3 Gazeteer. Francis also clerked in a local store. The time was the late 1880's when business was brisk in this Borough.
Francis would marry Caroline Sterling and they raised four children. The eldest, Selden E. married Josephine Bell of Linesville. The other children were Donna, Francis and Howard. We have heard of Howard who was a local well known athlete, graduating in the class of 1909. Howard died suddenly in 1911 and was memorialized in 1930 when a gymnasium was built for the school and dedicated to Howard F. Lord. That is also why the name Lord is continued today at the Park which became "Lord-Mason" Park. But that is another story and has been told before.
This story is about Selden. Mr. S. E. Lord was the buyer and manager of the floor covering department for C. H. Yeager Co. of Akron, Ohio. The year was 1923. A Greek refugee in Anatolia wove a rug copying the design from a U. S. Treasury One Dollar Silver Certificate, series 1899.
His artistic efforts were so exact, the rug measuring 6 ft. by 3 ft, had the likeness of Lincoln and Grant as well as the serial number and signature of the U. S. Treasurer, Frank White.
The rug made its way to Akron where Selden saw it displayed by a Greek restaurant owner. He was able to purchase the carpet for $39.05 and planned to put it in his home. The rug was so novel, he was urged to put it on display in his store room over the Christmas Holidays. The carpet was placed in a store window on Saturday, November 17th and on Monday it was seized by a U. S, Secret serviceman and taken to his headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. The reason being the rug's pattern violated Section 150 of the Penal Code. Selden knew the value of the rug, had even been offered $125.00 for it, and had no intention of panning the carpet off for a dollar bill. After attracting much attention at the Cleveland office where it was displayed, the carpet was shipped to Washington D, C.
Selden contacted his Congressman, Martin L. Davey, who communicated with the Treasury Dept. and determined the carpet could be returned, but only if Mr. Lord promised not to put it on display and it was to be kept in his home. Correspondence to this effect was received in January, 1924, but by February, the U.S. District Atty. at Cleveland refused to return the carpet, or admit they had made a mistake.
Not giving up, Selden continued to correspond with his Congressman and on one instance was told the rug had been destroyed. In the meantime, two more carpets had shown up, one owned by a banker in the East and put on display with no trouble from the Department of Justice. The news media started to play up the confiscated carpet and a publication "THE CARPET & UPHOLSTERING TRADE REVIEW" carried the story.
Finally after 8 years, a letter was received from then Congressman Francis Seiberlilng that Selden would get his carpet, The year is 1932.
I have seen this carpet, its colors are not as bright as they must have been, with shades of green, gold, and brown, the edges are slightly worn and one would certainly have a hard time recognizing Grant or Lincoln, but the serial numbers and United States of America are bright and clear.
A special thank you to the present owner of this counterfeit carpet, for sharing it's past history.