The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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Inlaid Ring Made by a Prisoner at the Gratiot Street Prison

ca. 1861-1865
MHM Collections

This ring was reportedly made by a prisoner at Gratiot Street Prison during the Civil War. Some of the materials that the ring contains, however, could only have been obtained at great personal cost to an imprisoned soldier. Time spent in military prisons, like Gratiot Street, was often time spent in tedium. To take up the many hours of the day some soldiers chose to craft trinkets out of the items they were able to acquire from other prisoners, guards, or visitors. Items like this ring show a dedication to craft and an ingenuity of many imprisoned soldiers during the war. The creator of this ring is unknown.